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Thanks for the memories ...

When I accepted an appointment to serve on my very first Farragut committee, Bob Leonard was mayor, Jack Hamlett was Town administrator, and Mary Nell McFee had just started the Farragut Folk Life Museum (and it was being stored in a closet!). Now after 24 years I will be stepping down from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and I would like to take a moment just to share a few basic observations based on this experience ... .

First, the overwhelming number of Town employees are hard-working and interested in assisting our citizens. It would be impossible to list every employee I have seen over the years “go the extra mile” to help folks and that have displayed positive and courteous attitudes, but Bud McKelvey (head of Public Works), Bettye Newby (Town receptionist), Steve Coker (senior codes officer), and Allison Myers (Town recorder) are four great current examples. I will admit that a few notable exceptions of very negative or difficult employees still exist and regularly make the news, but the vast majority are truly “first rate.” I also have always benefited from accurate information and creative solutions from our Town engineer (Kim Ramsey and now Darryl Smith) and sage legal advice from our Town attorney (Dave Rodgers and now Tom Hale). And, Dan Olson’s financial planning will pay dividends for our Town for years to come.

Second, the Town has been extremely fortunate to have excellent citizen leadership from the beginning who put together our Town structure and then served in elected office. Quality leadership starts at the top – Farragut has only had two mayors in its short history, and both Bob Leonard and Eddy Ford have been selected as Tennessee Mayors of the Year. That is quite a compliment and speaks volumes about both men. I know firsthand the dedication and long hours Mayor Ford spends each week just to help Farragut achieve more road project funding, state grants and federal assistance. I also have been fortunate to serve beside some excellent aldermen – men and women who were able to work together in a positive fashion and shared a common vision for our Town that helped build this community into such a wonderful place. I have especially enjoyed the sense of humor of John Griess, Bob Watts’ knowledge of the community, Connie Ruten-ber’s eye for good design, Dick Scar-brough’s business acumen and Joel Garber’s engineering insight just to name a notable few. And remember, all served voluntarily and without salary.

Which brings me to my third point – volunteers. From the members of the Farragut’s Unsung Navy (FUN program) to the folks that meet every month on Town committees, our “secret ingredient” for this community’s continued success is the remarkable number of residents willing year after year to volunteer their time and talents just to assist with Town programs and planning any way they can. Most communities can only dream of this level of citizen involvement, and it is essential to our future.

In many ways Farragut remains a unique experiment in Tennessee. We are fortunate to have a number of essential services provided by other entities through our tax payments or private payments, and we are, therefore, able as a Town to focus on what we do best – roads, parks, high quality standards and aesthetics. By careful strategic planning, common sense, patience and the wise use of our limited resources we have become both a premier residential community and the largest town in the state with no debt and no property taxes. History teaches us that most great ideas don’t fail due to outside pressure but instead collapse internally from a loss of focus or vision. I am confident that if Farragut will continue to follow our proven formula of success in the years ahead, our future as a Town will be bright indeed.

I have met many wonderful people and enjoyed being part of your local government. Thank you for the honor of representing each of you along this path.


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