Rick Phelps sworn in Friday as mayor of Bangs

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Outgoing Bangs Mayor Eric Bishop (left) swears in his successor, Rick Phelps, who stands next to his wife, Beth, in the Bangs City Council chambers Friday morning.
Rick Phelps (left) and Eric Bishop talk to the media a few minutes before Bishop swore in Phelps as Bangs mayor Friday morning.

BANGS — The City of Bangs welcomed Rick Phelps as its first new mayor in 10 years as well as two new council members Friday morning at Bangs City Hall.

In his final official acts, outgoing Mayor Eric Bishop swore in the 45-year-old Phelps — Army veteran, former news media employee and longtime city council member — as his successor. 

Bishop, who presided over the ceremony in a crowded Bangs City Council chambers, also swore in Greggory Cassady and Greg Flores as new council members.

On Tuesday, Anita Purcell was sworn in to fill Phelps' unexpired Bangs City Council term.

The city also has a new city secretary, Tonya Slate.

Before Friday's swearing-in ceremony began, Bangs City Hall was re-opened to the public for the first time in more than a year.

"I feel like God put me in this position, and I'm going to do absolutely the best I can," Phelps said to an audience that included his wife, Beth, and other family members, law enforcement officers, city and county officials and his pastor from Victory Life Church, Craig Smee. Phelps serves as the community pastor at the church.

Phelps then presented a plaque to Bishop, who was elected to the Bangs City Council in 2010 before becoming mayor a year later.

Minutes before being sworn in, Phelps said, who ran unopposed for may in the May 1 election, said, "I think a lot of good things were set into place already, so I'm falling into a good situation.

"I'm pretty excited about what's going on. We've got a new city secretary. We've got three new council members. We've got a really good start. I'm just excited to see where we can take it from here."

Phelps, who is from Missouri, served various council terms beginning in 2011 and was the first councilman to serve under Bishop as mayor pro tem. Phelps said he and Bishop had been "talking for awhile" about Phelps running for mayor.

"I prayed about it for quite awhile, thought about it," Phelps said. "We sat and had some good talks. I felt completely at peace and that I could really benefit the city. This just seemed like a natural fit. We have a lot of good people, and things can continue to grow, continue to improve, and make this even more of a community that people can continue to be proud of."

Bishop said, "The things we've done will speak for themselves. We couldn't be turning it over to more able hands. I've waited four years for this."

Bishop recalled the Bangs City Council election in 2017, when he did not plan to seek re-election and hoped Phelps would run for mayor. But when Phelps decided against a mayoral run that year, Bishop filed for re-election.