It’s official. The City of Milledgeville has a new mayor and two new council members.

Mayor Richard Bentley and all six members of the city council were sworn in shortly after 4:30 Thursday afternoon by State Supreme Court Justice Hugh P. Thompson.

After the ceremony, the new mayor and each of the councilmen had their own comments about their hopes, goals and expectations.

Bentley, serving his first-ever role as mayor, said he was relieved that the ceremonial formalities were over.

“I think we work much better when we’re informal – when we act as residents,” Bentley said. “We’re just kind of ready to get to work.”

Bentley defeated former Mayor Floyd Griffin by 616 votes in the municipal elections in November, four years after losing to Griffin by 21 votes.

The Milledgeville native said the city council, with two newcomers, should be an excellent group of men and women, with whom he will serve to the best of his ability.

“I feel rapport with each one of them,” Bentley said. “I feel real good about what we can do together. “

Newcomer Ken Morgan, who defeated Dennette Jackson for the District 1 seat, admitted that in all the excitement, there is a slight degree of fear.

This is Morgan’s first term in any political office.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, having gone into it for the very first time,” he said. “I’m a little nervous, but that nervousness will subside after we get started and I get my feet wet and just start making things happen.”

Steve Chambers, who served on the city council 12 years ago, defeated Richard Hudson for the District 6 seat.

Chambers said he is looking forward to working with the new city council and with Bentley, whom he described as “a close friend.”

“My first time around I was apprehensive – wasn’t sure what was going on,” Chambers said. “This time I feel like my experience is going to help us get going pretty rapidly.

“I think . ... together we can make a tremendous team,” he added.

Jeanette Walden, who was sworn in for her third term in District 2, said she was looking forward to great things.

“I’m excited about serving again, and I’m looking forward to being a public servant to the people of the City of Milledgeville.”

Denese Shinholster, who is serving her second term in District 3, said she was honored that the citizens in her district had enough faith in her to keep her in office for another term.

And for that, she is truly grateful.

“I’m excited about the new administration and looking forward to working with the mayor and all the council,” she said. “Even just not having worked together, we’re all able to communicate with each other and we seem to have a good relationship. And I’m looking forward to keeping that.”

Richard Mullins, elected to serve his second full term in District 5, said he was overwhelmed by the support of the people who showed up for the ceremony.

As for his new colleagues and the new mayor, he is optimistic that the city will now move in the right direction.

“I think things will be running a little better now,” Mullins said. “I don’t think we have (an) ego problem now. I think everyone’s just here for the good of the city.”

Seasoned veteran Ken Vance, who was sworn in for his seventh term in District 4, said after 24 years, the days to come are still exciting.

In fact, Vance said he is more excited now that he has been in a long time.

“We have a new charter, a new set of people and a new mayor,” Vance said. “We’re going to be able to do some things this time that we weren’t able to do, particularly in the last four years.”

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