Brookhaven now has its second mayor.
J. Max Davis, the city’s inaugural mayor, resigned to run for the state House of Representatives, so on June 9, Brookhaven City Council chose Rebecca Chase Williams to take the mayor’s chair.
But the vote wasn’t unanimous.
District 2 councilman John Park voted against Williams’ election, while Williams, District 3’s Bates Mattison and Joe Gebbia of District 4, voted for it.
“I don’t believe that Ms. Williams represents the interests of all of Brookhaven and especially those of District 2,” Park said after the meeting.
Brookhaven attorney Linley Jones, who was heavily involved in the city’s march toward municipalization, was nominated by Williams to fill her old, District 1. Her appointment was unanimous.
“This is an historic night we have a unique opportunity where we show how well our charter works,” said Gebbia, who nominated Williams. “We have to make sure we chose someone who can continue the charge of all of the programs in effect in our city.
“Rebecca has done an excellent job on staying abreast of these issues.”
Mattison was unanimously elected as Mayor Pro Tem, filling the position held by Williams.
Both Williams and Jones were sworn in by newly appointed State Court Judge Mike Jacobs, who used to represent House District 80 under the Gold Dome.
“I really look forward to the challenge of building a great city,” Williams said. “I want to build a government that is truly exceptional, and that means being open and honest.”
Davis, who attended the meeting, said his decision to run for House District 80 — a seat once held by his father — was difficult.
“I know this city is on the right path and my fear of leaving something undone was allayed by the knowledge that we have an excellent council and an excellent staff,” Davis said. “We’re very lucky to have such qualified and talented individuals serving as representatives of our citizenry.”
Less than three years after it became a city, Brookhaven has already had two mayors and two new city councilors, and has elections coming up in November for mayor and council members from districts 1 and 3. Both Williams and Jones were elected to fill the respective offices’ unexpired terms through the end of the year.
The city also has experienced turnover in its communications and parks and recreation departments.
Per the city’s charter, Williams was appointed by fellow council members since the election for that office is less than 12 months away in November. Vacancies of 12 months or more require a special election.