BRISTOL, Tenn. — Breaking a decades-old tradition of Bristol Tennessee City Council members serving one term as mayor, Margaret Feierabend was chosen Tuesday night to serve a second consecutive term as mayor.
“I want to thank my fellow City Council folks for the confidence, I want to thank the citizens of Bristol for the honor of serving and also thank our city staff for allowing me to work with y’all as well,” she said.
During its annual reorganizational meeting, new Councilmen Vince Turner and Mahlon Luttrell were also sworn in, and then Luttrell was appointed vice mayor.
In other business, council made appointments to several of the city’s boards and commissions, but held off making an appointment to the Bristol Tennessee Essential Services Power Board, leaving a spot on the board empty for a month.
Gary McGeough, who just finished his first term of three years and six months on the board, sought reappointment, and Douglas Harmon and Chad Couch also sought the position.
Councilwoman Lea Powers, noting that decisions to appoint members to the board had been contentious among council members in recent years, requested holding off on the vote and discussing the appointment and the slate of candidates in-depth at the next work session.
In 2018, it took council two months to fill a seat on the power board because council was split between members who supported longtime board member Pat Hickie and members who felt the board needed a new face.
Holding off on the vote, Powers said, would allow council to reach an informed consensus and ensure that the member selected would contribute the widest possible skill sets and knowledge to the board.
Councilman Chad Keen was the sole member to recommend that council vote on the appointment first and only discuss it during the next meeting if a consensus couldn’t be reached.
Ultimately, council voted four to one, Keen being the dissenting vote, to hold off on the vote until the August council meeting, and then voted unanimously to have the three candidates reapply for the position if they are interested, but keep the position closed to new applicants. Council’s next work session is on July 30, and its next general meeting is Aug. 6.
Council also voted to hire McGill Associates at a cost of $24,000 to develop a preliminary engineering report for a new nature trail that would run through the city near Beaver Creek. The report would include a preliminary route design, outline necessary right-of-way acquisition, show cost estimates as well as different options and recommendations for the Beaver Creek South Greenway.