LifePoint Baptist Church Pastor and KXYL news director Leland Acker officially joined the Early City Council following a swearing in ceremony last Tuesday.

Acker replaces B.J. McCullough, who will retire from public office after 17 years on the city council.

“Because of my position on the radio, I can’t go through a contested election cycle or that sort of thing,” McCullough said. “It would not be fair as far as the election would go. I’ve always been ready and willing to serve the city in anyway possible, from serving on the ambassador club with the Early Chamber of Commerce to little special assignments that Tony (Aaron, city administrator) has called upon me to do from time to time. When the filing period came up this past spring I followed what was going on. I found out two of the councilmen were running for re-election, but Mr. McCullough was not going to seek re-election so I looked to see if there was anyone who wanted to fill his spot and no one stepped forward.”

Acker said once his term ends in 2020 he could run to retain his seat and stay within FCC guidelines. However, should a challenger emerge, Acker said he would leave it up to the citizens to decide whether they want to retain his services.

“When Early doesn’t want me to serve anymore, then I will appreciate the time that I had,” Acker said. “This is not the start of a political career or dynasty or anything like that … Right now, in the city of Early, we’re having some pretty exciting things happening. We have a lot of developers looking at the city. A lot of businesses looking at opening up locations here. The city is growing and we have housing coming in that is bringing more people to our community. A lot is happening here and you really want people on the city council that foster that environment that makes for developers business owners and residents.”

Shortly after officially swearing in Acker, the Early City Council then turned its attention to outgoing Councilman McCullough, who received an award from the city for his decades of service to Early that includes being a charter member of the Early Volunteer Fire Department and as a teacher and principal for Early ISD. He attributed old age and wanting to spend time with his family for his main motivation for stepping away from a legacy of family service. He was a charter member of the Early Volunteer Fire Department and his father, W.R. McCullough, served on Early’s first city council. He worked for Early ISD as a teacher and administrator and felt it was his duty to give back to the city that took him in after his family home in Comanche burnt down when he was 5 years old.

“I came to the Brownwood area in about 1940 or 41 because our house burned on our farm and we had nothing left,” McCullough said. “The clothes on our backs is what we got out with. Fortunately, no lives were lost, but there were no jobs or anything. My dad came to Brownwood to find work and we move shortly after. It has been quite a ride.”

McCullough turns 84 years old in September and with Early experiencing such a high tide in business and realestate development, he thought now was the right time to step away and give his seat to the next generation of leaders.

“It’s been a long time. I don’t feel I am physically able to keep up with it,” McCullough said. “It’s moving rather fast and after 17 years I think it’s time someone else helped out a little … I am pleased with the young man that is going to sit in my chair. I tried to be sure whoever is elected to the council is someone who is truly interested in the city and not someone with an axe to grind and, so far, we have a pretty good group.”