Mayor heads overseas

Tom Seale is Columbiana’s new mayor.

He was elected by the Columbiana City Council and sworn into office by Municipal Court Judge Mike Atchison at the council’s special Jan. 3 meeting.

After Mayor Pro Tem Seale read a letter from Mayor Allan Lowe regarding the pending activation and mobilization of his Army National Guard unit, Seale declared the position of mayor in Columbiana vacant.

Lowe is a member of Detachment 1, 200th Materiel Management Center, based in Homewood, which was activated Jan. 3 and left Sunday, Jan. 5 on the way to Germany.

In keeping with a recommendation for his successor by Lowe, Seale was nominated to fill the post on a &uot;temporary/acting basis&uot; by Councilmember Tim Billingsley with seconds from councilmembers Ouida Mayfield and Leslie Whiting.

Seale was then elected to the

post by a 4-0 vote with Seale, Mayfield, Whiting and Billingsley all voting yes.

Councilmember Sherry Rush was not present.

Seale said he and Mayor Lowe have enjoyed a &uot;working relationship&uot; for the past two-and-a-half years.

He said during the past two years, he and Lowe have worked on plans and projects for Columbiana. Through email, Seale said will continue to have contact with Lowe.

Seale acknowledged that while his election as acting mayor by the council is temporary, the appointment of a new councilmember to replace him is not. He said that unless the person appointed by the council resigns and the council reappoints him to his old post upon the mayor’s return, he (Seale) will be left without a spot on the council.

The letter from Lowe read to the council by Mafield included the following:

&uot;Dear Fellow Municipal Elected Officials of Columbiana and My Friends:

&uot;As you know, I have every reason to expect that I, along with my National Guard unit of assignment, Detachment 1 of the 200th Theater Support Command Materiel Management Center, will be activated, mobilized and deployed in support of our nations ongoing war on terrorism. More specifically, our activation orders state that we will be participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. Barring any unforeseen occurrences, this activation will occur very shortly after the first of the year, and our tour of duty will be the period of one year unless further extended or earlier released.

&uot;For that reason, and in accordance with Alabama Code Section 36-8-3, Appointment of temporary acting officials; powers, duties, compensation, etc., thereof, I now formally notify this distinguished and official body that it becomes necessary to appoint a temporary acting mayor who shall have all the powers, privileges, and duties regularly exercised by the office of mayor. This appointment can only occur once I am gone, otherwise I would enjoy being here to witness the exemplary manner in which this council will handle this unprecedented opportunity. In accordance with Alabama Code Section 36-8-4, tenure of temporary acting official, I fully intend to resume my role as mayor upon my return from active duty.&uot;

Lowe continued, &uot;The immediate question facing this council becomes who should assume the duties as acting mayor of Columbiana. Again, in keeping with Section 36-8-3, I choose to recommend a person who I feel is more than capable of assuming the full mantle of this office.

&uot;My full recommendation is given unreservedly and with all sincerity that Mr. Tom Seale, the current mayor pro tem of this council, should be appointed acting mayor during my absence. His proven leadership, as well as his experience and integrity, will insure continuity and continued success that this council has enjoyed as an outstanding team.&uot;

Lowe further wrote, &uot;in the coming months, there will no doubt be challenges and opportunities that will face this fine group of individuals as you all continue to act in our city’s best interest. Please know that even though many miles separate you and me, each of you will be in my prayers every day. I look forward to resuming my duties as mayor of Columbiana as soon as possible. Until then, may God continue to bless each of you and your families, and the city of Columbiana.&uot;

On the Thursday, prior to the Jan. 3 special meeting of council a farewell reception was held for Lowe at Bernie and Charlie’s Restaurant attended by local and state leaders, family and friends