Mayor-elect Randy Toms drops in on City Hall

A parking spot reserved for the mayor of Warner Robins, a portrait on the wall, and an office at City Hall.

Come January 6th, all of this will belong to Randy Toms, who beat Joe Musselwhite in Tuesday night's run-off election by nearly 2-1.

The turnout was just 14.5 percent.

Toms is a former firefighter and fire department chaplain, who says he's never imagined he'd become a politician.

"This is the definition of surreal. Being down here at City Hall today, visiting with the employees down here that work so hard, it's kinda bringing it home," Toms said.

Around 11 a.m., he got a look at his new place of business and made his rounds at City Hall.

His message to employees was simple.

"I'm going to let you do your job," Toms told them. "How about that?"

Several employees said that would be "good" and "refreshing."

Toms says what he means is giving employees the freedom to do their jobs without micro-managing and telling them how to do them.

He talked about previous tension between city council and Mayor Chuck Shaheen.

"When the tension was on mayor and council, I think the employees felt like kind of a shadow, that maybe you know they weren't allowed to completely come up with ideas and do the job the way they know how to do it," Toms said. "I think there was a short period of time where there was some turmoil but it has smoothed over now."

Through his leadership, Toms says he hopes to bring a different atmosphere.

"That style that I bring to the mayor's office is not going to prohibit them from doing their jobs," Toms said. "I'm not necessarily comparing the way that I lead to the way Mayor Shaheen leads. I'm not comparing that at all. I just want them to feel free to know that I'm going to let them do their job, because I believe they're the best there is."

Current mayor Chuck Shaheen was elected to the Post 1 council seat in Tuesday's run-off election against Mike Daley.

Toms said working with a former mayor side-by-side for the next four years will be a valuable asset rather than a challenge.

As far as his plans for his first few days in office, Toms says he needs to first meet with council members to build a common vision.

"In the first hundred days, or the first year, I don't know yet what that looks like," Toms said. "Because each department head, each council member also has a vision for this city so I want to put them together in conversation and find out how they match."

Although Toms says he never expected to make the transition from a city employee to the leader of city employees, he says it's support from family and the community that have prepared him for the transition.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and on Facebook Anita Oh WMAZ.


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