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Working together

Dwight Tankersley can look back on the past eight years as being the Mayor of Hartselle with a sense of accomplishment.

While others may point to many of the major projects that Hartselle has landed or completed, Tankersley takes more pride in one thing above all else.

It’s the way he was able to work together with the rest of the council for the common good for the city.

Tankersley said they agreed early on to each wear a navy suit jacket and a tie at each meeting going forward as a showing of solidarity.

“It kind of became our uniform,” Tankersley said. “We discussed the issues in our work session, but when it came time for our regular meeting the next night, we had a showing of unity. I think that was important to our city because there was so much division prior to when we took office in 2004.”

Not only was unity built between the mayor and council, but Tankersley also felt it was important to have everyone on the same page throughout the city.

Once a week, a group of Hartselle city leaders would go out to eat lunch. Sometimes, it might include just Bob Francis and former Hartselle Utilities General Manager Ferrell Vest. But many others including School Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed, current HU General Manager Bob Sittason, incoming Mayor Don Hall and others.

They even had occasional visits from Commissioner Chairman Ray Long, other county commissioners and even visits from then Decatur Mayor Don Kyle or even U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.

“The only rule was that no one could discuss business,” Tankersley said. “We wanted to use this time to build friendships.”

Those friendships have been beneficial to Hartselle and Morgan County over the past few years.

“There’s no way we could have done any of this if we didn’t have such good relationships,” Tankersley said. “We all had to work together to do many of the projects that we accomplished over the last eight years.

Tankersley credited those friendships as reasons why Hartselle was able to attract Cracker Barrel to the area or to be able to build the new Hartselle High School.

“We didn’t always agree on everything, but we didn’t let that affect our relationships,” Tankersley said.

Tankersley believes the Morgan Center Business Park was one of the examples of how the entire county worked together for a common good.

“Every municipality in this county worked together to build this business park, much like the way it was when the Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park was built,” Tankersley said. “I think that’s the reason why we’ve been able to attract new businesses and seeing other industries expand because of that cooperation. I don’t think there’s any other county that works as closely together as Morgan County does.”