Council appoints Anderson to second term as Orange Park mayor

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 5/18/22

ORANGE PARK – Mayor Randy Anderson secured a second-consecutive 1-year term as mayor with a narrow 3-2 vote, which was the most discussed agenda item of the night.

Prior to the mayoral …

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Council appoints Anderson to second term as Orange Park mayor

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Mayor Randy Anderson secured a second-consecutive 1-year term as mayor with a narrow 3-2 vote, which was the most discussed agenda item of the night.

Prior to the mayoral nominations, Tuesday night’s meeting opened with a packed house, greeting the swearing-in of Anderson and Council Member Susana Thompson.

Thompson nominated Anderson for a second term and Council Member Alan Watt nominated Vice-Mayor Eddie Henley for mayor.

With Henley and Anderson voting for themselves, Watt voted for Henley and Thompson and Council Member John Hauber chose Anderson. Henley was the lone nominee for Vice-Mayor and he unanimously retained the position.

After honoring National Police Week, the meeting hurtled into public comments about animals, veterans affairs, infrastructure and eventually the mayor situation.

Former Mayor and Council Member Connie Thomas said she was disappointed the council didn’t follow a rotation for the mayor, referring to events from 2019 where Thomas was approved as mayor after another controversial vote.

She asked council members to have a rotation in the future.

“I was hoping that we could honor Rev. Henley tonight, as far as I know, he would have been the first Black mayor ever in this town,” she said.

Resident Frank Ricketts asked for confirmation that the town’s charter said nothing about a rotation of the mayor. He repeated the charter’s language about the process and said the council members had an obligation to adhere to the charter.

“To make this issue is concerning to me,” Ricketts said. “It is very concerning to me.”

Council members later passed a $155,000 contract to Grimes Utility for the Eldridge Avenue Water Main Replacement Project and addressed a lien.

During council member comments, Henley listed numerous town events on the horizon, and he said he was determined to work with the council.

After quoting the book of Psalms, Henley said he would aim to assist the town and insisted his service was about serving the town rather than race. A member of one of the town’s boards announced his resignation shortly after the meeting via email.

“I do feel some level of harm because I’m human. I do have feelings as others,” Henley said. “I think that the last seven years, to be exact, but the last year, I really have gone over and above to represent this town. I will continue until such time my position is relinquished.”

After the meeting, Anderson said the mayoral decision is about the big picture. The title of mayor is unique, he said, and doors have opened for the town through his stewardship.

“I will give 100%,” Anderson said. “I’m here for the people.”

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