While Hendersonville voters spoke loud and clear on Nov. 3, many of its leaders appear to be turning a deaf ear.
In his bid for re-election, Mayor Jamie Clary ran on the promise of eliminating the city administrator position – a position created in 2019 by a slim 7 to 6 vote of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Clary, along with five candidates for city alderman, campaigned for months on the premise that the position added an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and usurped the authority of a mayor chosen by the people.
So did voters buy their argument?
On its face, it would appear so.
Not only did Clary win by a decisive 63 percent of the vote compared to his opponent’s 37 percent, four of the five alderman candidates who openly supported doing away with the city administrator position claimed victory as well.
The results of the Nov. 3 election should at least open the door to the possibility of re-examining the need for a city administrator once the new board members are sworn in later this month.
Why then did the current board violate at least two of its own policies by pushing a last-minute vote to extend the current interim city administrator’s employment through March when it had already been extended through the end of this year?
The answer is obvious. There are still several aldermen – five of which were not up for re-election this time around – who still support the city administrator position.
The move to extend the city administrator’s employment by placing it on a committee agenda hours before a meeting is not exactly what one would call “providing adequate public notice.”
There’s also a BOMA rule that says that two weeks should pass between when an item is heard in committee and it comes before the full board. This was put in place in order to give lawmakers time to consider the legislation and give the public time to comment on it.
That didn’t happen either.
The resolution to extend the interim city administrator’s contract was sent to BOMA members from City Recorder Kay Franklin at around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The General Committee voted for it two hours later. The resolution then went to the full board who passed it 8 to 5 later the same night.
The right thing to do would have been to let the new board vote on if or for how long they wanted to extend the city administrator’s employment.
The new board can undo the measure if they want to at the Dec. 8 meeting, but that’s not something we would necessarily recommend.
We would just ask that the rules are followed - and that the will of the people be taken into consideration when our leaders vote.
We honestly don’t think that’s too much to ask from those who lead our city.
The editorial board of Main Street Media of Tennessee is comprised of President Dave Gould, Editor Sherry Mitchell and reporters Tena Lee and Josh Cross.