MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 23, 2013

A changing of the guard at FG

Town gets new mayor, two new trustees

— FORT GIBSON — Brad Clinkenbeard took the helm Monday night as the mayor of Fort Gibson, and Myra Cookson became the vice mayor.

The Board of Trustees also welcomed new members Chad Nail and T.J. Ellis.

Nail and Ellis replace Trustee Jim Huggins and former Mayor Steven Hill, respectively.

Clinkenbeard, who manages Rural Water District 7, and Cookson, who keeps payroll for Fort Gibson Public Schools, settled into their duties immediately.

Ellis, a financial adviser, nominated Clinkenbeard because of his six years on the board.

“While he’s been here he’s just done an outstanding job,” Ellis said. “He’s got experience and great leadership.”

Nail, who owns Fort Gibson Tire and Wheel, said Clinkenbeard had his full support.

“He’s confident,” Nail said. “He’s a good man, and I know he’s going to do a good job.”

That new job includes signing documents and running board meetings.

Clinkenbeard said that in terms of power, the office is “largely ceremonial.”

“The mayor has the same authority as the rest of the board,” he said. “It’s mostly a figurehead position.”

He said that he did not expect the appointment but was honored to get it.

“When we came in here, I just wanted to let the chips fall as they may,” he said. “I’m proud of my nomination.”

Clinkenbeard said he hoped the board can relax spending, now that a bevy of developments have been made in Fort Gibson over the past six years with more near fruition.

“I’m looking forward to the sports complex, and opening the new splash pad across from the post office. We’ve already redone the sewer plant, completed the downtown enhancement project,” he said. “Now I think it’s time to sit back and enjoy the improvements while the coffers fill up.”

Cookson considers those achievements her favorite part of her job as a board member.

“I’ve enjoyed making the best decisions I can for the town good,” she said. “I wanted that when I first ran, and I feel I’ve been able to do that.”

Clinkenbeard echoed her sentiments.

“The most satisfying thing for me in six years has been the progress we’ve made for the community,” he said.

Even as they prepare to enjoy the fruits of their labor, Clinkenbeard said the board was happy to have Ellis and Nail join in the task of managing Fort Gibson.

“It’s exciting with new blood,” he said. “Everybody that comes on brings something unique, something they can bring to the town. With Mr. Ellis’ financial background and Mr. Nail’s background in business and construction, it should be satisfying to have them here.”

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