by Lynn Hamric 

This is the first in a series of articles on your city and elected officials. 

In the event you are new to Centreville I’m prefacing this interview with a bit of data you may find interesting. 

Centreville was founded in 1829 on the banks of the beautiful Cahaba River.  The square around the courthouse was built in 1902 with the courthouse as the centerpiece.  While this building has undergone several renovations and an addition, efforts have been made to maintain and preserve the historic integrity.  The Confederate Monument, dedicated in 1920 by the Leonard Callaway Pratt Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy stands on the front lawn along with a memorial to WWII Medal of Honor recipient Ross F. Gray. 

Centreville has a population of 2,800 residents per the 2020 US Census Bureau.  Demographically this equates to: White – 60.53%, Black or African American – 35.08%, Two or more races – 2.16% and Asian – 1.62%.  The city is governed by a mayor and five council members.  In 2023 Centreville was ranked in the top 25 places to retire in the state. 

I’ll be bringing you more interesting facts with each spotlight. 

Don Anthony Mack, Sr. 

Centreville City Council Member 

District 2 

Don has been married to Priseilla for 43 years and they have one son, Don Anthony Mack, Jr. , who is married to Cristeen Dopson. Don is a lifelong resident who made a commitment early on to work for the betterment of his community and has applied himself well. 

Retirement did not sit well with Don and he sought a way to, in a sense, serve and protect.  He is currently a bus driver for the Bibb County Board of Education. Taking this job very seriously, Don does his best to ensure the safety of each student on his route and gets to know each personally.  

No stranger to politics, Don has served for over 40 years as a representative of District #2, an area with approximately 320 citizens and includes all of Uptown (Centreville Baptist Church and City Hall).   Before I delve into the interview questions, you should know that Don also served 12 years on the Centreville Water Board and was employed by the Water Department working alongside our beloved Mose N. Cottingham.  I was touched when Don told me that he has never enters a city council meeting without stopping to pray outside. 

I asked Don if he could remember the various mayors with whom he served and he gladly walked down memory lane.  He recalled Mike Hobson (4 yrs); Dalton Murphy (8 yrs); Debbie Martin (8 yrs); Tommy Bamberg (4 yrs); Terry Morton (4 yrs); and Mike Oakley (2020-present).  Mike will serve a five (5) year term, as will all mayors in AL, due to a change at the state level. 


You might ask yourself why anyone would want to serve this number of years and alongside this many mayors.  I asked Don just that and several other questions about the various departments the Mayor and Council oversee.  I trust as you read through this you will sense the devotion and earnestness with which this council member serves. 

“The day I decided to run for office I knew that other cities and town council members had several contacts in their council districts that were called community leaders.   These community leaders are a vibrant part of knowing what is on the citizens minds and how they would like to see their city blossom.  Not only that, if a problem is happening in the community, it is always brought to my attention to present to the city council.  If a tree falls, a house catches on fire, the community leader always has a team to help out before the official help comes and they stay afterwards.  I’ve had community leaders from day one in District two.  There have always been four community leaders in my district.  Several have passed away but there has always been someone to step up and serve in those positions.” 

Deceased Community Leaders: 

H.C. Abercrombie 

Leroy Heard 

Sam Deviner 

Michael Johnson 

Richard Hill 

Current Community Leaders: 

J.C. Chism 

Rickey Heard 

John Kraph 

Larry Abercrombie 

I asked Councilman Mack for one specific benefit of having community leaders.  “It’s something I’ve always been proud of.  We know that many ideas are talked about at home, cookouts, family reunions, church outings, etc.  Some may not be a favorite but they may be better ideas for the city.  I bring these to the council meetings for discussion and possible action.  I’ve never asked any other council member to do as I do but…’don’t mess with district two and our positive vibes with each other’.” 

We know there are many moving parts to running a city, regardless of the size.  What do you think makes Centreville run smoothly?   “The city vibes are set by the City Council and Mayor, as to which direction they want the city to proceed.  When this is discussed and amended by this group of elected officials then it’s important (as Nick Saban says) that each department head buy into what the administration has proclaimed for the city.  If this doesn’t happen it won’t stop the process or direction, but it puts a few bumps in the road for the Mayor and City Council to negotiate in order to succeed on their own on behalf of the citizens.  An old church song I love says, ‘When We All Get Together’.  Centreville has always been blessed with great opportunities and great citizens with love for the city.” 

