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Elected officials show solidarity for Bartlett’s needs

Tennessee Sen. Paul Rose, left, and Bartlett Mayor-elect David Parsons

Bartlett Mayor-elect David Parsons said he is getting up to speed and had a long meeting with current Mayor Keith McDonald last week as his swearing-in ceremony approaches on Dec. 20.

Parsons will be the city’s first mayor since 2003 when he officially takes over the office on Jan. 1. He and the three aldermen elected on Nov. 8 – Brad King, Robert Griffin and David Reaves – will all be sworn in on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

All four of them and other elected officials representing Bartlett spoke briefly at a Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center.

“I’ve been meeting with directors and had a 2 ½-hour meeting with Mayor McDonald yesterday (Nov. 21). Things are going very well,” Parsons said about the transition of leadership beginning to take place.

He said he should have an announcement soon about a new chief administrative officer to replace Mark Brown, who is retiring. Four department directors also will retire, including Public Works Director Mike Adams, Rick McClanahan in Engineering, Jim Brown in Code Enforcement, and Fire Chief Terry Wiggins.

“I think the board will be pleased with the slate of people we will present to them to fill those positions,” Parsons said. “We’ve got meetings all next week. The city’s in good hands, our future is bright, and we’re optimistic about starting off on Jan. 1 with good continuity of services.”

State Sen. Paul Rose, R-Covington, and newly elected state Sen. Brent Taylor also spoke and assured the new Bartlett officeholders and gathered business owners that getting sewer infrastructure so Shelby County can take advantage of opportunities presented by Ford Co.’s BlueOval City and the thousands of jobs it will bring will be a top priority in Nashville.

“There are things we need to do, that Senator Rose and I have already talked about, we need to make sure we are in a position to extend our sewers to unincorporated areas of Shelby County to make sure Shelby County is where those homes are built,” Taylor said.

Taylor, whose District 31 takes in a sliver of Bartlett now after redistricting, said Bartlett should be happy to have two state senators instead of just one lobbying on its behalf.

Brad King, a homebuilder and retired Memphis Fire Department captain who was elected Alderman Position 1, said he is anxious to begin learning about his new role.

“I never built a house without a plan, I never built a house without a budget, and I never started a house with the roof first,” he said. “We have a lot of issues in this city we need to address, but we can only do one thing, one piece at a time.”

Robert Griffin, the new Alderman for Position 2 beginning Jan. 1, said after a lot of campaigning to get elected, he is ready to get started with the city’s work.

And David Reaves, a former Shelby County Commissioner and School Board member who co-owns Side Porch Steakhouse, said he understands the struggles of small business owners after opening the restaurant and will be a big advocate for small business owners as Alderman in Position 3.

Reaves also said he wants Bartlett to be the city of choice for BlueOval City development, not just cede that to Arlington because it’s a little closer to Stanton geographically.

“We need help from you guys when it comes to sewer, because sewer is not just an unincorporated problem, it’s a Bartlett problem,” Reaves said.

Rose also recognized Bartlett Vice Mayor Jack Young and Alderman Kevin Quinn, saying Quinn was the elected official from Shelby County who came up to Nashville the most often to work for citizens.

Quinn, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor on Nov. 8, spoke briefly about the hard work the Board of Mayor and Aldermen faces to address issues brought up by candidates in the campaigns. Addressing sewer capacity and how it currently limits development is one of those key issues.

Bartlett City Schools Board member Erin Berry, Superintendent David Stephens and Shelby County Commissioner Mick Wright also spoke briefly and thanked the senators for their support.

Rose went on to say that adoption and foster care services will be another top priority of Republicans in the General Assembly.

“The target’s on our back now,” Rose said of the Tennessee law triggered by the repeal of Roe v. Wade that makes most all abortions illegal in Tennessee. “Do we care only about anti-abortion, or are we really pro-life? Are we going to try to take care of the children who are going to be brought into this world?”

He said on the top of Gov. Bill Lee’s agenda is finding ways to make adoption and foster care easier, quicker and less expensive.

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