BY LANDON WOODROOF
A longtime Brentwood public servant received a special service award at Wednesday night’s Planning Commission meeting.
Dr. Jack Fletcher served as a City Commissioner from 1989 to 1993. He was on the Planning Commission from 2000 to 2009 and again from 2015 until just a few weeks ago when a new commissioner, Brandon Oliver, was appointed to Fletcher’s seat after his term ended.
A congenial and locquacious presence on whatever board he sat, Fletcher is known for injecting meetings with his trademark humor as well as for cultivating an exhaustive sense of detail that often saw him examining the finer points of site plans or peppering petitioners with exacting questions.
“He’s been very diligent,” Planning Commissioner Chair Janet Donahue said before presenting Fletcher with the award. “He puts a lot of time and effort in finding details and looking at he smaller things and how it’s gonna affect everybody. As a member of the Planning Commission, as a citizen, I really appreciated that, and the insight that he could provide was very beneficial.”
Donahue also said she greatly valued the perspective Fletcher, a Brentwood resident for decades, was able to provide the commission.
“Having that extra insight and information that he could provide really helped us to form opinions,” she said. “I personally am very grateful for all the services he’s provided.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Planning Commissioner and City Commissioner Ken Travis.
“On behalf of City Commission I’d like to say thank you to Dr. Fletcher,” Travis said. “He has been a role model for many people including me. I’m just a two year commissioner here, but I learned a lot from him. You didn’t just do your job, you did more than your job. You were always the guy who showed up with pictures, who did the extra.”
Travis said Fletcher has made a definite mark on the city.
“I would just like to say personally for my family we really appreciate you,” he said. “Your fingerprints are all over Brentwood, and thank you very much for your service.”
Both Donahue and Travis specifically thanked Fletcher for his work with Williamson County Schools. Travis said the city’s relationship with WCS had taken a marked turn for the better in the two years of Fletcher’s most recent service on the Planning Commission.
When he took the podium to speak, Fletcher spoke with emotion of his time in public service.
“It’s one of those times when you have mixed emotions about it you know,” he said. “And I want to say from a heartfelt perspective, mentally my mind and my heart are trying to come up with the right words but for the most part over the years, the times that I’ve had a chance to serve, on the City Commission, this board, or whatever, it’s always been out of love and respect for the city and for the folks who have given me the fellowship and the friendship that has been so meaningful.”
He said his primary concern has always been what’s best for the city, and he thanked the commissioners for sharing that concern.
“I know sometimes we disagreed, but we disagreed agreeably, and I know that all of y’all had the same goal in mind, what’s best for the city, given our history and what made us what we are today, so we can look forward to the future with that perspective,” he said.
Fletcher’s connections to Brentwood are deep. He mentioned visiting his daughter in River Oaks for a Fourth of July parade the other day. What he saw there encapsulated his feelings for his city.
“It’s not just about the Fourth of July they were celebrating, they were celebrating the community and the community feel that Brentwood gives folks that i think is so important,” he said. “That hopefully will be ongoing for years and years to come, and I think it will be thanks to the leadership we’re gonna have.”
As for where he finds himself now that his time on the commission is done, Fletcher quoted a kindred spirit.
“And you know like the great philosopher, great Yankee catcher Yogi Berra would say, you know when you come to that fork in the road, take it,” he said to much laughter from the crowd.
When he accepted his award, Fletcher was received with a standing ovation from all commissioners.
At the June 13 City Commission meeting where it was announced that Fletcher would not be reappointed to the Planning Commission, several commissioners had also taken the time to speak warmly of Fletcher and his service.
“Commissioner Smithson and I served on the City Commission with Vice Mayor Fletcher, and he used to say he was in charge of vice,” Commissioner Anne Dunn said. “He always had a sense of humor. Still does.”
Commissioner Betsy Crossley likewise reflected on her years working alongside Fletcher.
“I had the opportunity of serving with Jack on the Planning Commission for several years,” she said. “And many of you may not know that in addition to all the other accolades we just heard about Jack, he was also a University of Tennessee cheerleader, and I think more importantly he was also a cheerleader for the city of Brentwood. And I just want to thank Jack for … all the years he’s served the city of Brentwood and will continue to serve the city of Brentwood over these next years.”