One of the dominant themes from the Southern Standard/ WCPI political forum Tuesday night was McMinnville needs a full-time mayor, not a city administrator.
Those were the thoughts of the majority of candidates running for alderman.
“I am in favor of a full-time mayor and disposing of the position of city administrator,” said candidate Mike Neal. “I think it would be a better way to use taxpayer money.”
Added candidate Dennis Taylor, “I think we should be like Nashville and have a full-time mayor in the best interest of the people. I don’t have anything against the city administrator, but he didn’t grow up here and I don’t know if he cares about the city the way the rest of us do.”
Current alderman Everett Brock, who is seeking re-election, was the only candidate to endorse keeping the city administrator with a part-time mayor. That is the current structure.
“Anybody who thinks they can do five-year budgets and five-year plans with seven guys, or women, who work up there part time does not know what’s going on,” said Brock “It’s an impossibility to supervise 150 people, make the plans, five-year budgets, and do everything the city administrator is going to do. You can have your own arguments of whether our current city administrator is the one or not, but I don’t know of any comparable town our size that does not have a city administrator.”
Candidate Mike Hutcheson said he feels the job would have greater accountability if the position was elected.
“I think it should be a full-time mayor,” said Hutcheson. “That way it lets people in the city decide if he’s doing a good job or not.”
During his campaigning, candidate Darren Pack says he’s been told by most residents they don’t want a city administrator.
“The doors I’ve knocked on, the people I’ve talked to, there have not been many people who say we need a city administrator,” said Pack.
Candidates Jason Gross, Ben Newman, Bruce Watson and Jimmy Bonner all had similar comments, saying they would rather have a full-time mayor than a city administrator.
Alderman Rick Barnes indicated he would be open to finding out more information about a full-time mayor but has not made up his mind.