Fellow members of the Oak Ridge City Council:
I respectfully request that you consider me as a candidate for the positions of mayor and mayor pro tem when the new Council convenes on Monday, November 24.
This is in many respects a brand new Council, with several new members who are eager to move the city forward in a positive direction. I share that eagerness, but I also believe that we need experienced leadership to achieve our goals.
Leadership with experience and in-depth knowledge of our city government will be vitally important in ensuring the progress we seek—by ensuring that Council works effectively and efficiently. I can supply that necessary experience and knowledge in a leadership role. What I bring to the job includes over five years of experience as a Council member, in-depth knowledge of city business and the background of the issues and decisions Council will need to deal with, and personal acquaintance with the other members of the city leadership team (both Council members and staff) and their goals and priorities for Oak Ridge.
As you all know, under our city charter, the seven members of Oak Ridge City Council are collectively responsible for the leadership of city government, with the mayor presiding as the chairman of the Council, functioning as the ceremonial head of the city, and serving as the city’s signatory for a variety of legal matters. Also, while not specifically authorized by the city charter, the mayor often is called upon to represent the city in substantive discussions with public and private parties at the local, state, and national level. In that context, and in recognition of the capabilities and talents of our seven Council members, I urge whoever is elected to serve as our mayor to:
- remember that the mayor is just one member of a strong collective leadership team that should work together, and
- enlist other council members to fulfill the roles of city representative and ceremonial leader to the maximum extent possible—let’s make the most of our individual talents and interests by matching the person to the role.
If you accept my offer to serve in your leadership, I will commit myself to doing those things—as part of working for all of you and for our entire city.
Ellen D. Smith
Oak Ridge City Council member-elect