​Meet the Candidates: Monteagle City Council

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of interviews with some of the local candidates running for office. In alphabetical order, here are the second of the five candidates for the alderperson seats in Monteagle. The first five candidates were in the Sept. 25, 2020 issue, which is available online at www.sewaneemessenger.com.

Ten candidates are vying for the four open alderperson seats on the Monteagle City Council. The candidates addressed the following questions: How long have you lived in Monteagle? What special qualifications or past experience will you bring to the council? Why do you want to serve on the Monteagle City Council? Read on to learn about the candidates.

Jeffery O’Neal has lived in Monteagle for four years, spent most of his life in Whitwell, and as a supervisor for NUCO2 had the opportunity get to know many area restaurant and business owners. In O’Neal’s 18 years with the Whitwell Volunteer Fire Department, he served as both captain and assistant chief and often addressed the council about fire department business. That role also found him frequently interacting with police and dispatch. “I have a good feel for the leadership needed to bring safety and security to the city,” O’Neal said. “I’ve seen so much liability the city got into that could have been avoided if someone spoke up or did something sooner.” Top on O’Neal’s list is making sure “people know what’s going on.” He wants the city budget available for pickup at city hall and the minutes regularly posted on the website. “Communication is key,” O’Neal stressed.

Dorraine Parmley was born and raised in Monteagle and has lived here most of her life. She started working at the Piggly Wiggly two weeks before they opened the doors and has been there 36 years. Parmley has always been actively involved in the town. For many Christmas holiday parades, she and her husband suited up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. She regards the alderpersons and mayor as servants of the citizens. “People need to know what’s going on in the town,” Parmley said. She expressed concern about the pre-meeting council workshops. “Everything is settled before the meeting. People don’t know how the aldermen feel before they vote. And many people are afraid to ask questions.” Why is Parmley running for the council? “I want to be someone people can go to, someone they can phone when they have questions and complaints. I want to represent the people.”

Ron Terrill moved to Monteagle 41 years ago when his father retired from the military. In his long career in education, much of it as Franklin County Schools Director of Special Education, Terrill worked with children, parents, doctors, and county staff and learned to negotiate, compromise and be tolerant of others needs. “I wanted to represent the children to make their quality of life better, and that’s what I want to do for Monteagle citizens as an alderman.” Terrill advocates involving local talent and expertise in the council’s decision making. Monteagle can prosper by “taking advantage of what we have,” Terrill said, “the natural beauty, parks and rich history.” He expressed concern about limited low-income housing and stressed supporting Monteagle Elementary and keeping it open. “It’s remarkable what Monteagle has accomplished with no city tax,” Terrill said praising recent past mayors. “Monteagle is a place blessed by God.”

Jodean Wade was raised in nearby McMinnville and has live in Monteagle 30 years. No stranger to community involvement, Wade has worked as a substitute teacher at Monteagle Elementary School and currently coordinates the food program at the Senior Citizens’ Center. She has also been an active volunteer helping with Boy Scouts and in the concession stand during youth baseball. Wade is especially interested in Monteagle having more youth activities. She worked with the current counsel on the proposal to bring a Splash Park to Monteagle. The grant funded project would have been accessible to all ages as well as those with disabilities. “Having a new fire hall was more important,” Wade acknowledged, explaining why the Splash Park never became a reality. “I can work with any of the candidates that are running for the council,” she said. “I’m a fair and honest person. I love seeing Monteagle grow.”

Nate Wilson grew up in rural northwest Georgia and moved to Monteagle with his wife in 2004 when they bought a fixer-upper house. For the past 15 years, Wilson has worked as a volunteer for Monteagle and other area municipalities helping with tourism development and grant writing. Along with raising sheep, Wilson serves as the Domain Manager for the University of the South and Board President of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance. “I’ve been attending council meetings since I moved here,” Wilson said. “I think I understand a little bit about how the town works. I hope I can bring some expertise in long-term planning and grant writing to the town. I feel like I have a special skill for working with all people and hope to have the opportunity to work with whoever the new mayor and new council members are to help move Monteagle forward.”