The Barling Board of Directors appointed at-large director Wally Gattis as mayor during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Gattis will serve out the unexpired term of late Mayor Jerry Barling, which ends Dec. 31. Barling died Oct. 5 at age 73.

Barling City Administrator Mike Tanner said according to state statute, in the case of a vacancy in the office of mayor or of a member of the board of directors, the board, at the first regular meeting after the occurrence of the vacancy and by majority vote, will appoint a person or call for a special election to be held to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. Gattis was nominated for the mayor position, and then approved by the board of directors by secret ballot.

"I'll do my best as we, and I repeat, as we lead this city into the future," Gattis said. "We have a good board, we have a good team. We've got a lot of doors that we can open. I've been living in this city for 54 years. ... In the first 20 years, I've seen very, very little growth in our city. In the last three to five years, we accomplished a lot of things. ... We've got a good team, and as long as we work as a team, we will win. I know that."

Gattis was sworn into the mayor position by Florene Brown, Barling city clerk/court clerk. The board of directors unanimously elected Gattis vice mayor during its regular meeting July 24.

Filling the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term of Gattis' previous position, the director at-large position 5 seat, will be discussed during the next Barling Board of Directors meeting Nov. 13. That term also ends Dec. 31.