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guest view: Mike Haynes
Ford ‘part-time’ mayor, full-time leader

Here is one of my favorite facts about Eddy Ford: When the idea of a new Town was first being discussed locally, our future Mayor was a healthy skeptic.

A reasonable reaction since both Eddy and Linda's families had been residents of the area virtually all of their lives and they were both Farragut High grads.

An old fashioned rural independence and long standing community pride are qualities that don't fade easily and became keys to the early decision to start a new and very local Town government.

Eddy Ford ran for Alderman in that first election to help insure those values remained and has been elected to office ever since, being the only person to serve continuously since the Town's inception in 1980.

Somewhere along the way he was converted not only to advocate, but an increasingly effective leader and spokesman for Farragut.

That fact was recognized again just last week when the Tennessee Municipal League (TML), which is the major organization for Cities and Towns across the State, named Eddy Ford "Mayor of the Year" for 2007.

Quite an honor when you consider there were about 344 other Mayors in Tennessee that could have been chosen! Like most engineers, our Mayor is very much a "hands-on" type person that works hard to resolve issues.

If you get up early enough on most Saturday mornings, you will very likely see Eddy on his weekly tour all over town in a sporty red convertible looking for any problems, checking out new developments and talking with both long time residents and our newest families about their community.

Under our form of Town government the Mayor is uniquely positioned to suggest new programs and bring ideas and issues to the table for discussion.

Mayor Ford has been a motivating force behind almost every new initiative in recent years and has been an especially successful leader in facilitating State and Federal grants -- a major reason our infrastructure continues to improve annually and the Town has no long term debt or property taxes.

The influx of those funds into Farragut is in large part the result of literally hundreds upon hundreds of hours Eddy has spent in meetings promoting our interests with groups like the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), the East Tennessee Development District (ETDD), the Knoxville Area Joint Economic and Community Development Board (JECD), TML, NLC, etc, etc.

Not very exciting duty maybe, and largely unsung, but absolutely essential to build the necessary relationships that benefit our Town.

So join the Board and Town Staff as we tip of our collective hats to His Honor for this latest award. Farragut has only had two Mayors in its short history and now both Bob Leonard and Eddy Ford have been selected as Tennessee Mayors of the Year.

I think that speaks volumes about both leaders ... and about the quality of our Town as well.


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