December 19, 2017 10:16:32 AM
In the buffet line before Monday's Starkville Rotary Club meeting and, after the meeting, as members came forward to shake hands with the speaker and exchange a few encouraging words, there seemed to be a consensus: Lynn Spruill has done a good job as mayor in the six months since she was sworn into office.
Spruill, who won a narrow -- and still contested -- victory over Johnny Moore in July's election, used her time Monday to outline the city's progress during her time in office.
While acknowledging some of the progress should be attributed to the work of previous administrations, Spruill's list of achievements is impressive. The city is in the midst of a building boom, particularly in the downtown area, growth that has been complemented by measures Spruill and the city's board of aldermen have passed -- things like amending the city's billboard ordinance, alcohol ordinance, capital improvement projects and even beautification plans.
And while some of the measures have been robustly debated, Spruill's skill as a leader has helped the board move ahead on a long list of achievements.
That she has been an effective leader for the city should come as no surprise. Quite frankly, it's hard to imagine anyone better qualified for the job.
A Starkville native, Spruill's affection for her hometown is obvious. Even before she ran for mayor, Spruill was one of the city's biggest advocates, an ubiquitous presence at almost every event in town.
Her background as a Navy and commercial pilot speaks to her ability to focus on details and be precise in her actions. As a businesswoman, she understood the relationship between business and city government. She even served as a mayor in Addison, Texas, before coming home.
And finally, after serving as chief financial officer for mayors Dan Camp and Parker Wiseman (during his first term), Spruill has an understanding of city government and its unique challenges.
After being unceremoniously dumped as CAO by a narrow vote of the alderman at the beginning of Wiseman's second term, she could rightly have been bitter. No one would have blamed her for washing her hands of the whole affair.
Instead, she remained engaged and informed.
By the time the mayoral election came along, Spruill was ready -- more than ready.
The evidence of that was easy to see during Monday's Rotary Club meeting.
Starkville is not immune to the challenges all cities face. But under Spruill's leadership, there is a sense of optimism and momentum in the city that cannot be denied.
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