Heartfelt thanks and congratulations marked a changing of leadership on the Rome City Commission Monday night as the board voted for Commissioner Jamie Doss as mayor.
Commissioner Evie McNiece, who had served in the role for the last three years, announced last year that she would decline another nomination because of her growing duties with the Georgia Municipal Association.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute,” McNiece said during the meeting, adding that the city has done well weathering the recession. “We take something that is bad and make something good out of it. That’s what Rome does.”
Doss, who served as mayor pro tem last year and has been on the City Commission since 1994, was voted into the chairman position by a 7-2 count over Commissioner Bill Collins.
“I want to thank the commissioners for their support,” Doss said. “It’s going to be an exciting year for the city of Rome. We have a lot of momentum and I hope we can keep it.”
Doss acknowledged the efforts of McNiece, who still has two years left in her term as city commissioner.
“She has been everywhere and done an incredible job representing this city for the last three years,” he said.
Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter put Doss’ name into contention during the nominating portion of the meeting, overseen by City Attorney Andy Davis.
Newly elected Commissioner Wendy Davis made nominating Collins for mayor her first official act after being sworn in by Floyd County Chief Superior Court Judge Walter J. Matthews earlier in the meeting.
Doss and Sue Lee also were sworn in after being re-elected to new four-year terms in their Ward 2 seats.
In the selection of the new mayor pro tem, Commissioner Bill Irmscher nominated Commissioner Milton Slack. Davis nominated Collins for the position — acting mayor when Doss is unavailable.
The vote went along the same lines, with Davis and Collins the only two votes for Collins.
In remarks following the two votes, Collins said he felt the commission’s process of selecting a mayor should be replaced with an election by the voters.
“I have lobbied to this body and institution for years to change the process so someone like myself might be elected … but only to have it fall on deaf ears,” Collins said.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of the process but … hopefully there will be a different day in the future.”
The City Commission also voted 8-0 to support the South Rome Redevelopment Corp.’s request for Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to buy and demolish the old McCall Apartment building at 310 S. Broad St.
As mayor, Doss only votes to break a tie.
A packet outlining plans to turn the property into affordable housing will be sent to the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, which is in charge of distributing the federal money to area municipalities.