The Wiggins Board of Aldermen appointed Darryl Berry as the Interim Mayor at Tuesday’s meeting, making him the first Black mayor in Wiggins’ history.
Berry said he is honored to serve in his new position for the next five months.
“It really means a lot,” Berry said. “By them appointing me, it shows that our city is moving forward. With all of (the race-related issues) going on in the world today … for them to unanimously appoint me, it speaks a lot about our city,” Berry said.
Berry has served as Mayor Pro Temp since Mayor Joel Miles was hospitalized in November.
Since Miles passed away within six months of the municipal election, Wiggins is required to appoint an interim mayor to serve out the rest of the term instead of having a special election.
The Board of Alderman unanimously chose Berry as Miles’ successor.
Alderman Ron Dyal was the first to speak up.
“I think we should honor Joel’s legacy by keeping you in the job,” Dyal said. “You’re doing a good job.”
Alderwoman Mary Frances Carson agreed that Berry has done a good job so far.
Carson said Mayor Miles appointed Berry as mayor pro temp for a reason.
“I think Joel would have wanted that,” Carson said.
The board also agreed to pay Berry half of the mayoral salary for the next five months to compensate for the extra workload.
As required, Berry resigned as Ward 1 alderman before accepting his appointment as interim mayor.
The board will also have to appoint an interim alderman for Ward 1 to replace Berry until the general election in June.
Potential candidates can already begin qualifying to run for aldermen seats now.
Berry said he is considering running for mayor in the upcoming election.
He has served as Ward 1 alderman since 2001. Before joining the board, he worked in the city’s Public Works department for more than a decade.
“I haven’t really made my mind up yet, but I’m leaning that way,” Berry said.