Bassett sworn in to fill late husband’s Council seat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Uniontown City Council has filled the seat left vacant by the untimely death of Rev. Councilman Terry Bassett with a candidate everyone can agree is only appropriate: the late Councilman’s wife, Dr. Rosalyn Bassett.

Dr. Bassett, who practices dentistry both in Uniontown and at her Cedar St. office in Demopolis, accepted the Council’s nomination at an emotional and eventful Council meeting Monday evening. She was accompanied by her and Rev. Bassett’s two sons, Terry Jr. and Tenathius, and was sworn into her Council position by Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins. She will serve for the duration of Rev. Bassett’s term.

“I would like to officially welcome Dr. Bassett to the City Council,” said mayor Phillip White after the swearing-in.

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In an interview Tuesday, Bassett said she had difficulty explaining the emotions surrounding her appointment to the Council Monday night.

“I can’t put any words to it,” she said. “It’ll just be a continuation of what he had already started. There were things that he and I felt that we could accomplish in Uniontown, and I felt that I should continue fulfilling his obligation.”

Although she has limited prior experience in city government, Bassett said she wasn’t intimidated by the challenge that awaits her.

“It’s going to be a learning process,” she said. “I’m learning to serve the district that they have entrusted to me.”

She added that while her husband had left behind few specific projects for her to continue (although she will be maintaining his efforts towards public park improvements in their district), she will carry on her husband’s dedication and passion for making the city a better place.

“I’ll be making sure,” she said, “that the district I represent gets the fair share of representation that it needs, to improve the lives of citizens in that area and throughout Uniontown.”

Understandably, Bassett is struggling to reconcile the new experience of serving with the Council with the heartbreak of her loss.

“It’s mixed emotions. I’m excited for the chance to serve, but it leaves me with sad emotions because of the events that led me to be nominated,” she said. “There is excitement, but clearly I’m sad for the events that brought me there.”

The Rev. Councilman Terry Bassett was killed in a car accident March 11 of this year, when a large piece of metal came free from a tractor-trailer and collided with Bassett’s trailing vehicle. In addition to serving on the Uniontown Council, Bassett was a counselor at Uniontown Elementary School.

In other news from the Uniontown City Council meeting:

* The Council honored Councilman Bassett’s memory by renaming the annual “May Day” activity “Terry Bassett Day” and earmarking annual proceeds from the event towards playground equipment and upkeep at Uniontown Elementary School.

* The Council instructed Police Chief Donald Rhodes to have his department keep a close eye on activity at the city’s ball park, which has been the site of various altercations and even had several horses loose on it in the past weeks. Rhodes recommended that the park be closed for a duration of time, but the Council decided the need for city children to have a place to play was too great to follow that course of action.

* With the help of grant-writer Bob Corwin and SITE Inc., the Council will apply for a grant to map, detail, and diagram the city’s water and sewage lines. The project would give the city critical information necessary to prevent service problems in the future and prepare sites for new industries.

* In another step towards attracting industry, the Council took primary steps towards establishing a new seven-member Industrial Board. Mayor White offered recommendations for the initial seven members, which will be voted on by the Council at a later date. The Board is a necessary first step for the city before it can begin working with Alabama Power on a “speculative building” to offer potential industry.

* Franklin Wayne Cordery and Alfreda Washington were sworn in by Judge Wiggins as Judge and Clerk, respectively, of the new Uniontown Municipal Court.