Thursday, September 12, 2013

Column on the council

I wrote this column for the Smyrna AM a week ago, but they were not able to print it due to scheduling and space. I submit it here for your reading pleasure.

The last time the Mayor of Smyrna resigned was in 2009. Mayor Bob Spivey, a local businessman and developer, resigned due to health in mid 2009. Vice Mayor Tony Dover stepped into the position of Mayor during what can best be called trying economic times. In the 4 years in office and during one regularly scheduled election he has lead us through tightening budgets, required layoffs, the infamous flood of 2010 and the great Miley Cyrus horror of 2013.

When Tony Dover stepped into the position of Mayor the position of vice-mayor was given to Mary Esther Reeds by a vote of the council. One thing that has not been mentioned in the articles today is that this will open a seat on the council. A seat that the council will fill.

In 2009 when the seat was opened due to Tony Dover moving into the Mayors seat they chose Marc Adkins. I'll first give you the informative facts, then the emotional reactions to this event.

Several people applied for the open seat. The Daily News Journal wrote about the many applicants for the position. At the time Carolyn Peebles, Richard Garvin Jr. Jimmy Richardson, marc Adkins and Rob White all applied and spoke of wanting to be looked at for the open position.

Already County Commissioner Robert Stevens has said online that “Local attorney Racquel Peebles has expressed an interest in applying for the vacant seat.” She is the niece of Carolyn Peebles, the applicant for the open seat on the council in 2009.

The Aug 11 2009 Town Council meeting is the one where Marc Adkins was chosen to serve out the remainder of the term for the seat over all the rest. Since then in 2010, he ran for and won the seat and has served since as a good representative of the community

A small fact that many do not know is that half of the council members graduated from Smyrna High School in the same class of 1975.
Graham actually graduated in 1975 from Smyrna High School with three members of the Smyrna BOMA including H.G. Cole, Mark Adkins and Tim Morrell.
I joked often with my wife about the old school friendly nature of the least for the class of '75.

The meeting that night did leave me a hint shocked. Sadly the videos are only stored online for one year, and I cannot afford to get a copy of the meeting to figure out the time spent deciding on Marc Adkins, but I can remember the exact words I spoke as I watched the meeting.

I had expected debate between the council member on which of the many applicants would be the best to take the seat. I figure they would have looked into the 'resumes' and such to find the most qualified. Instead it seemed that as they get a bundle of information days before the meetings to prep, that they had already decided individually. In what was to me a overly quick, with little discussion, they picked Marc Adkins and went on with the rest of the meeting.

My comment that night was "well that was damn quick!" has stuck with me.

Marc has shown in his time there that he was not a bad choice. He's served proudly, won the seat in an election since then and I cannot say anything bad about him, but the process that one night left me unimpressed with the process to pick the next council member. Either the rest of the field were all lacking in the skills needed to be on the council, or...I'm not sure what else.

The council needs good PR right now. With the layoffs of last year, the tax increase of this year, they are being viewed in a very bad light by a lot of people. They need to take an enormous amount of time and publicly address the application of each person in painful details. They need to show that they have turned over every rock, and examined every line on the application before making the first motion on whom to pick.

I was under-impressed during the last go-around, and I hope this time they do it in a more detailed manner....and please do not pick a graduate of 1975. It would start looking rather incestuous at that point if they did.


Anonymous said...

So when did Rick Wise graduate?

Gunner said...

I have not been able to find out. I really want to know myself for the sake of this column. It is a little unknown fact and statistically odd if a fourth person from the same class was on the council.

Anonymous said...

I'll say no for 2 reasons. - lists Marc Adkins as 55 years old and Rick Wise as 69 years. lists similar ages. There is a Smyrna Class of 75 facebook page that has scans of the yearbook and I didn't see him in there either.

Gunner said...

Well like I said I wrote the column last week before any candidates were official. I'm glad they have another non-'75 resident there. I just found humor at the oddity of so many on the council from the same class.

Anonymous said...

Until the council addresses the problem with the management of the town. Nothing has changed. I only see poor leadership and management.The problem with the Towm's budget lands squarely on the shoulders of Mark O'neal and trickles down from there. These kind of problems did not come over night. Ridding the town of frontline staff is not the answer. Something is seriously wrong with the management of Smyrna. Gunner, you are definatley asking all the right questions. Spot on. Keep up the good work.