Both Hanna and Moray will complete the terms of their council predecessors. The terms end Dec. 31, 2022.
Local business owner Tim Moray was appointed to an interim post on the five-member council during a special Jan. 6 meeting. His selection comes on the heels of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ appointment of Jessica Hanna to fill another seat on the town council, which had been reduced to three members following a shake-up in the town’s government that began with the death of 73-year-old Mayor David McQueen in November.
Following McQueen’s death on Nov. 20, the panel chose member Joe Lee to be interim mayor, leaving the council with just four members. Before the council could replace Lee, Alderman David McGregor resigned on Dec. 14, citing personal reasons. That left the panel with only three members.
The two new appointments followed a dizzying series of events that prompted the postponement of council meetings and temporarily stalled a council vote on the government’s 2022 budget.
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A meeting to name Lee’s replacement was scheduled for Dec. 16 but was delayed to the following week. An illness in the family of one of the remaining council members left the panel without a forum and forced cancellation of that meeting.
Under state law, the council had until Dec. 28 to name Lee’s replacement before the decision was passed on to the governor. Because the council was unable to meet the deadline, Edwards on Jan. 4 named Hanna to fill Lee’s unexpired term.
Hanna was among the four council members tasked with choosing McGregor’s replacement at Thursday’s special meeting. Several Pearl River citizens expressed interest in the position.
“I think everyone (who applied) is deserving of this position,” Lee said. “This is a great group of people.” Moray, 59, was nominated, with two council members supporting the nomination and two opposed. By prearranged agreement, Lee was tasked with breaking the tie in the event of a split vote. Lee sided with the appointment of Moray, who is married with two children and owns and operates a local plumbing business.
Hanna, 41, is a niece of former Mayor McQueen. She is married with four children and works as a property and project manager. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work for the people of Pearl River,” she said. Both Moray and Hanna are first time political office holders.
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