'Bam' Haislip to be 3rd Ward councilman

Friday, August 29, 2014

By Karen Hall

Editor

After spending two evenings interviewing four excellent candidates, Lewisburg City Councilmen decided Roy "Bam" Haislip should be the 3rd Ward's new councilman. Haislip will be sworn in before the Council's next Work Session, at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3.

He was interviewed on Tuesday, and so was Willie Mayberry. On Wednesday, it was the turn of Deborah Robinson and Ann Tears.

"This is the first time ever the council has asked people to submit their names and resumes" in order to decide who should fill a vacant seat, said Mayor Jim Bingham.

Robinson was the first to sit down with the councilmen Wednesday. They went round the table, taking turns to ask her a series of prepared questions.

During his turn, Councilman Trigg Cathey said, "The buzz on the street is that the decision has been made. I'm starting with a blank sheet. Every candidate will be treated fairly."

"I agree with Trigg," said Councilman Steve Thomas. "We have not made a decision yet. I'm thrilled with the quality of applicants we got. It's a real sign of health in our community."

"I'd like to reiterate that," said Councilman Artie Allen when it was his turn to talk with Robinson. "Everybody's got a blank sheet."

"No councilman has asked me for a recommendation," added Bingham.

"That talk really aggravated me," said City Manager Randall Dunn. "We were all looking forward to getting to know all the candidates."

"I really appreciate being interviewed," said Robinson. "If I don't get it, I will continue to call my councilman. Councilman Whitehead (who moved out of the 3rd Ward, thus creating the vacant seat) was always cordial to me, and always called me back. They're here to serve the community."

During Tears' interview, councilmen assured her they had not made a selection.

"All four candidates will get the same respect," said Allen.

"It was one of the candidates who said 'the buzz was you'd already decided,'" added Cathey. "That got under my skin!"

When Tears' interview was over, the mayor and council took a short break, and moved back to their places around the formal council table for a Special Call Meeting.

"Our only agenda item is the appointment of a councilman for the Ward 3 seat vacated by Odie Whitehead," said Bingham.

"It was a tough decision," said Cathey. "Very good candidates showed up. They were all closely bunched at the finish line."

"You can't go wrong," agreed Thomas. "Whoever doesn't get it should be involved with the city anyway."

"Four excellent candidates," Allen said. "It's tough, no question."

Bingham urged someone to make a motion, and Thomas moved to appoint Haislip. The motion was seconded by Allen, and unanimously approved by the three councilmen present. (Councilman Robin Minor was absent.)

The meeting was then adjourned, moments after it was called to order. The mayor and councilmen congratulated themselves over how quickly their business was concluded, and Bingham went to phone Haislip with the good news.

"I'm real excited about getting out into the 3rd Ward and talking with the people," said Haislip the next morning during a phone interview. "Trying to inspire them to come to city council meetings -- that'll be one of my main goals."

"I've lived here all my life, and been involved with the public on a regular basis," he continued. Haislip, who is in his early 50s, is currently the energy specialist for the Marshall County School System, but has held a variety of jobs in and around the county.

"I've been in touch with the majority of these people all my life," he said. "I think I can entice them to get more involved with city government. I've been on the development board, so I have some understanding of what's going on."