Smyrna swears in a new councilman, along with familiar elected officials, in the ceremony to start the year

Newly elected Smryna Councilman Rickey Oglesby, Jr. at his swearing in ceremony speaks into a microphone held by a woman.

Newly elected Smryna Councilman Rickey Oglesby, Jr. (Screenshot from video of swearing-in ceremony)

by Arielle Robinson

Smyrna swore in its mayor and entire city council and approved staff appointments at a ceremony Wednesday evening in City Hall.

Family, friends, and local Cobb officials such as Sheriff Craig Owens packed the chambers to see elected officials take the oath of office.

Before the ceremony began, Mayor Derek Norton started by honoring former Ward 7 CouncilwomanKathy Young. The council appointed her to fill the seat last year after a former council member resigned due to moving out of the city.

“It’s really been an honor to serve with her,” Norton said. “She’s got a heart for service and has been involved in this city since we did the Visioning initiative in what, 2013, 2014. I’ve known her for 10 years and it’s just been an honor to serve this city with her. I think on behalf of the council, we just want to say thank you.”

Norton presented Young with a glass flower trophy honoring her.

Norton was the first to be sworn in.

He was re-elected in November, defeating challengers Ken Hymes and Alex Backry. Norton won with 55.09 percent of the vote to Hymes’ 43.22 percent and Backry’s 1.69 percent.

Councilmembers Charles “Corkey” Welch and Susan Wilkinson were the only councilmembers to face challengers, but both longtime councilors were re-elected. Welch has previously said that this will be his last time running for election.

Each official who was sworn in brought up their loved ones to help them take their oath and then briefly spoke. They all introduced the family members they brought up.

Norton thanked his family first.

“My family sacrificed a lot to let me do what I do for the city,” Norton said. “And I just want y’all to know how much I love and appreciate you. Thank you so much. I’m honored to have this opportunity to serve y’all again, and I could not be more proud of what this group and this city have accomplished over the last four years in a very difficult environment under very difficult circumstances. And I’m so excited about the potential and all of the things that we have ahead of us. I can’t wait to see what we all will accomplish together over the next four years. The one thing that I’ll pledge to y’all is that I’ll continue to give my all each and every day for my family and for all of us who are lucky enough to call Smyrna home. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”

The only new council member, Rickey Oglesby, Jr., took the stage after his colleagues on the council did.

He was the only candidate for Ward 7.

Oglesby is a private banker and is involved in various community services around Cobb County. He previously told the Courier that he wants to bring affordable summer camps and after-school programs to Ward 7. He has also talked about support for more dining choices in the ward as well as a police substation and public library.

Oglesby is originally from South Carolina.

The new council member thanked his family and expressed gratitude.

“I’m just a little boy who spent his first three years of his life in public housing in the small town of Anderson, South Carolina. And here we are here today. I had wonderful parents who showed me sacrifice. My dad is a Navy veteran. My mom was a nursing student during that time, and now they’re all successful. I appreciate my parents, who showed me the love of Jesus Christ, and I love that and that’s how I will govern myself going forward. Thank you all, I’m looking forward to serving Ward 7 in the city of Smyrna,” Oglesby said.

City staff sworn in after the council unanimously voted to approve their appointments were:

  • City Attorney Scott Cochran
  • City Cleark Heather Peacon-Corn
  • City Administrator Joseph Bennett
  • Municipal Traffic and Environmental Court Judge Phyllis Gingrey Collins
  • City Solicitor Tim Williams

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.