As expected, Nelson swore in its new city council members and mayor last night. Board Incumbent Jackie Jarrett, newly-elected member Thad Thacker and new Mayor Larry Ray all took their oaths of office last night in the council’s first meeting of the year.
In addition to the ceremonial vows, several council appointments were made but not without the usual controversy. Lines were drawn in an already sharply divided council.
Tradition has held that the positions of city clerk/city manager have been held by Brandy Edwards and Martha Tipton made a motion that she continue in those dual roles, seconded by Jonathan Bishop. But Jarrett suggested that while Edwards has done a good job of managing both jobs that the time has come, due to the amount of work, for the positions to be undertaken by two persons. His points were defeated with a 3-2 vote in which Thacker voted with Jarrett against Tipton’s motion.
Jarrett had objections to Jeff Rusbridge continuing as city lawyer due to possible conflicts of interest with other clients he represents. He made a move that Bill Pickett be appointed with Thacker again in agreement. Another 3-2 vote along the same lines ensued. Ultimately, Tipton, Cronic and Bishop voted to re-appoint Rusbridge.
The same scenario played out when it came to re-appointing Rusbridge to city solicitor – 3-2 with Rusbridge being chosen.
Municipal Judge Richard Jones will continue in that role with a unanimous vote. Zoning administrator was defaulted to fall under Ray’s duties. Jarrett was chosen as mayor pro-tem.