Pelham hosts Youth Government Day

Published 12:59 am Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It’s not often when elected officials relinquish their hard-fought seats to fifth-graders, but that’s exactly what Mayor Don Murphy and the Pelham City Council did on Monday.

They sat quietly behind 11-year-old Mayor Logan Burnett as he called the annual Youth Government Day council meeting to order inside the municipal courtroom. They smiled when Jessica Hagan made a motion to purchase $10,000 worth of new books for the library, and they laughed out loud when Emily Drake asked the question of the night – “Where are you going to get the money for this?”

The mock council meeting couldn’t have been more efficient or charming.

The Valley Intermediate students, who were elected to office in a mock election, began Monday morning with a visit to Pelham City Hall, where they each shadowed elected officials and department heads and learned about city government and services.

At Burnett’s request, the youthful department heads each gave their reports to the council amid the camera flashes of proud parents.

“At first I thought being finance director was all about the money, but now I know there’s a lot of responsibility,” reported Finance Director Audrey Murray.

“I had too much fun. I can’t even describe how much fun I had today,” reported Ballantrae Golf Club General Manager Mary Alice Hughes.

“It was a good day, and it beat schoolwork,” reported Fire Chief Jake Wheelock.

The council voted unanimously to purchase 20 acres of land for new soccer fields, establish a children’s tennis league and build a dog walking track with waste dispensers before Barnett adjourned the meeting. The students received a standing ovation for their service, and in an instant everything was as it was before.

“What a great bunch of young men and young women,” Murphy said. “I am most impressed by how sharp each of them were as far as adapting to different vocations, the questions they asked and how quickly they got involved. The teachers at Valley Intermediate and the moms and dads are doing a good job.”

Standing next to Murphy, Burnett said his term as mayor taught him a valuable lesson.

“Always listen to people, hear them out and always respect others,” he said.

“He’d make a great mayor,” Murphy said.

2009 Youth Government Day Participants

Mayor – Logan Burnett

Council – Emily Drake, Emily Truchon, Jessica Hagan, Lauren Gentry and Catherine Landeverde

City Clerk – Ian Schlosser

Director of Human Resources – Meredith Henrickson

Finance Director – Audrey Murray

Revenue Director – Jamie Passantino

City Engineer – Spencer Benson

Building Official – Joey Kennedy

Director of Public Works – Gage Anderson

Police Chief – Sidney Smith

Fire Chief – Jake Wheelock

Librarian – Rosalie Hagan

Park and Recreation Supervisor – Drayton Cullen

Pelham Civic Complex Manager – Danielle Sanders

Ballantrae Golf Club General Manager – Mary Alice Hughes

Marketing Director – Sarah Sudd

Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce President – Julie Loseman