By LISA WHALEY
Members of Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen may have cast the votes Monday appointing Adam Dickson as the town’s newest alderman — but there was little doubt in the room that the town itself was the real decision maker.
At the packed March 12 meeting, town residents began making their feelings known long before the board could move onto agenda item 7A: discussion and possible action concerning the appointment of a replacement to fill the unexpired term of Jerome Fitzgerald, who had resigned on Feb. 26 to pursue a seat on the Washington County Commission,
“I am here to ask you to appoint Adam Dickson to fill the unexpired term of Jerome Fitzgerald,” Dr. Bill Kennedy told the board during the public comments section of the meeting following the surprise resignation of Mayor Kelly Wolfe. “He has dedicated his academic background and life to our community and to personal service.
More than that he has demonstrated to us he has a passion for public service. That’s where his heart is.”
Dr. Kennedy also pointed out that his opinion was shared by current boardmembers, as he read back minutes from the Nov. 14, 2016 BMA meeting, the last meeting Dickson attended as alderman, having served the 2012-2016 term.
“Alderman Chuck Vest, you are reported in this meeting as saying Alderman Dickson was the kind of community service mindset we need in Jonesborough … He has been a blessing to the board and the town and he hopes and prays — this is what you said, Alderman Vest — that this will not be the last time we see Alderman Dickson behind the microphone.”
Alderman David Sell, at that same meeting, Dr. Kennedy said, also voiced his support saying “No one has a bigger heart than Alderman Dickson for the town.”
Dickson lost in the 2016 election after Fitzgerald, a town favorite, entered the race, pitting the three candidates — Terry Countermine, Fitzgerald and Dickson, against each other for two spots. Dickson came in behind Countermine by just 26 votes.
In addition to Dr. Kennedy, other supporters touted Dickson’s relationship with local businesses, his example as a role model for the minority youth in town and his ongoing commitment both in and out of office for both the community and its citizens.
“He really is a true public servant,” said Katelyn Yarbrough, Jonesborough resident and innkeeper at the Eureka Inn.
An impromptu vote by the audience with a show of hands for those in support to Dickson revealed almost unanimous agreement of the 100 or so in attendance.
The public outpouring was cut short by Vest — who would be moved into the mayor’s seat by the evening’s end to fill out the rest of Wolfe’s term. Vest suggested that the board move ahead to the vote at this time.
“Adam was a great addition to our board. And this town needs people like Adam,” Vest said, making a motion to appoint Dickson to the vacant alderman seat.
Sell seconded and the decision was unanimous.
Dickson was sworn in by Town Attorney Jim Wheeler.
“I’m grateful to serve,” Dickson said after the vote. Dickson will serve out the rest of Fitzgerald’s term, which expires in 2020.