We discussed an extremely important department to every citizen, the Centreville Volunteer Fire Department.  Don told me that when he came on the council the fire department was housed in what is now the building the street department uses and the Water & Sewer Department Head lives.  He vividly remembers the 1975 Chevrolet Fire Truck and a second old one that would not run.  Tommy Bamberg was the Fire Chief followed by Mickey Barton.  Don bragged about the new Fire Department building that currently also houses our Ambulance Service.  We have a large, young group of volunteers who are very forward thinking.  They have a strong desire to work together to improve and expand their abilities.”  Don encourages anyone interested in being involved with this extremely important group to contact city hall and make that desire known.  Bibb County is extremely fortunate in that all our volunteer fire departments work together when needed.  Because of the close proximity to Brent, their volunteers often cover for Centreville as many of these men work out-of-town during the day. 

Moving on to the City Police Department, Don remembers working with Chiefs Milton Adams, Mike Nichols and currently Rodney Smith.  We recognize an increase in the number of officers along with some state-of-the-art equipment.  Our society has significantly changed over the years and consequently necessitates the use of equipment such as body cams and auto cameras that protect both the officers as well as the citizens.  The need for patrols and response to accidents, etc. requires more officers than our budget normally can afford.  Some equipment purchases and payroll time is paid for by grants secured by Chief Smith.  We are fortunate to have this avenue for supplement and the ability to secure these grants.  “The police department is the catalyst for the city.  It sets the temperament of the city.  De-escalation is the tool to stop law suits.  All cities are facing increased police/citizen interaction and how these are handled is paramount to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere.  It is the responsibility of the Mayor and Police Chief to ensure safety, security and a peaceful place to reside.” 

The afternoon of this interview the temperature had been hovering around 100 degrees for several days.  There is one small department the city depends on to ensure citizens as well as visitors see our town in the best light possible, the Centreville Street Department.  This three-man (full-time) team with some summer help, has the responsibility of keeping the grass mowed and limbs trimmed on all city streets.  You may think this is an easy task until you realize the number of miles and streets within the city limits.  This department also assists the Water and Sewer Department when a line breaks or a major repair is required.  “The Street Department currently has adequate equipment for safe execution of work on a higher level.  A sufficient job is being done on all our streets.”  Any time there is an event the street department is responsible for blocking off streets, handling the garbage, and anything else that is required.  Your insect control (spray truck) falls under this department.  Rain or shine, hot or cold this department is on call and responds. 

Centreville Water & Sewer Department is responsible for thousands of feet of water and sewer lines, both residential and commercial.  We infrequently stop to think about where our water comes from or how it is being delivered, much less the disposal of sewage.  The men in this department know firsthand about each.  Don stated, “We need to work for constantly improving customer relations and infrastructure updates.”   

“The city has a Water Board responsible for setting water rates on the advice of the city clerk and auditors.  The members of this board receive compensation on a per meeting basis and complete ethics forms as required.”  According to the Centreville Web Page Morgan Jones and Rebecca Abecrombie are Clerks in this department. 

Water board Members
Jerome Chism, Chair 

Josh Colburn 

Beth Downs 

Linda Lawrence 

Kent Watkins 

The last department we briefly discussed was the Zoning Board of Adjustments.  This board operates at the request of the Major.  This board does not receive compensation and is required to file ethics papers also. 

Board Members 

Beth Downs 

Tammy Wallace  

Justin Sanders 

Brad Colburn 

Pennie Mitchell 

“When a request to change the designation (residential to commercial, etc.) of a location is made, it is made to this board and their recommendation is then forwarded to the city council for review and decision. “ 

There are Zoning Ordinances adopted by the council that went into effect in 2014. A copy may be obtained at city hall. 

I asked about the annual budget and Mr. Mack advised that in mid-July there is a work session where proposed budget(s), by department, are reviewed.  The City Clerk along with the auditors make recommendations to the council.  The city council sets the annual budget. 

I hope you have learned not only something about Councilman Don Mack but your city operations as well.  Watch for the next installment.