City Commission names Williams-Cox new mayor pro tem

Dianne Williams-Cox will spend the next year serving at mayor pro tem on the City Commission.
Photo special to the Outlook

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

Not too long ago, Dianne Williams-Cox had a different view when she walked into the chambers of City Hall.

Back then, she would stand at a podium designated for public speakers, delivering her concerns to commissioners. Nowadays Williams-Cox’s is on the dais with three other commissioners and the mayor making decisions about city government.

Her mission of representing Tallahassee’s residents remains the same, said Williams-Cox, who was elected to the commission last November.

She was elected to fill seat 5 after a run-off election.

“Now I’m on the dais it doesn’t stop me from raising hell but now I’m more informed about why things are the way they are,” said Williams-Cox. “I’m always looking for ways to make them better. Now I can be more effective because I know how to get things accomplished.”

As if to mark her one-year anniversary of being elected, Williams-Cox was named mayor pro tem at last Wednesday’s commission meeting.

She was nominated by her predecessor, Commissioner Curtis Richardson.

Her peers unanimously agreed that Williams-Cox would be the one to stand in for Mayor John Dailey if needed. Among her duties, she’ll run commission meetings at times when the mayor can’t participate in discussions or voting on an issue.

“I appreciate all of their support for me being mayor pro tem,” said Williams-Cox, who will hold the position for one year.

Richardson, who served two consecutive times in the position that’s seniority based, said Williams-Cox’s past and current advocacy for community issues made it easy for him to nominate her to become mayor pro tem.

“It was largely because Dianne has been so very involved in the community, even though she is new to the commission,” Richardson said.

“She understands many of the issues that the commission has been involved with.”

Richardson also praised the way that Williams-Cox has grasped understanding the workings of city government.  Personally, Williams-Cox said she has learned plenty in the year that she has been in office.

The state’s sunshine law that regulates when and how commissioners can meet, was one of the laws she had to learn quickly, she said. Knowing where the city’s “pressure points are” was another major achievement.

“Those types of things have helped me make decisions about what type of things I needed to support,” Williams-Cox said. “What kind of things we need to drive to make sure the citizens are getting served.”

Realizing that there is no days off as a government official was one of her ‘aha moments,” she said, especially when the calls to her cell phone are unexpected. For example, she said, the astonishing rate of shootings in the city has got her looking for answers.

“It hurts every time,” she said. “That’s somebody’s child that’s been lost or someone’s loved one has been lost. That’s two people; one goes to the jail and one goes to the grave.”

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