Betty Beard named Mayor Pro Tem

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January 2, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Marion Williams has held the position for two years...but today the Augusta Commission has elected a new mayor pro tem.

Electing a mayor pro tem is always a part of the Commission's business at the first of the year, and today three commissioners were nominated: Betty Beard, Marion Williams, and Andy Cheek.

To get the post, one of them had to get six votes...which, as we saw last year, is not always easy. Last year's abstentions even had the city in court.

But this time, Betty Beard, the only woman on the board, got 6 votes on the first round of voting, ousting Williams from the position he's held for two years and wanted for a third.

Ms. Beard addressed the Commission after the vote.

"I'm honored, I'm deeply honored by this," she said, "and I want you to know I will be working with everyone up here and I will also be working for every citizen in Augusta."

"With the courage she's shown over the last year with some of the decisions, she's got the courage to step outside and make a firm decision," said Commissioner Joe Bowles, who voted for Beard.

As mayor pro tem, Ms. Beard will preside in the mayor's absence and help the mayor appoint committees. The perks include an office, a parking space, and a $20,000 salary--as opposed to the $12,000 the other commissioners get.

A lot of the politicking goes on with votes like this. Beard says she called many of the commissioners the night before, asking for their support.