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Milton City Commissioners elected Denny Jackson to fill out Donnie Oakley’s unexpired term as mayor during a special meeting Monday, Sept. 28, at city hall.
Jackson had been serving as mayor pro tem and officiating at meetings in Oakley’s absence for several months.
Oakley, who had been battling cancer, was hospitalized over the summer after a serious car wreck and had been unable to attend meetings. He died Friday, Sept. 18, at age 53.
Jackson was sworn in by city attorney Genon Hensley, who led the meeting until a mayor was appointed.
Commissioner Steve Brierly was elected mayor pro tem. Both men were elected by unanimous vote.
The new commission then appointed Lori Jameson to fill out Jackson’s unexpired term. Jameson, a former commission member, was elected by unanimous vote and also was sworn in by Hensley.
Milton’s mayoral and commissioner terms end Dec. 31, 2010. All positions will be on the ballot in the May primary and November general elections next year.
Brierly said he is pleased to serve as mayor pro tem. “I hate it under the circumstances, that we lost Donnie,” he said. “Donnie and Denny did a great job for a long time. ... Congratulations to Denny; but there’s an empty spot here, and there will be for a long time.”
Though he’d filled the role for several months, Jackson said taking over as mayor feels “awkward. Donnie was such a close friend. We played together as kids. ... I don’t think there’s anyone that knows this city as well as he did. It’s going to be a learning curve for us.”
Jackson said Oakley and his late father, Vincent “Pete” Oakley, both knew Milton’s water and sewer system inside and out. “That gave the commission good insight into what was going on.”
Echoing a sentiment from a story published last week about Oakley’s passing, Jackson added: “These are some big shoes to fill.”
“But, I’m confident that Denny will do a good job,” Brierly said. “We’re going to try to pick up where Donnie left off.”
Commissioners Jerry Harmon and Gerald Owen agreed.
“We are all interested in the welfare of Milton and its residents,” Owen said.
“And we’re going to try to make the transition as seemless as possible,” Jameson added.