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Friday, June 11, 2010

Two New City Commissioners Are Seated in Graceville

During Tuesday evening’s regular meeting of the Graceville City Commission, two newly elected City Commissioners took the oath of office and began their term of service.  One was long time Commissioner and popular past Mayor of Graceville, Charles Holman.  He was unopposed for reelection. 
The other seat was won by a newcomer to the Board, Dr. Mark Long, who is a staff member  at the Baptist College of Northwest Florida in Graceville.  He defeated Walter Douglas Jr., who has served as a City Commissioner for sixteen years.  The margin of victory was 31 votes.
After the two newly elected Commissioners were given the oath of office by City Attorney Frank Bondurant, the panel again elected Charles Holman as Mayor, with Commissioner Arthur Obar as Mayor Pro Tem.
Outgoing Commissioner Walter Douglas Given Special Recognition
Sixteen consecutive years is a long time to serve as a City Commissioner.  Looking back over that era, everyone who is knowledgeable on Graceville’s history agrees that much has been accomplished.  In recognition of all of that hard work, all of the hours of service, and all that has been accomplished, special awards were given to outgoing City Commissioner, Walter Douglas Jr. at Tuesday’s commission meeting in Graceville.
A special memorial plaque was given to Mr. Douglas by Mayor Charles Holman in recognition of his service to the city.  Additionally, Mr. Bill Rimes, CEO of West Florida Electric Co-Op presented a special plaque from his company in recognition of the accomplishments during the era in which Mr. Douglas served.  Additionally, several local citizens took the floor and gave glowing testimonials to the service of the City of Graceville and its citizens.
Next, Mayor Charles Holman gave a detailed accounting of the accomplishments of the Commission while Mr. Douglas served.  He began with a description of the old City Hall, which was in such a bad state of repair that it was subject to being condemned.  The Commissioners put together a plan which led to the construction of the new City Hall which also houses the City Police Department.  Then in 1992 Bill Rimes was hired as City Manager, and a progressive team was formed which created an industrial park for the city.  Then, as the agricultural base which for years had sustained the city began to decline, a new base of growth was discovered….the prison industry.  Holman recalled the work involved in negotiating the needed requirements for locating the three prisons in the park, which now employ hundreds of local citizens.  He described the creation of the needed supporting infrastructure for these facilities, such as water systems, water towers, and an upgraded waste disposal system, which is still in process.
In reviewing all that has been done, it is obvious that it did not happen by accident,  It took a lot of hard work, wise choices, and dedication from a devoted group of Commissioners.
So, to Walter Douglas, and all of the others who took part….thank you for a job well done. 

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