To the Editor:
Let me begin by saying thank you to those members of both City Council and the School Board who elected to not run again, and to those who did run but were not successful in their efforts. I appreciate each of them stepping up to the plate to make this community a better place, and I hope they all continue to remain active in a positive manner to keep this community moving forward.
Also, with the most recent election behind us and several new faces taking on the leadership responsibilities for the city and school system, I look forward to each of the newly elected representatives bringing their vision to the table and working with the existing members to make Oak Ridge an outstanding community to live, work, and play.
During the November 24 City Council meeting, City Council members will be electing a new mayor for a two-year term. In our “weak mayor” form of local government, the mayor has no power outside of Council, so the mayoral role is solely to lead the City Council meetings and to be the main representative of the city for various meetings, activities, and events.
Even though the mayoral responsibilities are limited in our form of government, there are certain characteristics that I feel are important to the position given that the mayor is in effect the spokesperson for the city—the face and voice of the community as they share the Oak Ridge message. In my opinion, the most qualified spokesperson is one who has a diversity of experience and leadership skills; one who is honest and credible; one who is confident, yet personable; one who is transparent and intuitive; and one who is flexible in the way he or she deals with people/issues, and flexible in terms of being available to represent the community on a regular basis.
There will most likely be several Council members who will indicate their interest in the position of mayor, and most have many of the qualities that I mentioned above. However, in my opinion, based on his extensive experience in working with leaders at the local, regional, state, and national levels—both through his 37 years of practicing law and through his long-term community involvement—I believe that Warren Gooch best exhibits each of those characteristics that will allow immediate credibility.
Warren has a stated vision for the community, and he has been involved for many years. He has a vast network within and outside Oak Ridge, and he is most prepared to hit the ground running as the voice of Oak Ridge. I ask our City Council members to vote for Warren Gooch for mayor.