By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland City Council will have a new look after a meeting on Tuesday, May 16 as three councilmembers were sworn in, while two others said goodbye.

The results of the May 6 city election showed Velda Parker, Will Watson and George Pierson received the top three vote totals for the three at-large positions.

There were seven candidates on the ballot for the open council seats. Incumbents Emilie Cunningham, Wanda Nichols and Velda Parker signed up to run, but only Parker was successful in her quest to retain her seat on the council.

Once the ballots were counted, the results showed: Parker with 97 votes; Watson with 94; Pierson with 76; Nichols with 71 votes; Cunningham with 62; Linda Reed with 49; and Don Hickman with 34.

As the meeting got underway, Grapeland Mayor Balis Dailey thanked both Nichols and Cunningham for their service to the City of Grapeland and requested the two council members to join him at the front of the meeting room for a presentation.  

“These are the traditional plaques that come from all the city council and all the employees. We are so thankful for your service,” Dailey said.

The two out-going councilmembers were also presented with Certificates of Appreciation which honored their contributions while serving on the Grapeland City Council.

Following the presentations, the new council members were sworn in. Dailey administered the three incoming council members the anti-bribery oath along with the oath of office for city council. Once the two oaths had been administered, the three city leaders were seated at the council table.

Parker had previously served as an elected member and was appointed to her current council position when Councilman Jimmy Moffett resigned.

Pierson also brings a wealth of experience to the council chambers. He had previously served on the council and then served several terms as mayor until he decided not to seek re-election.

Watson will be a fresh face on the council as this is his first foray into the Grapeland political scene. He is employed as an educator at Grapeland ISD and has remarked he hopes to bring “… a fresh set of eyes and ideas to the council.”

After the council members were sworn in, the only other item addressed in the meeting was the selection of the mayor pro-tem. However, the item was tabled for future consideration. With no further business the meeting was adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.