By Arielle Robinson
Acworth swore in the mayor, two aldermen and two municipal judges at the first Board of Aldermen meeting of the year at City Hall Thursday evening.
In a room more packed than usual for board meetings, spouses, family and colleagues watched as board members and judges placed one hand on the Bible and took their oaths.
Mayor Tommy Allegood, Alderman Tim Richardson and Alderman Tim Houston were sworn in. All three have been in their seats for over a decade.
Allegood was also sworn in as judge pro hac vice, which means that he has the power to officiate weddings, among other ceremonial powers.
City Attorney Doug Haynie said that both Allegood and Richardson have held elected office in the city since 1998 (Allegood was a city council member before he became mayor), while Houston was first elected post 5 alderman in 2004.
Richardson, who is alderman for post 4, was the only board member who faced a challenger.
Elections for Acworth’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen are staggered. The city holds municipal elections every two years and the winner retains their post for four years.
Alderman posts 1, 2 and 3 are up for election next year.
Chief Municipal Court Judge H. Luke Mayes IV and Associate Municipal Court Judge Joan Bloom were also sworn in.
Associate Municipal Court Judge Charles Chesboro will be the third judge sworn in but as he was unable to make the ceremony, he will be sworn in the near future in court.
The board appoints municipal court judges every two years.
After everyone was sworn-in, each member of the board congratulated their colleagues and said they look forward to working with one another for at least the next two years.
“We’re a really good team, I know y’all hear us say that a lot, but we really are,” Houston said. “We don’t get along … but y’all don’t know that, so that means we’re doing a good job.”
Acworth is a unique city in the metro Atlanta area in that most of its board members have served with one another for at least a decade — a few going back about 20 years — and do not have as high of a turnover rate as other metro cities do.
The city has even canceled elections in the past because no one challenged the incumbents at the time.
A 2017 Courier article about why the city’s elected officials remain in office for so long explained that the reason why members continue to get re-elected may be because of two reasons: local government positions may not be viewed as influential or simply, the citizens enjoy the work done by their elected officials and want to see them stay in office.
The article also explained that as the city and overall area continue to grow, this may inevitably present more challenges to the seats of the current board of seasoned aldermen.
Regardless of what may or may not happen in the future, the mood was light Thursday as city and government officials expressed appreciation for one another’s work.
Allegood thanked the citizens of Acworth and his colleagues, saying that despite their differences, they support each other and the city.
“We have such a good reputation in and outside of not only Cobb County, but in the region,” Allegood said. “We have other cities, other counties coming to our city on a regular basis to kind of look at what we’re doing, to take notes, and they go away and they want to emulate what we’re doing. We do a phenomenal job in doing what I would say giving our citizens and our businesses the best value on their tax dollars.”
Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She also freelances for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and is the former president of KSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a former CNN intern. She enjoys music, reading, and live shows.