Alexander City Mayor Tommy Spraggins said Thursday he wants his place on the city council filled as soon as possible and confirmed Tim Funderburk is now the council president.
In his fourth day in office following the death of Jim Nabors, Spraggins said he is still getting accustomed to being called mayor and all the responsibilities that come with it.
“It’s been a big change,” said Spraggins, 67, who is retired and had served as council president. “I think every day I realize it even more and I still don’t know all the decisions that will come to me yet. It’ll be an everyday job. It’s changed my life a good bit, to be honest. I’m a strong family person and I’ve got three young grandchildren in Auburn. I’ve been spending a lot of time there and this is going to impact that. My wife is supportive. We wish this hadn’t happened but I’m going to do what I need to do for Alexander City to move the city forward.”
Spraggins will preside over his first council meeting as mayor Monday and be ceremonially sworn in at the beginning of the 5:30 p.m. meeting.
Spraggins said he would sit in his customary chair instead of the mayor’s chair, which will be marked with a white ribbon in memory of Nabors, who died early Monday morning after emergency surgery to clear an intestinal blockage. Nabors was buried Wednesday in Maplesville.
Spraggins is working from a temporary office downstairs at city hall and said he will move upstairs to Nabors’ old office next week.
Funderburk moved up from council president pro-tem to council president and will now conduct the meetings as Spraggins did.
The council will select a new president pro-tem from its membership but Spraggins said Rob Johnston, an attorney with the Alabama League of Municipalities, suggested waiting until Spraggins’ vacancy on the council as the former District 5 representative is filled.
“We can have an election or an appointment and we’re all leaning toward an appointment,” Spraggins said. “We all want it to be done pretty quick.”
Spraggins said the council will likely advertise or announce the vacancy, ask anyone from District 5 who is interested in serving to apply within a two-week period then conduct interviews. The earliest an appointment could be made is June 3 and the earliest the new councilmember can be sworn in is June 17, the new mayor said.
“Keeping the chemistry going is important,” Spraggins said. “Even when we disagree there are no hard feelings. We came up in different environments and had different educations and grew up differently. That’s part of it.”
Spraggins said it’s a priority to meet with each department head individually in their offices, not his.
“I want to hear what is on their minds and see what their issues are,” he said. “The mayor got everyone working well together and I don’t want to change anything right now. I don’t come in with any preconceived ideas. I’m a very supportive mayor.”
Spraggins has likewise received strong encouragement in the wake of Nabors’ death and his ascendency as mayor.
“I’ve gotten so many phone calls and texts of support,” Spraggins said. (Former mayor) Barbara Young called me last night and said, ‘Tommy, I know you’re swamped and tired but I want to tell you one quick thing — before you go to work every day I’ve prayed for you.’”
Spraggins was greeted the day after Nabors’ funeral with good news — the city’s Miner’s Cove annexation request was approved by the legislature and is awaiting Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature, and April represented the best month for sales tax collections this fiscal year at $940,936.
The annexation would be effective Aug. 1 if Ivey signs the request this month, Spraggins said city revenue manager Ward Sellers told him.