Brookhaven aldermen ready for new term
Six aldermen and one alderwoman-at-large will take their oaths of office June 29 along with returning Mayor Joe Cox, and for some it will be a new experience.
“I am looking forward to serving on the board and working with them for the next four years,” said Ward 4 Alderman Jason Snider, who defeated longtime Brookhaven businessman Rusty Yates for the opportunity.
Snider will join several other newcomers in the city’s leadership — Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore and Ward 6 Alderwoman Shelley Harrigill.
Snider, who will turn 30 the day after he’s sworn in as alderman, wants to help complete the city’s annexation plans — and see all city services finally available to the areas that are within the city’s limits.
“I’m excited about our board and looking forward to helping Brookhaven continue to thrive,” he said.
Others on the board have either kept their seats warm for another four-year run, or in Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron’s case, returned to it after some time away.
The board stayed the same in political makeup for the wards. Cameron, Moore and Wilson are Democrats, while Snider, Grice and Sullivan are Republicans. Harrigill ran as an independent, which was the same as her predecessor, David Phillips. Cox is a Republican as well.
Brookhaven, based on its population of 12,513, according to the 2010 Census, is divided into six wards with an alderman-at-large as well. Mayor and aldermen are considered full-time jobs. Aldermen are paid an annual salary of $18.447.36.
Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron
Cameron defeated Elisa Corley Jr., a Democrat, in the May primary. He lost his seat in 2013 to Randy Belcher, ending his 16-year tenure as the alderman for that ward. Belcher didn’t seek re-election to run for police chief. He lost in the primary to Kenneth Collins.
Cameron, 69, wants to secure a grant to establish a well-equipped teen center for the youth and create a safer environment for children in their communities. He also wants to improve property values by improving the appearance of the neighborhoods in Ward 1.
“Lots in Ward 1 need to be cleaned up in order to improve the appearance and value of property,” he said.
Cameron wants to see more streets paved in his ward as well as improvements to the drainage system. He’d like to build a park in the Brignall area on city-owned land.
Ward 2 Shannon Moore
Shannon Moore, 42, ran for office so he could be a help to his community. He wants to be a voice of the people.
“I believe that an alderman should be someone that has leadership skills, tough skin, and believe that they can make a difference no matter how small,” Moore said during his campaign.
From talking to residents, he believes the biggest issues are drainage problems in Ward 2, a lack of recreation opportunities and safety.
He said he plans to work with other city officials and departments to ensure that residents’ concerns are remedied.
Ward 3 Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson, 59, will be serving her fourth full term as alderwoman of Ward 3. She was first elected to office after winning a special election in 2004 to fill the unexpired seat of her husband, Rev. Jerry Wilson, who was elected as the District 1 supervisor for Lincoln County.
She won elections in 2005, 2009 and 2013.
Wilson said she wants to continue her work in the city.
She’d like to see better jobs available for residents and she’ll continue to work closely with the Industrial Development Foundation and the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce to help that happen.
She also wants to “continue to work with the city board in helping to make our city safe.”
Ward 4 Jason Snider
Snider wants to see the city continue on a positive path. He’s happy with the path the city is taken, “but there is much work that still needs to be done,” he said.
He said the board must aggressively recruit new business and industries in Brookhaven to ensure the availability of good jobs. Aldermen should also try to lure graduates back to the city after college to make their homes here, he said.
Ward 5 Fletcher Grice
Fletcher Grice ran unopposed and will begin his second four-year term.
Grice, 60, wants to see Brookhaven grow into a model city, one that is in good financial shape with business growth, great police and fire departments, and continuing infrastructure improvements.
That can only be accomplished by working as a team, he said.
Ward 6 Alderwoman Shelley M. Harrigill
Shelley M. Harrigill, 38, wants to use her experience as an attorney to help the city prosper.
She says she is up to the challenge of stretching tax dollars and adding to the coffers through grants, and state and federal programs. Like Snider, she feels that the board should actively recruit people to live and work in the city who will “contribute to growing our local economy,” she said.
Harrigill would like to see more parks in the city — at least one in each ward — and will work to secure funding for that, but public safety must be tackled first, she said, so parents and grandparents “don’t have to worry about their children’s ability to run freely and play as kids.”
Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan
Karen Sullivan, 75, has served two four-year terms as alderwoman-at-large. Her late husband Doug Sullivan was a former mayor of Brookhaven. In her third term, Sullivan will continue to fight blight.
Blight is one of the biggest problems the city sees, she said.
“One lot can drag down neighboring property values, discouraging people from investing in their own homes and deterring banks that could lend them money,” she said during her campaign. “I’ve been all over this city since 2009, and I can tell you that we have made some noticeable headway into this problem.”
Sullivan said enforcing codes is a long, drawn-out process, so she is appreciative when homeowners make improvements. Beautifying a neighborhood can start with one family taking the initiative in their own yard, she said.
Blight can be contagious, but so can beautification, she said.
“People who are used to seeing litter are more likely to litter,” she said. “Blighted lots become good places to hang out, to stash weapons or to use and sell drugs, and crime may be likely to follow. I would say that blight is also connected to many other problems such as health, poverty, failure in school, failure to secure a job and economic development.”