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Council selects leaders, welcomes Hodge to fold
Adkins, Teague tapped as Mayor, Vice Mayor
Martinsville Mayor Kim Adkins (right) addresses those in attendance as newly elected Vice Mayor Gene Teague looks on Wednesday at City Hall. Adkins was elected for a second term as mayor by the council, and Teague succeeded Kimble Reynolds Jr. as vice mayor after Reynolds’ term expired. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
Kim Adkins was re-elected mayor and Gene Teague was elected vice mayor by Martinsville City Council in unanimous votes on Wednesday.
During the council’s organizational meeting, Sharon Brooks Hodge took her oath of office as the panel’s newest member, having been elected by voters in November. She takes the seat previously held by Kimble Reynolds Jr., who did not run for a third four-year council term.
Reynolds was the vice mayor until his term expired.
Martinsville Circuit Court Clerk Ashby Pritchett also administered oaths to Councilmen Mark Stroud and Danny Turner. Both were re-elected to second terms in November.
Unlike many cities where mayors are elected by voters, Martinsville’s mayor is elected by council members from among themselves every two years. The post basically is ceremonial, with the mayor’s main duty being presiding over council meetings. The mayor’s vote carries the same weight as other council members’ votes.
Turner nominated Adkins for her second term as mayor. Adkins, executive director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board, has been the mayor since 2010. At that time, she was the first person in 60 years to become mayor immediately upon joining the council.
Stroud nominated Teague, director of business planning for VF Sportswear, for vice mayor. Teague, the longest-serving councilman, was vice mayor for two terms from 1998 to 2002. He was mayor from 2002 to 2004.
Like mayors, vice mayors serve two-year terms.
No other nominations were received for either post.
In prepared remarks, Adkins thanked other council members for re-electing her as mayor. “It’s a responsibility I will continue to take very seriously,” she said.
In the past two years, she said, city officials have reduced expenses “while maintaining quality services and not sacrificing investments in our future.”
Ongoing efforts by the city and others to renovate Martinsville High School, rejuvenate the uptown business district, launch a medical school and further develop the New College Institute will improve Martinsville and its ability to attract new jobs and residents, she said.
Private developers want to invest in new construction and renovate some existing buildings uptown, Adkins said. Some of their interest has not been publicized, but it will be later this year “if all goes as planned,” she said.
By residents, community organizations and city officials working together, she said, “we will continue to invest in our city to create a charming and dynamic place to live and work, a city we ... can be proud of.”
“Martinsville’s brightest days are ahead of us,” Turner said. “We’ve got the groundwork laid ... (and) we’ve got the team (of city administrators) to lead us in the right direction.”
Turner is a retired United Parcel Service employee.
In congratulating Teague on being elected vice mayor, Adkins said “his expertise in local government and experience on council are invaluable.”
“I’ll do my best to serve you” well as vice mayor, Teague said.
Hodge is the first black woman to serve on the council, which now consists of three men and two women. Leading the meeting’s invocation, Bishop J.C. Richardson Jr., who is on the Martinsville School Board, said the council’s composition now more closely reflects the city’s population.
Hodge, executive director of the Ohio-based Black Family Preservation Group Inc., did not address that issue in her comments. Instead, she said she hopes that people who did not vote for her will support her.
In recent weeks, she has been meeting with city department heads to learn about the city’s operations and budget. She indicated that will enable her to be fully involved in issues facing the council sooner rather than later.
“It’s not going to take me four years to learn to do my job,” Hodge said.
Stroud, a retired Martinsville Sheriff’s Office master deputy, said he is “very proud of being the top vote-getter” in the last election.
Other than his family, he said, “nothing is more important to me than being able to serve my city.”
The council informally decided to continue holding its regular meetings at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.