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Collins to be mayor pro tem

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Collins to be mayor pro tem

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Former mayoral candidate only qualifier

James Collins hands his paperwork to City Clerk Cindy Yancey Aug. 21. DEBBIE LURIE-SMITH/ STAFF


The question of who will be Gray’s next Mayor Pro Tem was answered last week, but exactly when he will officially take office has not been announced.

James Collins turned in his qualifying packet to City Clerk Cindy Yancey at 9 a.m. on the first day of qualifying, Aug. 21. At the conclusion of qualifying at 4:30 p.m., Aug. 23, Collins was the lone candidate.

The position was vacant due to the resignation of the former Mayor Pro Tem Kema Clark in May. The vacancy required the city to call for a special election, which was set for Nov. 6.

Because the office is vacant, Collins should not have to wait until the beginning of 2019 to take office, but the date he will be able to take his seat on the council has not been determined.

Collins’ name should not be new to his constituents. He opposed Mayor Ed Barbee in last year’s city election. When the office of mayor pro tem became open, Collins let his interest be known and became a regular at council and committee meetings.

In an email received from Collins last week, he said he was excited at the opportunity to seek the office.

The mayor pro tem-elect was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in criminal justice.

“We are celebrating our fifth year in Gray,” he said. “My wife, Kayla, and I have two boys. Braden is now in pre-K, and Mason just started kindergarten. Like so many in Gray, family is very important to me.”

Collins said he looks forward to working with council members and all the citizens of Gray.

“I have been attending council meetings regularly to stay informed on what’s happening in the city and talking to folks around town,” he said.

“I look forward to the opportunity to help preserve the things we all love about Gray – the close-knit family community, and loving, caring citizens. I want to be a representative people can approach and discuss their ideas and also be able to relay what’s going on to people. I have met so many great people already and look forward to meeting many more.”

Collins said he has worked at GEICO for six years as a claims examiner. He said he moved to Georgia to start a career with the insurance company and raise his family.

During his first year on the job, he visited a friend’s home in Gray and immediately fell in love. He said he and his wife knew it was where they wanted to be.

Collins said it took a couple of years, but now they own a home in the same neighborhood they first visited.