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Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran promises unity for new administration (gallery)

By Warren Kulo | The Mississippi Press | July 1, 2013
Click to enlarge and to view gallery of inauguration photos.
OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi -- Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran was sworn in for her third term in office and promised unity with the board of aldermen for the coming four years.

"It is our honor to be your public servants for the next four years," Moran said in her inaugural address during a swearing-in ceremony Monday night at the Ocean Springs Community Center. "The election is behind us and I call on each of my elected colleagues to pledge to work together as a unit, to see the greater vision for the city as a whole and to ensure that we enact financial and economic development policies to continue the progressive growth of our community, while still retaining our historic charm and integrity.

"I see us as the envy of the Coast -- let us work together to be the dynamic team that ensures our continued success."

Moran and the seven aldermen elected to office were each sworn in individually by Municipal Court Judge Matthew Mestayer.

For Ward I alderman John Gill, it marked the eighth such ceremony in his tenure as an alderman. He was already the longest-serving alderman in Mississippi history with 28 years continuous service heading into the new term which will take him to 32 years.

"No, it never gets old," Gill said prior to the ceremony. "I enjoy every minute of it. I enjoy helping people. Ocean Springs is a beautiful town, we've completed some great project over the past few years and with a good mayor and board we hope to continue that trend."

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Michael Impey, who defeated incumbent James Hagan to earn the Ward 6 alderman seat. It is Impey's first foray into the political arena and he is the lone newcomer to the Ocean Springs board.

"I'm very excited," Impey said prior to taking the oath of office. "I'm looking forward to tackling our budget issues and seeing if we can do something about the deficit. I was born and raised in Ocean Springs and I'm anxious to get to work."

Like many of the aldermen, Impey was accompanied by family and friends for the ceremony.

"I've got my whole family here," he said. "They've supported me throughout the whole process. Also, through the Facebook page we started for the campaign, I've had a lot of old friends I went to school with reach out with their support. That was pretty special."

For Alderman at-large Bobby Cox, Monday's ceremony marked the first full-blown swearing-in event he has participated in. Last February, after Cox won the special election to replace Troy Ross after Ross was elected to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, Cox was sworn in during an abbreviated ceremony just prior to a board meeting at City Hall.

"It was standing room only that night," Cox said, "but they weren't there for me. They were there to talk about the roosters. I got sworn in and then had to go right to work. This feels like the real deal tonight."

Ward 4 alderman Greg Denyer was pushed in his re-election bid by first-time candidate Joey Conwill. Denyer said winning such a closely contested race made his re-election more gratifying. Four years ago, Denyer ran unopposed.

"Joey ran a good, clean race," he said. "Having an opponent makes you get out and meet people, talk to people and learn about what's important to the people you represent."

The new administration has little time to celebrate. The first regular meeting of the mayor and board is set for Tuesday night at 6 p.m.