Waters is Pelham’s new mayor

Incoming Pelham Mayor Gary Waters, left, shares a laugh with newly elected Councilman Rick Hayes shortly after the election results came in at Pelham City Hall on Aug. 28. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Former Pelham Fire Chief Gary Waters will serve as Pelham’s fifth mayor after he was elected during the city’s Aug. 28 municipal elections. Waters defeated current Mayor Don Murphy and current City Council member Steve Powell for the mayor’s seat.

Waters gathered 1,793 votes compared to Murphy’s 578 and Powell’s 750.

“The emotion I feel right now is pride in our city,” Waters said shortly after the results were announced at Pelham City Hall. “It has very little to do with what I did. We just told the truth and the voters did the rest.

“We’ve got some challenges ahead of us, but it looks like we’ve got a good City Council going forward,” Waters added.

In Pelham’s hotly contested City Council races, Rick Hayes defeated incumbent Council President Teresa Nichols for the Place 1 seat by a margin of 2,023 votes to 1,031 votes.

“It’s a great day for Pelham,” Hayes said as the results arrived at City Hall.

In the Place 2 council race, incumbent Councilman Ron Scott, who was appointed to the council by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley earlier this year, defeated candidate Lucas Burger by a vote of 2,433 votes to 481 votes.

“It feels great. I look forward to working with the new mayor,” Scott said. “I think there will be wonderful synergy for addressing the issues that need to be addressed.”

Pelham Councilwoman Karyl Rice hugs family members and supporters at Pelham City Hall after winning re-election to the council on Aug. 28. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Beth McMillan will serve as the new Place 3 council member after she beat out fellow candidates David Ladewig, Mildred Lanier and Jim Martin, gathering 62 percent of the vote for the place.

“I am so excited. I look forward to working with the other council members over the next four years,” McMillan said.

The Place 4 council race will go to a runoff election between Maurice Mercer and Jim Phillips. The two beat out fellow Place 4 candidates Jeff Smith and Bob Sullivan for the seat.

“I think the whole City Council can be really viable over the next four years,” Phillips said. “Only time will tell (with the Place 4 race).”

“I’d like to see a civic organization host a debate so the citizens can make an informed decision when they go back to the polls,” Mercer said. “We’ve worked hard (with my campaign) and we will continue to do so.”

Current council member Karyl Rice defeated fellow current council member Bill Meadows for the Place 5 council seat.

“This will be my eighth term. Other than my first one, this is the most excited I’ve been about an election on all my years on the council,” Rice said. “I want to say thank you to all the people who came out and voted today.”