Tuesday’s Morgan City Council work meeting had a few new faces in attendance. After the resignation of Councilman Fran Hopkin, the council interviewed four very qualified applicants for the vacancy.
After submitting official letters of interest, each candidate was put in “the hot seat” for a question-and-answer period. The applicants were each asked the same series of four questions, asking for an introduction, an explanation of what drew them to apply, what they felt were the biggest issues facing Morgan City at this time and what they thought made a community livable.
Richard “Dick” Slate was the first to approach the council. He expressed concern over growth and suggested that we “slow the growth until the infrastructure catches up.” Slate praised Morgan City for being a city where residents are concerned with the well being of others and added that well run civic organizations are also key to a livable community.
Ann Marie Robinson, daughter of former Morgan City Mayor Marie Heiner, said she ran because it is “in her blood” and she wanted her children to see that civic service is important to her. Robinson also commented that with all the complaining that happens online, she thought it was important to try and be a part of the solution.
Robinson commended the people of Morgan City saying, “We have great teachers here. The city is full of honest, God-fearing people who look out for each other.” She continued saying that she loves all the activities and small-town community events, “That’s what makes it home,” she concluded.
Eric Turner also threw his cowboy hat in the ring. Turner is a Morgan native who has served the community for years. Turner serves the youth in 4-H and is an active part of the Morgan County Fair and the FFA. He served as an EMT for 13 years and is currently employed as a project manager at Hill Air Force Base working with HVAC, but he also has a background in electrical.
Turner said as a part of his employment, he has been given the chance to visit and work with other cities and their engineers, which has given him a basic understanding of the dynamics of utility issues. He has dealt with the electrical end of wastewater plants and feels he could catch up quickly with that ongoing conversation.
“A mentor of mine encouraged me to do this and I figured it was probably time to step up,” said Turner. He said, “When people take care of each other here, it’s magical. To me, that’s what makes a livable community. Isn’t it great that we can send our kids to the fair with some money and not worry?”
Final candidate Jacob “Jake” Carter agreed, noting that he enjoyed that as a child as well. Carter is newly married and going to school and wanted to use this time of his life to better himself and his community.
Carter currently works at Hill Air Force Base in change management. Because he facilitates communication between customers and military personnel, he “knows the importance of tax payer dollars.”
Carter stated how much he loves Morgan and the service-oriented atmosphere that exists here. “I remember when the flooding happened a few years ago. I was helping to sandbag and everyone just pitched in and worked together. It was great.”
The four candidates were voted upon during the following meeting. The council was evenly split on their decision, resulting in a tie between Robinson and Turner. Because a majority was met this time around, unlike the last appointment tie, Mayor Ray Little cast the deciding vote naming Turner as the newest Morgan City Councilman.
Turner was sworn in, and although he admitted to feeling a bit “overwhelmed,” he took his seat on the bench and participated in his first meeting as Councilman Turner.
Turner’s wife, Kim, was proud of her husband’s willingness to serve. “He will do an amazing job. Eric is always trying to look for solutions and thrives on helping out. I think that this will be a great opportunity for him to give back,” she said proudly. “Do I feel we are a little stretched? Yes, but I think my kids just think this is how a normal family lives. They have been out serving and helping since they were born.”