Press Release Paid for by Billy Woodard for Smith County Mayor

Press Release:

As a voter in Smith County you are going to pick a new Mayor in the August 2nd election.

Five candidates are running to be Smith County’s next Mayor.  I am one of those candidates.  The bait and switch of most political races is that the campaigns, prior to the vote, turn on grand visions and big promises rather than revealing the skills needed to do the job.  Making big promises gets a candidate noticed and even more so in a large field like 5 candidates.  That is a shame because candidates “promising skills” and “management skills” often differ.

Getting the job of Mayor and getting the job done as Mayor are two very different things.  A candidate must know what the job really is and you, the voter, must know the capability of each candidate to manage a complex operational and politically sensitive organization.  It is vital to choose someone with the right skills because executive ability is an essential skill for turning civic vision into civic reality.  Promises aren’t enough.

  1. Starting from Scratch:Even the most well-intentioned predecessor leaves questions that need to be answered. He has generally moved on to another job and other ventures which leaves a gap in the continuity of the office. That gap remains until the new Mayor can bring himself up to speed. The learning curve can be steep for the inexperienced person who does not have prior business management or government experience.  For many years now, we have been on a positive and steady path of growth and prosperity. Our financial standing is better than ever, our legal standing (litigation) is better than ever.  The productiveness of our county offices is as good as ever.  That didn’t happen overnight.  Yes, there is room for improvement, but a complete reset of the political environment makes that continuing progress difficult at best and in the wrong hands it is virtually impossible.
  2. About the budget:Fifty-three million dollars.  Yes, Smith County has a budget that big and approximately 850 employees in all departments, offices and schools.  To be effective they, at one time or another need a large swath of the Mayors time and attention.    Attention to financial details such as interest rates, bond rates and possible refinance of existing debt.  Attention to the funds and keeping the County Commission informed of changes and any needed actions.  Turning the budget in on time and keeping the tax rate as low as possible while providing the essential services demanded by the voters of Smith County.
  3. Emails, letters and meetings can swamp a new mayor: The mayor gets thousands of letters and emails each year.  Every one of them deserves a careful reply.  Fair and impartial service to the people of Smith County should be the hallmark of any Mayor elected.
  4. County Commission:The Mayor executes, but the Commission legislates.  Without 13 of the 24 commissioners voting in agreement all those campaign promises are dead on arrival. That’s why a candidate needs to be careful about making promises that he cannot keep.  The taxpayers need to be protected from “over the top” promises that are designed only to get a candidate elected and not designed to give the people of Smith County a fair distribution of services. In 2016 Smith County’s revenues were approximately $65,000,000.00 and those funds need to be budgeted properly to give the most service and be the best value for the people of Smith County.
  5. Employees – make or break:County employees live and work in the county and come from all corners of the county.  Some from outside.  Naturally they look to the Mayor to inspire them, help them know the importance of their work and to create a culture of excellence that surpasses personal agendas and serves the people of Smith County.
  6. Everything Else: Community breakfasts, fundraisers, food distributions, park management, industrial client visits, retention of current industry, neighboring counties and officials, Support agencies, the State Capitol, TDOT, TNECD, TN Dept of Tourist Development, TVA, county officials, not to mention taking care of yourself, your home and family, your own energy and health. Picking a Mayor is not a task the voters of Smith County should take lightly.  It should be thought out and deliberate.  Don’t vote based solely on kinship or the campaign “circus” of signs and ads.  Vote based on credentials, experience, skill and past voting record.

You need a Mayor who isn’t going to just show up overwhelmed each day and just react to what lands in his inbox.  A purely reactive mayor, hemmed in by the job, is unable to advance any vision at all. You need a Mayor who doesn’t buy into the “imperial mayoralty”, thinking that just by issuing orders, directives and commands, workers will follow.  Smith County will not run on automatic pilot.  It needs a steady hand and thought.

The Mayor’s job is a multitasking challenge and amid the clamor he needs the skills to be strategic and to lead with grace, wisdom humility and authenticity.  He must create policy, analysis and decision-making templates that will run for the duration of his time in office and beyond.

A tall order for anyone, but an enormous leap for a candidate who has not built a complex organization or led an extraordinarily diverse team through intense challenges before.

An attractive speech full of promises may be necessary for a candidate in the election, but it is not sufficient for a Mayor to succeed.  That’s why a voter must look at and consider managerial talent, experience and education before the vote.

We can secure our future thru continued progress, but not with inexperience, or campaign promises. On August 2 vote for the candidate with the skills, training and experience to lead Smith County into prosperity. Vote Billy Woodard.

Press Release Paid for by Billy Woodard for Smith County Mayor