At a called meeting on Friday morning, Mayor Wayne Gross, District 3 council member Ivan Poe and town clerk Marcy Brown announced resignation from their respective positions — taking the total of Parrish officials who have resigned this week to four following the resignation of magistrate Diane Langley on Tuesday.
Gross, who was in his second term as the town’s mayor, was originally elected to the post in 2008 and helped lead the community from a town plagued by a high crime rate and fierce internal squabbles to a model for small municipalities across the state. During his tenure, Governor Robert Bentley made the first gubernatorial visit to Parrish and the community also received its first visit from United States Sen. Jeff Sessions — both who lauded the progress the town had made. United States Rep. Robert Aderholt was also a frequent visitor to the town, as were State Sen. Greg Reed and Rep. Richard Baughn. Gross’ administration also saw the creation and opening of Parrish Municipal Park and splash pad, a new library and resource center and several other projects that enhanced the viability of Parrish as a business community.
He announced he was resigning due to health and family issues. The council voted unanimously to accept his resignation.
“I want to thank everyone in our community for the opportunity to serve as Parrish’s mayor since 2008. If I can be of help in the future, I urge the town of Parrish to contact me,” Gross said.
Reed and Aderholt commended Gross’ leadership and character throughout his tenure — referring to him as a “strong example for mayor everywhere.”
“Mayor Gross is a dedicated public servant, whose enthusiasm and leadership brought new life to the Town of Parrish,” Aderholt said. “His commitment to Parrish, Walker Country and the entire State of Alabama is second to none. It has been a pleasure working with Wayne over the years and my thoughts and prayers are with him as he focuses on his health.”
“Wayne is a fantastic person and a personal friend of mine — I have great respect for his efforts as mayor of Parrish,” Reed said. “Under his leadership and that of the town council, they’ve made great strides in moving their community forward. I know all of the citizens of Parrish are proud of the accomplishments that they have made as has been noted by many state and federal officials. Wayne had such a love of the town of Parrish and had a livelihood because of the citizens of the community long before he was involved in public service. I certainly wish him the best in pursuits and would like the citizens of Parrish to know I will be supportive of them in anything they do.”
Poe, who served in his capacity for a few months of the previous term and was elected to the District 4 seat last year, cited ongoing heath problems for his reason for resignation. His resignation was accepted unanimously.
“Ivan stepped in at a time when we needed him at did a great job in leading District 3,” Mayor Pro Tem Cedrick Ramsey said. “We’re going to miss what he brought to this community.”
Brown accepted the city clerk’s position at Dora on Tuesday after eight years as Parrish’s clerk.
Highly recognized by officials across the state for her accuracy, thoroughness and as an ambassador for the town, Brown was credited for securing many of Parrish’s grants for improvements and projects.
“I had mixed feelings about accepting the position at Dora. I love Parrish — I live here and I have watched Parrish come from very dark times to become a flourishing town full of hope and potential,” Brown said during her emotional announcement. “I have been given the opportunity to further my career — it was a difficult decision as my co-workers are like my family. I have lived and breathed Parrish and put my heart and soul into it — I’m excited about the change, but it will be challenging to leave this community.”
Gross and many of the council members expressed their gratitude for Brown and her service to Parrish during her tenure.
“I think I speak for everyone in the town of Parrish when we say a hearty thank you to Marcy. It appeared that many times she was doing the job of three people, but she never complained and never had a drop in her demeanor,” Gross said. “The job she did was always done and done extraordinarily well. Marcy made the operation of this community run to a level of excellence we never thought possible. We wish her the best as she certainly brought the best to our town.”
Brown’s resignation was also accepted unanimously.
Ramsey will assume the seat of mayor in the wake of Gross’ resignation. Ramsey indicated that the town will post the opening of the District 3 council seat in the near future.