Chris Brown admitted he didn’t expect to be so easily approved to join the Alexander City City Council.
“I’m very surprised and very humbled,” said Brown, 42, who was selected unanimously Monday to fill the District 5 council seat vacated when council president Tommy Spraggins became mayor upon the death of Jim Nabors a month ago.
Brown, a salesman with Empire Pipe & Supply, was chosen over two more well-known candidates in Russell Medical marketing manager Susan Foy and Tallapoosa Ford owner Jeff Smith.
With only four councilmembers present to vote — District 4’s Eric Brown was out of town — there was some concern a three-way tie could result because all three candidates were impressive in interviews with the council last week. Each could have been nominated and voted on individually.
But when council president Tim Funderburk opened the formal procedure at Monday’s council meeting, councilmember Scott Hardy immediately nominated Chris Brown and got a second from councilmember Buffy Colvin. A 4-0 sweep down the council table ensued.
“It was a tough decision,” councilmember Bobby Tapley said afterward. “I didn’t want a split council. I was going to go with whoever was nominated.”
Before the vote, Tapley said, “This is a choice I wish I didn’t have to make. I wish you could all draw straws.”
Brown, a native of Lakeland, Florida, has been living in Alexander City since he came here to work in 2006. His grandparents are from the area.
“I spent a lot of time at the lake in the summer and on my grandfather’s farm,” he said. “I came here for work 13 years ago. My son was 4 at the time and I thought this would be a great place to put down roots and raise a family.”
Brown, who will be sworn in at the June 17 council meeting and serve the remainder of Spraggins’ term until October 2020, said after the meeting he intends to run for a full term in next summer’s municipal election.
“I think I’ll fit in well,” Brown said. “I think that’s why I was able to get their votes. I’m open minded. I think they were looking for balance.”
Spraggins said he appreciated the 4-0 vote.
“The council wanted to show unity,” he said. “I didn’t know who it would be. All three were good candidates. Chris will be fine.”
In other action at the meeting:
• A proposed ordinance to exchange a half acre of city property for drainage work done on an adjoining parcel by Kenneth Ledbetter died for lack of a second.
• On Tapley’s recommendation, a resolution to approve a city information security policy was taken off the agenda so it can be studied further.
• The council approved a request for an ABC transfer for retail beer and table wine sales for Raheela Enterprises Inc., located at 941 Jefferson St.