jason-patrick-nolensville

ABOVE: Vice Mayor Jason Patrick speaks at a meeting in April. // FILE PHOTO

 

By RACHAEL LONG

During an emotional speech by Nolensville Vice Mayor Jason Patrick Thursday night, an alderman whose tenure has spanned 8 years announced that he had decided to step down from office, effective immediately.

He cited a desire to be more present with family as his primary reason for leaving office.

Patrick also said the words spoken at a BOMA meeting last month, “put your money where you mouth is,” caused him to reflect on the past and his time in leadership.

In response to the phrase, Patrick said he believed he had done just that over his years of service to the town.

Patrick joined the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in 2011 when was he appointed to the position. He was then elected to the board in 2012, appointed as vice mayor in 2014 and was later re-elected in 2016.

“Actions do speak louder than words, and I’m quite comfortable stacking up my 12 years of actions and what I have done,” Patrick said.

Patrick mentioned that the town had recently received an upgraded credit rating, citing its “above average wealth levels, robust reserve levels and a low debt burden.” He said there were many individuals to thank for their participation and work on the Nolensville budget.

Patrick also cited a recent Forbes article which he said named him a top financial adviser in the state of Tennessee.

“I like to think I may have played a very small role in helping the town to achieve such a strong financial position,” Patrick said.

As part of his goodbye to the town, Patrick mentioned the problem social media had become in the town, especially regarding interactions between Nolensville residents.

“With growth comes change, and recently some of that change has not been for the better,” Patrick said. “The way that we treat each other as a result of the advent of social media is embarrassing and shameful.

“It is my prayer that we will take seriously the words, ‘be nice,’ and love each other better, extend grace and mercy to others as grace and mercy have been extended to us, and get back to being a community of neighbors and friends that respect and support one another,” Patrick said. “If we can’t do that, then God help us all, because that’s not a community I want to be a part of.”

Patrick said he hoped the town of Nolensville would continue to be that “special place that brought me and my family here nearly 13 years and two kids ago.”

“Some may think I’m running away from something, and don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t feel good to have your character attacked or be misunderstood or falsely criticized,” Patrick said. “But my decision is quite the opposite. I’m not running away from anything … But instead, I’m running to something.”

Patrick said he was running to more time with his family and friends, more time devoted to his businesses and “more time doing things that I want to do, and more time doing nothing at all.”

More than any words spoken in any meeting, Patrick said it was a message from his wife at the start of a recent BOMA meeting informing him that their son had gotten a hit in kid pitch baseball which gave him a moment of clarity.

“I’m not going to miss another hit,” Patrick said.

Mayor Jimmy Alexander thanked Patrick for his service to the town, and said his own decision many years ago to ask Patrick if he’d be interested in serving as alderman was one of the best moments of his career as a public official.

Fellow aldermen also spoke to Patrick from the heart Thursday night, as the meeting crossed into the three-hour mark.

“You have made your mark,” Alderman Tommy Dugger said. “And Nolensville is a better place today because of you.”

Former Nolensville mayor and current Williamson County Commissioner Beth Lothers said to Patrick, “Of very few leaders that I’ve worked with in many levels of government have I seen somebody more humble … I admire you all the more for making the best decision you can make, which is always your family.”

Patrick’s final statement was met with a standing ovation from those still in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.

“Thank you for allowing me to serve. It’s been an honor and a privilege.”