Patrick Graham is the owner of The Walton Tribune, The Covington News, The Sand Mountain Reporter (Albertville, Alabama), Times-Journal (Fort Payne, Alabama) and Jackson County Sentinel (Scottsboro, Alabama). He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Mark Moore

Mark Moore takes the oath of office as mayor on Thursday night, Jan. 9, 2020, in Walnut Grove, Ga.

One of the things I loved about coming back to Monroe in August 2014 was how, as the old saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same.

I had been out of the market for five years, but it didn’t matter. I was able to pick right up where I had left off because all the players in town were still the same.

From business owners and operators to city officials to county officials to members of law enforcement to school officials to chamber leaders to friends who were part of each of these various groups and more, everyone was still in place. It was incredibly beneficial to me, as a new business owner, to still have all these people in my cell phone and be able to immediately pick up where we had left off.

Sometimes, however, the more things change the more things change. We are going to all find out about that in this new year.

For example, for the first time this century, and first time since I’ve been in Walton County, there will be a new chairman of the Board of Commissioners. Longtime Chairman Kevin Little has already announced he will not seek another term, which means someone new will be leading the county for the first time in decades.

What will that look like? Will the position stay full-time or become part-time? How will this important change in leadership impact approach to government? To taxes?

These are all questions we won’t have the answers to until voters decide who is going be the new chairman. We’ll find out soon enough with the primaries and general election are just around the corner now.

Other changes, however, we do know.

For the first time, well, in who knows how long, there will not be a Dally in public office in Social Circle.

Incumbents Hal Dally lost his bid for mayor, while his son, Patrick, lost his race for school board. David Keener, previously on the council, and Steve Trantham, a political newcomer, now step up the plate.

Walnut Grove has a new mayor, Mark Moore, who replaces retired mayor Lamar Lee, after a hard fought political battle for the city’s highest office.

Longtime Loganville City Councilman Skip Baliles did not seek a return to office, and has been replaced by another political newcomer, Bill Duvall.

Monroe’s leadership changes occurred in the last election cycle, but are still in play in terms of how they will impact 2020.

These types of changes in leadership are sure to mean changes in philosophy and direction as a result.

Stay tuned.