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Congratulations to Rome’s first ever black mayor, William E. “Bill” Collins. Even though I’ve failed to read in this newspaper an editorial or a column* about our newly appointed mayor, he is our city’s new leader and congratulations are certainly in order. As we celebrate Black History Month, the choice of Mayor Collins by his peers is not only black history, but history itself. I’m sure if now deceased former Commissioner Napoleon Fielder, Rome’s first ever black commissioner, was here today he would extend sincere congratulations as well. Remember, “Working together works.”

I’ve known Mayor Collins over the years not only as a commissioner, not only as a businessman and not only as a friend, but as a person who really cares about this city. In his 23 years as a commissioner he has introduced and helped pass ordinances that have been beneficial for all Romans. He understands how city government operates. He understands the needs of our community. He understands people.

For me, one of Mayor Collins’ greatest accomplishments to date was the work he put forward and the knowledge of the block grant that was responsible for the renovations to old Main High School and the establishment of the Kelsey-Aycock-Burrell Center. This center is now an established part of Rome’s community. There are numerous other endeavors our newly-appointed mayor has been a part of in making our city more progressive.

Every Roman should get behind Mayor Collins and should support his leadership as he takes us into the next decade.

*Please see Pam T. Walker’s Thursday column “Saluting Rome’s African-American civic leaders” on page A4, and add Rome News-Tribune to those who wish our new mayor well.