By RACHAEL LONG / Photos by Ben Matthews
After nearly a month without one, the Brentwood Board of Commissioners has elected its next mayor.
Commissioners Rhea Little, Mark Gorman and Regina Smithson originally threw their names in the hat for mayor, and after one round of voting on Monday, June 10, Rhea Little was elected as the city’s new mayor.
“Thank you to my fellow commissioners for giving me this opportunity to serve,” Little said after being elected.
The city has been without a mayor since the May 7 election, when former Mayor Jill Burgin’s term expired. In the interim, Vice Mayor Ken Travis led city meetings and spoke at public events.
After the voting concluded and Little was elected mayor, he switched places with Travis and led the rest of the City Commission meeting.
A new mayor should have been elected at the May 13 City Commission meeting, but after seven rounds of voting, the seven-member City Commission could not reach a majority and decided to defer the vote to June 10.
Before Monday’s vote, Smithson spoke for several minutes. In her comments, Smithson noted her involvement across the city’s many years, including the two terms she served as mayor and vice mayor, each. It was at that point that Smithson also withdrew her name from candidacy for mayor and said she would support Little for the position.
“I’m personally thankful that we did not decide on a mayor at the last meeting,” Smithson said, noting that the month-long break gave her time to reflect. “Since the last commission meeting, I feel in my heart for the good of the city, I am withdrawing my name for mayor, I am going to vote on Rhea Little, I have turmoiled over this and truly feel Rhea will step up to the plate and represent all the residents.”
“I want all of you to know, I will continue to work for the good of our city,” Smithson said.
During her comment period, Commissioner Anne Dunn commented on Smithson’s decision.
“I want to thank Regina Smithson for being selfless and pulling her name out,” Dunn said, noting that she believed Smithson had “put the city first.”
Though he was not eventually elected, Gorman also spoke before the vote, telling residents that from him they could count on balance and responsible growth.
“We have something very special here in Brentwood. We all recognize it,” Gorman said. “I think I recognize it because I’m not from here, but I got here as quick as I could…My promise to the residents of Brentwood is that I will put you first. I have no agenda other than to put the residents’ wants and needs first for this great city.”
After Little was elected, Gorman congratulated his mayoral opponent for the position.
Travis also gave Little a chance to speak before the vote was taken.
“My desire to serve as mayor feels as a calling to another avenue of service. And I hope…that I will be able to serve well…I so appreciate the opportunity to be a commissioner, so to be a mayor would just be a dream come true.”
Gorman: Travis, MacMillan, Gorman
Little: Dunn, Andrews, Little, Smithson