Mobile's new Mayor takes the oath of office
Mobile's Mayor-elect, Sandy Stimpson, took the oath of office on Monday. I sat down for a one-on-one conversation with the new Mayor to talk about his plans for the City and what Monday will be like... Sandy Stimpson: Well, it all starts off with a meeting at 10:30, and where I’ll actually be sworn in at the auditorium at Government Plaza. Then, we’ll go right to work right after that, there are a lot of things that the Mayor will to execute at that time. Then, that afternoon, starting at 5:30, there will a reception with all the City Councilors and the Mayor for a ceremonial swearing-in and just a reception at the Convention Center. Pat Duggins: Sir, you’ve worked so hard for this…does it seem real yet? Stimpson: It’s very real. We did work hard. We did campaign real hard. And, we’ve been working ever since election night getting prepared, and we’re really excited. Pat: Just a thumbnail sketch, what are your plans for Mobile? Stimpson: Well, one of the things we wanted to do. We cast a vision on making Mobile the safest, most business and family friendly city in America by 2020. And, to do that, we had to bring the entire community together, regardless of race or the geographic neighborhood you happen to live in, and the only we could do that, and unify our community, was to make sure that governmental services were spread equitably across the community, and so we had a slogan which originally was “One Mobile,” and “One Mobile” was to send the message that we were going to be inclusive and that together we could fulfill the vision. And so, we will be working, all ends, toward fulfilling that vision. Pat: Sir, on the outside looking in, it seems like running a City like Mobile is a complex job. What’s it like getting ready to assume that job? Stimpson: Well, I’ve been in the business world for almost forty years, and it’s not all that different, in that there’s a lot of people who are plugged into city government. You have more constituents and there’s a greater and more diverse customer base. But, it’s really about being receptive and giving of yourself to listen to what the needs are across the community. And I’ve done that in the past. So, in that regard it’s not different. But, it is politics, and it takes a little longer to make things happen, you have to touch bases to make sure people are in the loop, and that you’re touching the bases you need to. Pat: Your inauguration is on Monday, and you asked for a weekend of service leading up to that. Can you talk about that? Stimpson: Well, we decided not to have an inaugural ball. Just because those tend to be exclusive events, and we wanted to be inclusive, and we didn’t want to have a party. So, the idea was floated out to have an inaugural day of service, so we picked a senior center that’s located in the south part of the city, and we had volunteers swarm that senior center and reclaim the property that surrounds it, and make it into Mobile’s first senior park. We have called for Sunday to be a day prayer, we sent messages to all the ministers in town to pray on Sunday. Pat: I know you haven’t even been sworn in yet, but when you’re first term is over, what do you want people to say this was the stamp you left? Stimpson: I’m hopeful that four years from now that people look back, they’ll think that city government was more responsive that it was in the past, and that was more transparent. And that we’ve accomplished that goal of “One Mobile,” of unifying our community. And if we do that, we’ll be a long way on the road, in my opinion, toward making Mobile not only the safest city, but also the most business friendly and family friendly city in America. Because today you have to create an environment where young people want to come back here because of the job opportunities.