​Community Council Election Update

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Oct. 22 meeting, the Sewanee Community Council received an update on the council representatives’ election. The council also discussed the pros and cons of past and future venues for the community gathering with the trustees.
Six council seats are open for election. Pam Byerly (District 2) and Kate Reed (at-large seat) will seek reelection. Anna Palmer seeks election to the open District 1 seat, and Erik Keen seeks election to the open District 3 seat. Charles Whitmer who currently holds the District 3 seat will seek election to the other open at-large seat. There is no candidate for the open District 4 seat.
Early voting is now underway and will continue until Nov. 1 at the Lease Office during business hours. Regular voting will take place at Sewanee Elementary School coincident with the General Election on Nov. 6.
Council representative Phil White commented on the sparse community attendance at the recent reception where community members were invited to meet with council members and University trustees. A gathering inviting the public to meet informally with the Council and Trustees occurs twice annually.
“There are dozens of families that have been on the mountain for generations. When we had the meet and greet at the American Legion Hall and at the Community Center, those families were represented,” White said.
“At the venue that was chosen this time, I didn’t see those kinds of families,” White said. “Each place has a certain atmosphere. You bar a cliental when a certain décor etcetera isn’t comfortable.”
Superintendent of Leases Sally Green observed the business catering the meet and greet decided on the venue based on the menu they planned to serve.
Vice-Chancellor John McCardell suggested that prior to the next meet and greet event the council be informed of the proposed venue and invited to weigh in on the choice.
“We move the event around to different restaurants in the area,” Green said. The next meet and greet will be catered by the Blue Chair.
Commenting on topics reviewed by the Council agenda committee, but not included on the agenda, Provost Nancy Berner said, “In the interest of transparency, the agenda committee informs the council about topics not included so they’ll know the issues are being addressed.”
The agenda committee recently deferred an issue to the Lease Committee, which raised questions about building on University land and expressed frustration with the town planner.
“The Lease Committee reviews all building decisions,” Berner pointed out. “This wasn’t something the council could take action on.”
The Lease Committee meets the third Tuesday of each month, Green said. Agenda items are due by the fifth of the month.
“The Lease Committee can’t change ordinances,” Green noted, “but it can clarify policy.”
“The University has a constitution delineating ordinances,” McCardell explained. “Ordinance can be changed, but they need to be voted on by the board of regents. Council members are represented on the Lease Committee.”
The council meets next on Jan. 28.