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Our town has much for which to be grateful

The year 2020 has certainly been unpredictable and unnerving. It’s times like these I, and I hope you, are thankful to live in Jonesborough and eastern Tennessee. We are also fortunate Jonesborough has a great history of good leadership and prudent decisions because today our stable finances and strong staffs ensure our town delivers the best results possible to the community even during these troubling times. I’m proud our town has continued to provide all necessary services to our residents while protecting employees and the community during this health crisis.  

Our regional health leaders and Ballad Health are to be commended for helping our area mitigate the dangers and risks of this crisis which now allows our community to reopen the local economy.  This will not be an opening as usual but a reopening by adapting to these challenges in a manner that lessens the risk to the public. Our town board has approved events that are important to our quality of life and even more important is the effect on our resident’s mental health.  

Yes, these events will come with some new restrictions and changes but they also create a roadmap on how events and crisis mitigation can co-exist. During our June 8th Board of Mayor & Alderman meeting the board was very deliberate and compromising during discussions about moving forward events with new safety precautions. No decision was hasty and no decision was left unchallenged so the end results would be well-vetted approvals.  

I was comforted after the meeting when our new town administrator Glenn Rosenoff stated the 3 1/2 hour meeting was the best display of democracy and respectful deliberations he has witnessed. Many thanks to our town’s four alderman: Adam Dickson, Terry Countermine, Virginia Causey, Stephen Callahan and the numerous Jonesborough business leaders, residents and staff there in attendance giving respectful and informative feedback. It’s my belief we have sound and safe plans to open Wetlands Waterpark, the McKinney Center, Chuckey Depot, Persimmon Ridge Park and other town facilities.  I don’t believe you can ever fully recapture lost revenue but by safely resuming facility rentals and aggressively marketing within our local area we can keep our town’s finances stable and local businesses confident.  

As we developed our opening strategies another national crisis in the law enforcement arena created a new awakening within our own area.  When I first saw the horrific and unnecessary taking of life in Minneapolis, I thought again how thankful and blessed we are to have such outstanding men and women as public safety officers in Jonesborough. I was also thankful and reassured we have public safety leadership that wouldn’t accept nor tolerate the obvious and tragic abuse of a citizen and the disrespect to a public servant’s uniform.  

My first call that day was to Public Safety Director Craig Ford asking for a review of Jonesborough’s policies and procedures while my second call went to Vice Mayor Adam Dickson requesting his assistance reaffirming this request. Both leaders responded with determination to validate Jonesborough was already positioned well with sound policies. I was beyond pleased with the report Director Ford voiced to me that validated Jonesborough’s early adaptation of Public Safety officers’ body cameras and a reasoned Use of Force policy. I was also pleased to hear that the State of Tennessee Police Academy trains officers much more effectively than many states in the news today.  

While representing Jonesborough for 15 years I have witnessed countless good deeds by our public servants and Public Safety officers.  Those officers often leading by example are complimented by residents and visitors for going above and beyond to serve the community.  

In the coming years I want to ensure those good deeds are recognized, promoted proudly to the public and encouraged to become commonplace.  

During all this turmoil, the community of Jonesborough has continued to excel. We were honored and enthusiastic to have two wonderful caravans representing David Crockett High School seniors and Black Lives Matter drive proudly and safely through our town.  The caravans in Jonesborough inspired positive feedback from residents expressing love for our town and town’s people because we continue to lead the way in civility and fellowship for all.  

That fellowship and civility will allow us to continue living a good life in Jonesborough as we explore, discover and implement new ways to be even better. 

As we plan our next year’s budget beginning July 1, 2020, it is my plan to ask town leadership to create a new part-time intern-type position that represents the Mayor’s office within town hall. We need to start attracting the interest of young talent to our town’s general administration, public safety, tourism and resident services arenas. This can be a first step in improving the town’s personnel recruitment, greater community participation, enhanced diversity and strengthening of future leadership.  

As I complete this writing, I am heartened and blessed by our community. So much so, I am confident Jonesborough can successfully navigate these uncharted waters to more joyful moments. I look forward to seeing you at our meetings!