DEMOREST - For the first time in several decades, Demorest has a new mayor.
Rick Austin, 47, took the oath of office from Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Chan Caudell during a brief ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Austin defeated long-time Mayor Malcolm Hunnicutt, who served in the position for some 35 years.
Austin is no stranger to public service, having served as a member of the Habersham County Planning Commission, Habersham County Commission and District 10 State Representative. He currently serves on the Hospital Authority of Habersham County.
He said the city council's first meeting of the year will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7.
"Appointments will be made at that point in time that I have to make," Austin said. "I want to let everybody know that it is my intention to continue to look at contracts for the city, and to make recommendations to both the staff and to the council, and we'll move forward from there."
Also taking the oath from Caudell on Thursday were new Councilman Sean Moore, 45, and returning Councilman Jerry Harkness, 28.