CAIRO — This week ushers in a sea change to Cairo’s city leadership team.

Cairo’s new mayor and five new members of its City Council will be sworn in at the Alexander County Courthouse on Wednesday morning by Circuit Court Judge Jeff Farris.

Mayor-elect Thomas Simpson said he’s already been working on a plan to better maintain the city's sewer and stormwater draining systems. He has also started searching for grant funding to replace aging sump pumps and developing a schedule for routine maintenance. 

“We’re going to move forward, and you’ll start seeing the change,” he said. Simpson, a longtime employee of Cairo Public Utility and past Council member, cautioned that it will take time to implement his visions given the many needs facing the town, and encouraged citizens to get involved in helping to build a more prosperous Cairo.

‘It doesn’t matter who you voted for," he said. "It’s about coming together." 

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Simpson narrowly won the mayor’s seat in a four-way race on April 2 that also included two-term incumbent Mayor Tyrone Coleman, At-Large Councilwoman Connie Williams, and beauty salon operator Kim Davis. Simpson bested Davis by five votes. Coleman placed third, and Williams came in fourth. 

The five new incoming council members being sworn into office are: Thomas Burris (Commissioner-at-Large); Rodney Moore (Ward 1); Anthony Brown (Ward 2); Ronald Harris (Ward 3); and Wesley Purchase (Ward 5).

Ward 4 Councilman Danny Brown is the only incumbent who was re-elected. He’ll also be sworn in for a new term on Wednesday.

In recent past election years, the changing of the guard has taken place during the Council’s first regularly scheduled board meeting in May. The Council meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, so that would have been May 14. But Simpson said city ordinance allows for the transition to take place May 1. A judge will swear in the new officeholders at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday at the Alexander County Courthouse.

“It’s a new era for the city of Cairo,” Simpson said. 

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On Twitter: @MollyParkerSI ​



Molly Parker is general assignment and investigative projects reporter for The Southern Illinoisan.

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