By Brian Graves, Staff Writer
Monday, December 10, 2012 —
Locust Councilman Steve Huber was promoted to the position of mayor Thursday night by a unanimous vote of his colleagues.
Huber will fill out the remainder of the term left vacant when former Mayor Scott Efird resigned to accept the position of town manager.
The entire meeting was filled with good humor and some sentimentality as council members showed appreciation for the former mayor and best wishes for the new one.
Mayor Pro-Tem David Walker presented a plaque of appreciation to Efird at the start of the session and expressed the town’s appreciation for his service and continuing service to the city.
Mayor Huber made some opening remarks after he took his oath of office.
“I would like to thank council for entrusting me with this position,” Huber said. “I want all of you to know I don’t take this lightly and every day for the rest of this term I’ll do everything I can to put Locust first and continue to look out for the interests of Locust in everything I do.”
Huber called Efird a great mentor and a great mayor.
“There’s no way I could ever possibly fill your shoes and I’m not going to try,” Huber said. “I’m just going to do the best that I can as Steve Huber, but always using you as a role model with everything I’ve seen you do over the last two and a half years.”
Huber, who works in law enforcement, joked he wasn’t supposed to be nervous in his line of work.
“But, tonight I’m nervous,” Huber said causing the audience to laugh.
“We’re delighted to have you as mayor,” said Councilman Harry Fletcher addressing the new mayor.
Fletcher then addressed Efird saying, “We hate losing you, but are glad you are where you are at.”
Councilman Larry Baucom joked he was anxious to see how Huber would do “since you’ve set the precedence of having a 30-minute meeting.”
Mayor Pro-Tem David Walker said he appreciated what Huber has already contributed as a member of council.
But, it was Councilman Joe Bishop who got the biggest laugh when he said, “Steve is a great guy. Scott is a great guy, but the only bone I have to pick is one of these days we’re going to have a mayor with some hair.”
Huber said after the meeting it was an opportunity to serve; he wanted and felt it was the right fit.
“It shocked all of us when we realized we were losing Scott,” Huber said. “I have a strong education in public administration and also 26 years of public service, so with him leaving who could replace him.”
“I talked to some of the other members and all of them have been in Locust longer than I have,” Huber said.
“My wife and I, when we started our family, moved to Locust and this is where we would be the rest of our lives,” he said. “The mayor is the face of and representative of Locust. I feel like that is a role suited to my skill set. I’ll be someone who will champion Locust to businesses looking to come here and what Locust has to offer.
“So, I put it out there (to the council members) if they were interested in me serving in the position I would serve,” Huber said.
“My commitment to Locust is when Scott’s term ends I will run in an open election for mayor and hopefully if the citizens and members of council feel I do a good job over the course of the next 11 months, then I think I’ll have a chance.”
He said the first person he talked to about taking the position was Efird, and the former mayor was enthusiastic in endorsing his successor.
“I recommended Steve to replace the vacant seat on council,” Efird said. “He’s a good man and he knows the community. You have to have people like that who are willing to do the job. It’s one you do for the love of it.”
During the meeting, City Manager Tim Fesperman gave a report saying that construction requests are doing well for the city.
“We’ve seen a real spike in interest and activity not only in residential but also the commercial side,” Fesperman said.
He also said he had met people at the “Connect Our Future” open house who had never been to Locust and said they “were very pleasantly pleased with what they saw” of the town.
“They were very complimentary,” Fesperman said.
He also reported that leaf collection in the city would be Monday.