By TOMI L. WILEYSpecial to The Wilson Post
MT. JULIET -- In a move attributed to being “out of touch,” the mayor of Mt. Juliet is reassuming her post on the regional planning commission and ousting a longstanding member and former chair of the commission.
Former Mt. Juliet Planning Commission chair Paul Deyo was asked this week to step down from the commission so Mt. Juliet Mayor Linda Elam may take back her seat at the table. Elam said Tuesday that she feels out of touch with some development in the city and that she’s “been off long enough.”
“There are some developments going on that I’m just not aware of, and I feel like I need to change that,” Elam said Tuesday. “I want to be more in touch with what’s going on.”
Elam met with recently voted Chair Jay Cameli and Vice Chair Luke Winchester to discuss who would be asked to step down, and Elam said she gave the commission ample notice.
“I asked several times if anyone was willing to resign,” she said, adding that none of the nine members were willing to resign voluntarily. She said she was then willing “to pull a name out of a hat,” but then settled on Deyo, since he had been on the planning commission since 2001 and “through two mayoral terms, and into a third, starting with the term of Kevin Mack.”
Deyo said he was surprised when he received the phone call from Cameli, asking him to step down.
“I would think they would want to keep experienced people on the planning commission in light of the complicated issues facing the city,” Deyo said.
Deyo added that he “speculates there are other issues involved” in the mayor asking him to resign from the board.
Planning Commissioner Bob Reed has, until recently, held the mayor’s seat on the commission but was removed. According to State law, the regional planning commission must have two commissioners seated who do not live within the city limits, which were Reed and Phil Smartt. Cameli said Tuesday that Elam has appointed Charles Goodman of 403 Woodlawn, to the vacant seat.
Deyo said he’d consider rejoining the commission on Tuesday, but in the meantime the former chair is “still around to help” new chair Cameli.
“I told Jay he could call me with any institutional history questions about things before he got there,” Deyo said. “I was, after all, on that commission for a long time.”
Editor’s Note: Tomi L. Wiley is the editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet.