BY LANDON WOODROOF
Brentwood officially has a new mayor, Jill Burgin, who has served on the City Commission since 2011 and as vice mayor for the past two years.
At Monday night’s City Commission meeting, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson swore in the recently re-elected incumbents Mark Gorman, Rhea Little and Regina Smithson to their new terms. They, along with the rest of the City Commission, then voted on who will be Brentwood’s mayor for the next two years.
Three candidates had put their names into consideration this past Thursday at the commission’s informational meeting. Rhea Little and Ken Travis withdrew their names, though, prior to Monday night’s meeting, leaving Burgin as the unanimous choice.
Mark Gorman was chosen to be vice mayor by a four-to-three vote, edging out Betsy Crossley.
Burgin’s voice was full of emotion as she took her center seat at the commission bench amid applause.
“It means a lot to me,” she said. “Thank you. I appreciate it very much.”
Brentwood was founded under a City Manager-Commission charter. The city manager acts as the chief executive officer of the city, overseeing the operation of the city government and making sure that ordinances are enacted.
The mayor is more of a figurehead, appointed every two years by City Commissioners rather than being selected by public election.
“When I was mayor I had no more power than the other six people sitting up here,” Smithson said. “The only thing I could do different was conduct the meeting.”
The mayor does get to attend meetings of the Regional Transit Authority and the Metro Planning Organization or designate someone else to attend. For the past two years, Burgin has attended the meetings, something she said she expects to continue doing.
The mayor also often represents the city at public events and chairs City Commission meetings.
During the portion of the meeting devoted to reports from each commissioner, several commissioners thanked Regina Smithson for her service during her recent mayoral term.
“Thank you Commissioner Smithson for completing a very successful term as mayor of Brentwood,” Travis said. “Your dedication and commitment for all our citizens is amazing.”
“I want to thank Mayor Smithson for her excellent work the last two years as mayor,” Little said.
Those three commissioners who were just re-elected also took a moment to thank the Brentwood citizens who returned them to office.
“To the residents of Brentwood, thank you very much for the opportunity to serve you again,” Gorman said. “Please know you can count on me. Mayor Smithson, thank you very much for the last two years, you’ve done a fine job as mayor. Thank you all for the opportunity of allowing me to serve on the commission as the vice mayor and, Mayor Burgin, congratulations. I look forward to working with you.”
“I want to thank all the citizens for allowing me to serve again,” Little said. “I really take a lot of joy and pleasure in being able to serve as a commissioner. It’s such an honor.”
For her part, Smithson addressed those who voted in the last election as well as those who did not.
“I want to let the residents who did not vote know that we’re here for you, too,” she said.
Travis took the time to compliment Brentwood’s form of government, which resulted in Burgin and Gorman’s appointments Monday night. “I just want to say that Brentwood has had a wonderful process for electing our mayor,” he said. “It’s worked for many, many years.”
He went on to praise the “strong mayors” that the city has had in the past and said he was sure Burgin would prove to be another one in that line.
For her part, Burgin thanked her fellow commissioners, but emphasized she was still just one among equals.
“I want to think all of you for allowing me to serve you as mayor,” she said. “I recognize that i’m one of seven still. I don’t speak for you. I will not attempt to. I am very happy and proud to represent you, though.”