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Mayor gets Delta invite

Griffin Pritchard / Editor

Gov. Bob Riley considers Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson one of the state’s “advanced leaders.”

He even sent her a letter telling her so.

“This is an excellent opportunity for you to showcase you many talents as well as make a significant contribution to the many diverse issues that face this area,” Riley said to Williamson through the letter.

The governor also sent Williamson an invitation to take part in a leadership development course, known as the Delta Leadership Institute and is sponsored by the Delta Regional Authority.

“I see the city of Demopolis earning this invitation,” said Williamson. “I’m just the one that gets to go to the classes because I’m its Mayor.”

“It’s really good for the city,” said Williamson. “It’s going to get the city out of just the Black Belt. Delta Regional funding helped fund the Alabama Southern Building. It’s an opportunity for the city of Demopolis to be in this leadership class and help get our name out as a progressive city.”

According to a release from the University of Alabama’s Continuing Studies program, “the Delta Leadership Institute is a year-long developmental program for current and emerging regional leaders desiring to prepare themselves to meet the challenges in the 21st Century.”

The program is effectively broken down into six classes that are two-days each over the course of a year.

“To have this kind of opportunity kind of puts you at the head of the line when you have a project,” said Williamson. “And that’s good for the city. It moves the name of Demopolis out into the south. It says a lot about the city’s desire and dream to be better and the economic ability to improve and partner with other cities that are progressive.”

The initial cost of this program was $2,000. That was an offer Williamson turned down eight months ago so the taxpayers wouldn’t have to spend any taxpayer money.

“I just couldn’t ask the city to fund for this,” said Williamson. “I didn’t feel like I could ask them to do that. I held firm and have gotten this scholarshipped through ADECA. I stood my ground and they are going to fund it. I’m real pleased about that.”