LOXLEY, Alabama — Longtime council member and former mayor pro tem Richard Teal was sworn as mayor on Monday, June 24 before a packed house during a special council meeting at the Loxley Town Hall.
Loxley Municipal Court Judge Michael Dassinger performed the ceremony in front of a crowd of more than 50 residents, including several current and former town employees.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out and I am truly honored for this opportunity to serve the town,” Teal said. “These are difficult times, but I plan to look to Billy’s leadership to move the town forward in a direction that I feel he would have wanted.”
Teal is the first new mayor in the town of Loxley in more than 30 years, following the passing of longtime Mayor Billy Middleton on May 17 at the age of 78 following a brief but hard-fought battle with cancer.
The council voted unanimously at its regular meeting on Monday, June 10 to appoint Teal to finish Middleton’s term as mayor, which runs through 2020.
Teal and council member Katherine Breeden have both served with Middleton on the town council since 1988 and were recently honored by the Alabama League of Municipalities for 30 years of service.
Teal is a native and lifelong resident of Loxley and graduate of Robertsdale High School. He is also a lifelong member of the Loxley Church of God.
In other business, Breeden made the motion, which was approved unanimously by the council, to advertise to fill Teal’s Place 4 council seat. The council will begin the process immediately of accepting letters of interest to fill the vacant seat. The council will also need to vote to appoint a mayor pro team to fill Teal’s term, which also runs through 2020.
“We have 60 days to fill the position,” Teal said. “I see no problem with being able to fill the position well within the time allotted.”
The council conducted other business during the short special meeting, including voting to purchase and install a lift for a town garbage truck and to use $14,000 from a special recently set up municipal fund for water tank maintenance before closing the special meeting and moving into a short work session.
During the work session the council discussed plan pricing for Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Teal said he planned to meet with all department heads and research what plan works best for the town.
“First and foremost, we need to do what is best to take care of our employees,” he said, “and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.”