It was a fun, celebratory atmosphere! Albany gathered to say thank you to the legendary City Commissioner and current Mayor Pro Tem, Tommie Postell. Thank you for 15 years of service as City Commissioner and many more in the school system of Dougherty County. As the “lion” prepares to pass the torch to a new generation, folks from all facets of his service and life were at the Government Center on Thursday evening, September 24, 2019, to laugh, tell stories of their times with Commissioner Postell and to applaud his lifelong commitment to the people of Albany. The place was filled with comrades from the Dougherty County School System, state government, city and county government, fellow church members, family and, of course, his beloved Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Brothers.
As they came, one by one, over a period of about 2 hours to talk about their memories, each time The Legend would raise his fist in triumph. He came to the commission a proud man and he is leaving in the same manner. They came with stories of marching during the Albany Civil Rights Movement, to his uncompromising insistence on discipline, respect and learning in the schools to his description as a ‘bulldog’ in getting things done for the least among us on the city commission.
Commissioner Jon Howard, who served for the entire period of Mayor Pro Tem Postell’s time on the commission, said that, “he was a fighter and did not compromise. He was always willing to enlighten the commission on matters that sometimes he alone was familiar with, especially the Civil Rights Movement. He was a warrior.” Some other terms used during the evening to describe him were: “He was determined, tough, unapologetic and kept us honest.”
Pastor Edward J. Heath, formerly of the Albany Police Department and current Pastor of Mt. Hebron Baptist Church, talked about service to the community and proposed that “in his honor, the City of Albany should name the walking park on MLK, Jr. Drive at the site of the old Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School for Commissioner Postell. Mr. Postell was responsible for so many good things that happened around the city including this park.” When asked, many of those present agreed.
Another part of the commissioner’s life that received a lot of jabs was his ever-present place at the House of Jazz. It was where he mixed with citizens from many walks of life. It was the place where he would unwind on Friday nights. The place where he worked on his strategy for the next commission meeting.
Former School Superintendent John Culbreth put it best when he said, “Postell was like the old Frank Sinatra song, he did it his way.” Hats off to you Commissioner and thank you for your fortitude and commitment. You had spine!