The New Tazewell Board of Mayor and aldermen (BMA) appears to be determined to make a smooth transition from the old to the new guard. The council sat down last week to its first regular monthly meeting with new mayor Jerry Beeler at the helm and alderman Franklin Essary filling the seat vacated by former alderperson Nita Louthan.
There appeared to be just one blip in the radar, concerning the vote for the new vice-mayor. Beeler wanted the matter handled during the January meeting; however, it was determined that, by law, the council is required to choose that person during the first meeting after an election.
Beeler nominated alderman Stanley Leonard, while alderman Charles Brooks made a motion to retain alderman Andy Duncan.
“He has done a good job, so far,” said Brooks, referring to Duncan’s term as vice-mayor.
The council voted down the Beeler nomination by a vote of four to two. Aldermen Brooks, Duncan, Charles DeBusk and Jeff Lewis were the no votes.
Duncan retained his seat as vice-mayor by an apparent default. Although no official vote was taken on the matter, it was agreed by the council that the outcome would have been four to three in favor of Duncan.
The first piece of business conducted under the new mayor was his suggestion to reinstate free city brush pickup. The courtesy, which had been done away with during the last administration, was given a unanimous ‘thumbs up’ by the council.
Beeler expressed concern, in particular, for the elderly population who cannot manage removal of their personal brush. The service will remove leaves and brush that has been collected personally by residents. Debris collected by a ‘paid outside source’ does not fall in the guidelines.
Former CCSO Lt. Stephen Hurley will be replacing former officer Todd Daniels on the New Tazewell Police roster. The BMA unanimously approved the motion to hire Hurley who, among many achievements, is a certified instructor who will be able to provide in-service training.
Hurley is certified in firearms, terrorism and narcotics and is trained in SWAT, chemical and taser.
Moments after being sworn in, Beeler said he wanted the BMA to work together for the good of the city.
Reach Jan Runions at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @scribeCP.