DECATUR— A long-running plan to consolidate the Decatur Public Library and Macon County offices appears to be on hold and Julie Moore-Wolfe will continue to serve as the interim Mayor for the foreseeable future following Monday night’s Decatur City Council meeting.
Following a nearly half-hour long closed session in which the City Council discussed their options for appointing a new Mayor, they returned to the council chambers with no decision; leaving Moore, who is serving on the interim, to remain in the Mayor’s seat.
“I think it’s important for this decision to be unanimous by the council, we have a lot of momentum happening in Decatur despite the loss of mayor McElroy and it is important that the council show our residents that the people in charge can act in unity,” Moore said.
Councilman Pat McDaniel was the only voting member of the council not to attend the closed session. Prior to a vote, McDaniel said he thought it was disrespectful to move forward so quickly after the death of McElroy.
“I think we made some good progress tonight, this is a difficult topic to discuss but we made progress,” Moore added. “Next time I think will be even better because all six of us will be in the room and all six of us will be heard.”
Several residents showed up to voice their support of Bishop GE Livingston, the man who came in 2nd place in April’s election for Mayor.
“40% of the people in this city voted for Livingston, that has to stand for something,” Keith Taliaferro said prior to the meeting. “We live in a democratic society which means we shouldn’t be governed by the elite six that are on the council. Over 3,900 people voted for Livingston this Spring, those voices can’t be disenfranchised.”
McElroy defeated Livingston in this April’s mayoral election; McElroy received 46% of the just over 11,000 votes cast, Livingston received 35%, Councilman McDaniel finished 3rd with 14% of the vote and Dustin Chapman finished a distant 4th with 3% of the vote.
Moore was selected to serve as Mayor pro tempore by McElroy shortly following his election and her selection was approved by the council. Moore can serve as the interim Mayor until September 14th.
In other business… The council gave City Manager Tim Gleason permission to negotiate a new deal between the Decatur Public Library, Macon County, and the Public Building Commission for ownership of the library building. The previous plan, which appears to now be dead, had the library building being sold to the PBC, the Macon County office building at 141 S. Main St. being sold to a private developer, and the Macon County offices moving into the unused space on the libraries second floor. Gleason says he is now going to sit down with all of the separate parties to negotiate a new deal that will involve the City of Decatur purchasing the library building, giving the city several options moving forward. “The library building is an important asset to the city of Decatur and we owe it to the taxpayers to do what we think is best for them and their money,” Gleason said. Library Board President John Phillips said any new deal didn’t’ sit well with him, “I think the city missed a huge opportunity here, I don’t know what is going to happen but I think it is best that we go away for now.” Gleason said he was confident that the other entities would sit down at the negotiating table to hammer out a new deal.