GARLAND — After being selected by voters to make important decisions for the town, Commissioners Judy Smith and Ralph Smith are ready to work.
During a recent meeting, they took an oath of office with the assistance of Mayor Winifred Murphy. A reception with family followed the ceremony.
Ralph Smith was re-elected for another four years and received more votes than any other candidate for the two-seat race. He resigned as a commissioner in June because of health matters, but later rejoined before the election.
“I feel by getting the most votes, the majority of the voters in Garland must be pretty satisfied with my performance,” he said. “My main goal is to help the town of Garland.”
Ralph Smith served Garland for two decades through commission and mayoral work. The longtime resident said he would like to continue his work to improve buildings throughout town.
“I hope we can get other infrastructures in Garland back up to par,” the commissioner and former mayor said about one of his main goals.
That also includes water, sewer and street maintenance. While Ralph Smith says he focuses on infrastructure, Judy Smith said she would like to see more programs and recreational opportunities for Garland residents.
“I guess everyone has something close and dear to their hearts,” she said. “I just feel that the public has really wanted the softball leagues to come back to Garland. I’m not really sure what happened with why they left.”
In the near future, she hopes the leagues return to Garland. For the upcoming year, commissioners have not divvied up their responsibilities, but Judy Smith said she would like to serve on the parks and recreation committee.
“It’s going to require a lot of volunteers,” she said about energizing the softball program. “I’m just hoping that we can rally some support for that.”
She mentioned that funding opportunities may be available for the softball project.
During the election, Judy Smith tied with challenger Larry Lee Anderson and days following the election, a lottery method using colored pens was used to determine who would be the next commissioner. The commissioner won by selecting the right color. Following the ceremony, she joined her new colleagues and began to make votes on important matters. As a new commissioner, she understands the challenges ahead, such as financial matters.
“As we sat there and went over that budget, there’s so many things behind the scenes that a commissioner does that really doesn’t get a pat on the back for,” Judy said. “I think the public itself would like to see the recreation department offer something for the citizens of Garland and their needs. I think it’s something that the commissioners can do for the town.”
The terms for Judy Smith and Ralph Smith are set to expire in 2019. After being elected in November 2013, the terms for mayor Winifred Hill Murphy, mayor pro-tem Haywood Johnson, commissioner S.J. Smith and commissioner Carolyn Y. Melvin will expire in 2017.
“I hope that we can continue to work together as a team for a common goal,” Judy Smith said. “Sometimes we tend to get sidetracked, but for the most part, I think we have some good town leaders. ”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.