In an odd turn of events, the Oxford City Council appointed former councilwoman Emma Lou Patterson to take Mayor Elect Jerry Roseberry's position on the council by a public roll call vote at their council meeting last Monday night.
The council's first vote, which appointed former councilman Virgil Eady to take Roseberry's Council Post 4 seat on Nov. 12, was declared invalid because it violated Georgia's Open Records Law. The council was informed that the vote was not valid by City Attorney David Strickland.
According to City Clerk Carol Poole, the roll call vote was four to two with Mayor Bill Murdy, Councilman Jim Windham, Councilwoman Amma Gaither and Councilman Hoyt Oliver voting in favor of Patterson. Councilmen Terry Smith and George Holt voted in favor of Eady.
Patterson, 73, served on the Oxford City Council from 2002-2005 before losing her seat to Roseberry. After winning the role call vote, she was immediately sworn in by Strickland and will assume her councilwoman duties in January.
Four candidates were originally nominated to replace Roseberry - Patterson, Eady, Bill Shapiro and Norbert Thompson.
According to Murdy, at the Nov. 12 meeting the secret ballot vote twice came out tied between Patterson and Eady before Eady was declared the winner after the third ballot vote.
Speaking on Thursday, Murdy said he did not know why the two votes resulted with different winners.
"There could be all kinds of reasons why people voted one way or the other," Murdy said.
The close race between Patterson and Eady, both former council members, to replace Roseberry is reflective of the small circle of individuals who are involved in Oxford politics.
In 2005 Patterson was defeated by Roseberry by a margin of two votes. That same election Eady lost his Council Post 5 seat to Windham by a wider margin - 180 to 47 votes.
"I wasn't surprised," said Patterson of her council nomination Wednesday. "I knew that I was going to be asked."
A member of the Oxford Planning Commission, Patterson must leave her seat on the commission - which she has served on for a total of six years - to serve on the city council.
In the two years left of Roseberry's term, Patterson said she will work on plans for Oxford's proposed new city hall in addition to working to have the sidewalk north of Palmer Stone Elementary School on Emory Street repaired. Patterson said she would also work to see the city's ordinances enforced.
"I'm looking forward to serving for two years" said Patterson, a retired school food service employee at Palmer Stone.