There were no surprises on Election Night when it came to state and federal races involving Warren County voters. Every Republican candidate won in commanding fashion in results that were completely expected.
But there was one surprise, at least for me, when it came to McMinnville’s city election. I was surprised Sally Brock earned a seat as a McMinnville alderman.
My surprise has nothing to do with Sally and her qualifications because I think she’s a good person with a genuine desire to serve her community. My surprise comes from the fact Sally’s husband Everett is already a sitting McMinnville alderman, giving the Brock household two of the seven total votes on the city board.
If this was the Warren County Commission with a whopping 24 members, having two votes in the same household wouldn’t be that big a deal. But having two votes on a seven-member board gives one household a 28% say in what happens with McMinnville’s $14.1 million budget. It seems like a disproportionate amount of power under one roof.
I wasn’t the only one surprised. When I contacted Sally shortly after election results were released, she admitted she was “stunned” to get elected alongside her husband. However, she added, “People who know me know I have an opinion and I think for myself.”
A litmus test for the dynamics of how this new board will operate will come in a hurry. With current Alderman Ryle Chastain being elected mayor, his alderman seat will become vacant Nov. 24 and it will be up to the remaining members of the city board to appoint his replacement.
When this has happened in the past, there have always been calls to appoint the next highest vote-getter. I can say this with confidence because I’ve always been the one making those calls.
As it stands, Sally Brock, Rachel Kirby and Stacey Harvey were the top three vote-getters and they were all elected. Finishing close behind in a race separated by just 17 votes were Jay Medley (1,081 votes), Keri Curtis Morton (1,069 votes) and Rickey L. Jones (1,064 votes).
I’ve always maintained the people who care enough to get 25 signatures and have the courage to put their name on the ballot should be the ones considered for a vacancy. These are the people who have campaigned and who have stood up in political forums and stated the reasons they should be elected.
Unfortunately, there’s no obligation to pick someone who ran for the office to fill the vacancy. The last two times a McMinnville alderman has been appointed, it’s been someone picked out of the blue who hasn’t formally run.
I think that needs to change and it needs to start with this upcoming appointment to the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen. One of the five alderman candidates who ran for office, but didn't get elected, should be appointed.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.