Town of Sumrall




Form of Government

The Town of Sumrall follows a mayor-board of alderman form of government, also known as a “code charter”. It is used today by approximately 95 percent of Mississippi's nearly 300 municipalities.

Governing Body

Under the mayor-board of alderman form of government, the governing body is comprised of a mayor and either five or seven alderman: five if the municipality has fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, and seven if it has 10,000 or more.

Qualifications and Selection of Mayor and Alderman

The mayor and all the members of the board of alderman must be qualified electors of the municipality and must be chosen by election. The mayor is elected from the municipality at-large, while the alderman are elected either at-large, by ward, or by some combination of ward and at-large voting. (all alderman elected from and by wards must be residents of their wards) If an alderman moves from his ward, or if the mayor or an alderman elected at large moves from the municipality, the office is automatically vacated and is filled in the manner set in Code, § 23-15-857.

Powers and Duties of Mayor

The mayor is vested with the “superintending control” of all the officers and affairs of the municipality and is charged with seeing that the laws and ordinances are executed. He/She presides over all meetings of the board of aldermen (and thus recognizes its members for the purpose of making motions, speaking to motions, and so on) but is allowed to vote only in the case of a tie. The mayor has the power to veto any ordinance, resolution, or orders adopted by the board of aldermen by returning the measure to the board, together with a written statement of his/her objections to all or part of it, within ten days of its receipt.

Powers and Duties of Board

Although the mayor presides over all meetings of the board of aldermen, only members of the board may make motions and cast votes (except in cases of equal division, where the mayor may cast the deciding vote). The board of aldermen is required to elect from among its members a mayor pr tempore to preside over its meetings and otherwise serve in the place of the mayor in case of his/her “temporary absence” or “disability.” The board is required to submit all its ordinances, resolutions, and orders to the mayor for approval or veto; and in the event the mayor vetoes any measure, the board may override the veto by a vote of two-thirds of the members.

City Officials


Gerolene Rayborn

Ward 1

Shirley Barnard

Ward 2

Cecil Coulter

Ward 3

James Burnham

Ward 4

Larene (Trina) Hathorn McLendon

Alderman At-Large

Leland Lott


Gerolene Rayborn
601-758-0023 / 601-543-4957

Mayor Gerolene Rayborn lives in Sumrall with her husband. She is a 1955 graduate of Sumrall High School, where she played basketball and cheered for her school. She and her husband have one son, one granddaughter and 5 great grandchildren, which include a set of identical twins.

Mayor Rayborn spent 32 years working in the banking industry, where she received numerous certificates and completed numerous banking courses. Her retirement in 1992 gave her the opportunity to spend time with her family and do some volunteer work.

“When Mayor King resigned due to his health in 2008, several people approached me about running for his position. Prior to that, I had never dreamed of being involved in politics. After discussing it with my family and much prayer, I decided, at the last minute to throw my hat in. I had my church family in town that knew me very well. However, since I worked in Hattiesburg, lots of folks here in town, did not really know me. I promised the folks that if elected. I would do my very best by doing all that was possible to help the town and its people.

Following the election, the recount, and verification of absentee and affidavit ballets I was declared winner. I had been elected as the first female mayor in Sumrall, by only 3 votes. I ran unopposed in 2009 and again in 2013. Since my election I feel that I have done as I had promised. We have accomplished a few things, but there is so much more to be done. I pray that I will stay able to fulfill my duties for the rest of this term. I will continue to do all that I can for the people of Sumrall as promised” stated Mayor Rayborn about her choice to run for Mayor.

During her time as mayor, Gerolene Rayborn has done many things to help better the Town of Sumrall. She helped organize the acquiring and planting of roses that now line Main Street and the intersections of Highway 42 and 589 for all to enjoy as they visit our town. She has also created and was instrumental in getting donations for a coloring book about the town to help the younger generations understand the importance of the past, present and future of our small town. The Mayor is furnishing a copy of the book to all Elementary students, grade K through 5, hoping they will have fun and learn more about Sumrall. One of the numerous goals she has for the rest of her term is to continue with the effort to improve the infrastructure and appearance of the town. She hopes to do everything possible to improve the quality of life for our citizens.

About our City Officials


Shirley Barnard

Shirley Barnard resides in Sumrall with the youngest of her 4 sons.

After graduating with highest honors from JCAHS, she attended JCJC and UAB in Birmingham Alabama.

She was Projects Director and responsible for the building of the first woman's hospital at Ami Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham.

Ms. Barnard states “I was encouraged to run by my youngest sister and her husband who had been an alderman for 2 terms previously. I have always needed to stay busy and involved, even after retiring from FGH in December of 2002.

There are so many needs for our town, but I am choosing to work on boosting the economy by helping businesses locate or relocate to our town. This in turn will increase our sales tax return and help to fund some of the improvements we need.”


Cecil Coulter

Mr. Cecil Coulter has been a resident of Sumrall for 45 years. He is widowed from his wife, Betty Jean Lowery Coulter, whom he was married to for 51 years. He has one son, 2 grandchildren and 1great grandson. He has been a faithful member of New Hope Baptist Church for 52 years and served as Deacon for 40 years. He served our country by being a member of the MS National Guard for 8 years.​​​

​​​He started his career working as a laborer for Mississippi Tank Company in 1956. Through the years he progressed into a welder, fitter, supervisor, and plant manager until he retired in 2003.

A few years later he worked as the Operations Manager at Quality Manufacturing Group in Columbia.

​​​According to Mr. Coulter “I chose to run as alderman because I am always willing to serve in any way I can. I am working hard with the other aldermen to help find solutions to the drainage problem in Sumrall, to paint the existing water tank, and improve the streets.”


​​​James Burnham

James Burnham, originally from Rankin County, moved to Oak Grove in 1975. James graduated from Clarke College and the University of Southern Mississippi. James married Debra Lochridge Burnham in 1981, and they have two daughters. James began a residential costume and spec home business, Design Team, Inc., in 1991. James and his family moved to the Sumrall area in 2000. They own a construction company and a cattle farm. James is deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Sumrall. James is president of Sumrall Gridiron Club and the Lions Club.

James was asked and encouraged to run for alderman by Mrs. Shantye Parish Little. James has always found Sumrall to be a unique town, and he feels his business experience would be helpful in serving the town of Sumrall. Our town has many needs, including drainage, street repair, water, sewer, building codes, economic growth and others that we are in the process of addressing, The mayor and the alderman are working diligently to find solutions to each of these, and James feels that he would be able to contribute to the progress of Sumrall. Information provided by James Burnham.


Trina Hathorn Mclendon


Leland Lott

I live in Sumrall with my wife and family dog.

I attended and graduated from Sumrall Attendance Center and University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Real Estate and Insurance.

My wife, Diane Slade Lott, and I have been married for 46 years and have been blessed with 4 children and 12 grandchildren.

I am interested in seeing Sumrall's growth be accomplished in an orderly fashion, with its needs being met for fire protection, street improvement, sewer and water upgrades, and improvements of drainage issues.

I decided to run for the office of Alderman to help in this process. My goals for this term are to work with the Mayor and other Aldermen to help Sumrall be the very best it can be.

  • 4880 Hwy 589
    P.O. Box 247
    Sumrall, MS 39482
  • Phone:  601-758-3591
    Fax:      601-758-3581