Billingsley resigns seat

Columbiana Councilman Tim Billingsley served in his final Columbiana City Council meeting last week before vacating his seat, at least for now, for a year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The District 3 representative, also a master sergeant of light infantry in the Alabama Army National Guard, began training for the mission in February. This will be his third mobilization since Operation Enduring Freedom began but his first deployment overseas.

Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe praised Billingsley&8217;s dedication to public safety and emergency preparedness over the past six and a half years. &8220;Tim Billingsley is directly and personally responsible for the council approval of weather sirens and emergency operating plans and the position of emergency management coordinator in the city,&8221; Lowe said. &8220;Tim&8217;s strength and his passion lie in improving public safety. Columbiana is a much safer city thanks to his diligence and his hard work.&8221;

Billingsley was first elected to the Council in August 2000 and is now serving his second term, which expires in October 2008. In his resignation letter, he recommended his wife, Tracy, be appointed to the position until his return. No decision has been made yet, but Lowe said he supports Billingsley&8217;s recommendation since the councilman will return to the states before his term expires.

&8220;We expect him to be back, and he did have one or two more things he&8217;d like to accomplish while in office,&8221; Lowe said. As a former member of the National Guard Army himself, the mayor suspects Billingsley will come back with an even greater focus and enthusiasm as a public servant.

&8220;I feel that Tim and I probably have a common understanding through our experience in that, overseas deployment helps put everything else in perspective. When we return, a lot of the things that seemed important and essential are nothing more than distraction,&8221; Lowe said. &8220;It helps to reorient you to what&8217;s important in life.&8221;

Meanwhile, Lowe said the councilman and his efforts will be missed. &8220;I&8217;m proud to say he&8217;s one of the hardest working, most honest elected officials with whom I&8217;ve ever worked,&8221; Lowe said