Video: Taylor New Columbus Vice Mayor

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Ward 1 Columbus City Councilman Gene Taylor is the city’s new vice mayor but only for a year.

The vice mayor stands in for Mayor Robert Smith when he is absent but usually serves for four years. The council changed that tonight as part of a behind-the-scenes deal to possibly open the spot up to others in the future.

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Before electing Taylor in a 5-1 vote, the council rejected 4-2 along racial lines a motion to rename Bill Gavin to the position he held the previous four years.

Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem was the lone vote against Taylor. Karriem had wanted the post.

New Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner, who also sought the appointment, made the motion to make the position a one-year appointment.

The council also reappointed city attorney Jeff Turnage and city judges Nicole Clinkscales and Marc Amos. All three votes were unanimous. But they replaced city prosecutor Shane Tompkins with Columbus attorney Scott Colom, who originally sought the city attorney’s position.

The council also decided to take proposals from firms rather than reappointing Neel- Schaffer Inc. as city engineers. Neel-Schaffer can apply along with other companies.

And in a surprise move, they created a new project manager position to oversee engineering and hired J5 Broaddus, a company owned by Columbus insurance agent Jabari Edwards for the position.