Pell City Council retains city manager, clerk for next 4 years
by David Atchison
PELL CITY – After the new mayor and City Council were administered the oath of office Monday night and the new council president was elected, the council approved to retain the current city manager and clerk for the next four years.

The council unanimously approved to appoint Patrick Draper as the city manager, and Penny Isbell as the city clerk. The council did not make any decisions Monday night about who will serve as the city’s police or fire chiefs or the director of the utility department.

Draper has served as the city manager since July. Before being appointed as the city’s first city manager, Draper served as the city’s fire department chief since Oct. 1, 2010. Before coming to Pell City, Draper worked as the director of training for the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa. From 2003-2007, he worked as the Deputy Chief of Calera Fire & Rescue.

Draper has a master’s in public administration from Jacksonville State University. He earned his bachelor of social sciences degree from the University of Alabama.

Isbell was also appointed as the city clerk by the former administration in July.

Isbell was serving as the acting city clerk with performing her regular assistant city clerk duties before she was appointed as the city clerk. She worked as the assistant city clerk/accounts payable clerk since 1995.

Newly elected Mayor Joe Funderburg said Monday that he is ready to serve as the mayor for the city.

“I’m excited,” Funderburg said. “I’m ready to get started working.”

Joining Funderburg on the council are District 1 Councilman Jay Jenkins, District 2 Council representative James McGowan, District 3 Councilwoman Dot Wood, District 3 Councilwoman Sharon Thomas and District 5 Council representative Terry Templin.

“I’m excited and anxious about getting started,” said the new mayor.

Funderburg defeated Adam Stocks in the Oct. 9 municipal runoff election.

Funderburg said he is going to work as a full-time mayor, even though the position is a part-time job. The city has a new city manager who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the city.

“I’m not just going to be a ribbon cutting and baby kisser,” Funderburg said Monday. “I plan to work closely with the city manager and the council. Even though I don’t have a vote, I certainly will voice my opinion.”

Funderburg said through him, the council will hear the voice of the people and vice-a-versa.

He said he wants the public to know what is going on at city hall.

“We want to make sure that everything we do at city hall is transparent,” Funderburg said. “I want to make sure there are no misconceptions or misunderstandings. We want the public to know where we are going on issues.”

Funderburg said he plans to be at city hall everyday, working to help move Pell City forward.

After the mayor and council were officially sworn into office, Isbell called the inaugural organizational council meeting to order.

The council unanimously approved to appoint Councilman McGowan as the first Council President of the newly formed city government.

“This is a humbling experience for me,” McGowan said, who has served 24 years on the council. “I appreciate these members of the council giving me this opportunity…Stay tune – we will move this city forward.”

The council president will present the council agenda and run the council meetings. The mayor does not vote in the new form of government, which changed because of an increase in population.

The council also unanimously approved to appoint Wood as the president pro temp.

At Monday night’s investiture program, council members thanked the public for voting for them.

“I’m humbled,” Jenkins said. “It’s a humbling experience to know people came out and voted for you.”

He asked that people judge the actions by the new administration not on one issue, but the group’s “overall record.”

The new administration will hold it first regularly scheduled work session at 5 p.m., Thursday, and the regularly scheduled council meeting will follow the council work session. The council meeting is normally held the Monday following the Thursday’s work session, but next Monday is Veteran’s Day.

Former Mayor Bill Hereford also said his goodbyes Monday night.

“It was an honor serving as your mayor,” Hereford said. “For the record, I am very glad I did it.”

He also wished the best for the new mayor and council.

“Joe – brother – you finally got here, and I am proud for you,” Hereford said to the newly elected mayor. “Thank you for your willingness to serve.”

Contact David Atchison at

© 2012