Town of Bishop doyenne Nedra Johnson has retired from publicservice after having worked in local government since 1985.
Johnson got her start in city government as a clerk taking the minutes and paying the bills for the Bishop Town Council. Five years later, Johnson became mayor. The most challenging part for Johnson was being accepted as afemale mayor.
“I was treated with the most respect, but I heard later that some of the council said, ‘Oh Lord, we got a woman. Let’s see what happens,’” Johnson said.
Johnson wasn’t the first female mayor of Bishop. There was one in the 1940s, but she accidently burned down the depot while cleaning it, and Johnson joked that some of the men who commented about her becoming mayor may have been thinking about that incident.
As mayor, Johnson isproud of getting zoning regulations implemented.
“When I took over as mayor, there was no zoning in Bishop at all … and with the council’s help and with a lawyer’s help, we got the zoning regulations set up for the first time,” Johnson said.
Another accomplishment for Johnson was having a hand in getting a book on the history of Bishop written.
The Council paid Celestea Gentry Sharp to write “Bishop, Georgia: The Ancient Roots, Rich History and Enduring Spirit of a Southern Crossroads Community.” It was first published in 1996 and has since been through two reprintings, Johnson said.
“Our history is preserved in writing,” shesaid. “The town may disappear one structure at a time, but it’s written history will be there, and I’m proud of that.”