Longstreet: Job is part of long-standing desire to serve

Eddie Longstreet at his church in West Point.
Staff Writer

The man who will move into West Point City Hall next week as interim city clerk is no stranger to public service and to many Clay County residents.

Eddie Longstreet has been pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church for almost 30 years, was a field representative for former Congressman Travis Childers, and has run unsuccessfully for office three times, first for selectman in the early 1990s and most recently almost six years ago for the District 36 state House seat .

The 54-year-old says his desire for public service began when he was 9-years-old and hasn't waned.

"I knew from an early age ...it's just a natural for me, a pure passion," Longstreet said of the history behind his latest stab at working in government.

"West Point has been a blessing to me and my family and I cherish the opportunity to give something back to it. That's what motivates me," continued Longstreet, who plans to apply for the permanent position.

He'll start work Tuesday, holding the title "interim" while city leaders advertise for a permanent clerk and then an assistant clerk to handle human resources and payroll responsibilities. Both the clerk's duties and the human resources responsibilities are being handled by veteran City Clerk Delores Doss, who is retiring at the end of this week.
Doss will come on as needed to train Longstreet and a new clerk should he not get the permanent position.

The $40,000 salary is close to what the city would pay a starting city clerk. Interestingly, county supervisors make $40,400. Their salaries are set by statute based on the assessed value of property in the county.

He says he sees his role as a minister as an asset, rather than a conflict, giving him an additional link to the pulse of the community.

"The clerk's job is being a liaison with the people. Being a pastor only adds to that," he explained.

Hiring a local minister is nothing new for the city. Former Police Chief Tim Brinkley is a local minister and City Attorney Orlando Richmond also is a minister.

Some have whispered Longstreet's appointment is a political payback for his help in returning Jasper Pittman to the Ward 5 seat on the Board of Selectmen. Longstreet rejected that as idle political talk that's not uncommon at all levels of government.

"I think the selectmen were looking for a skill set, the kind of skill set I've acquired during the different phases of my career and the kind of commitment I have to improving the quality of life in the community. If I help people or someone, I do it because I want to or they need it, not because I expect something or am trading for something in return," stated Longstreet, who lives in Keith McBrayer's Ward 4 and not in Pittman's ward.

McBrayer also voted to make Longstreet interim clerk, along with Ward 2 Selectman William Binder.

Longstreet offers a simple approach to what he calls a "new opportunity to serve...I am going in with an open heart to learn."

And he diplomatically stayed away from any talk of what appears to be a 3-2 coalition on the board.

"I support all the selectmen and want to work with everyone in City Hall and the community to continue the smooth flow of services," he concluded.