At Monday’s Brentwood City Commission meeting, commissioners voted 4-3 to elect Rhea Little to serve as the city's next mayor.
To be elected mayor, four votes are needed. Commissioners Anne Dunn, Nelson Andrews and Regina Smithson all voted for Little, who also voted from himself for a total of four.
On the other hand, commissioners Ken Travis and Susannah Macmillan voted for Commissioner Mark Gorman, who also voted for himself for a total of three votes.
At the May 13 meeting, commissioners voted on various nominees for mayor during an unprecedented seven rounds, but none received enough votes to claim the position. Commissioners nominated for mayor at the May meeting were Gorman, Little and Smithson.
In a speech given before the vote on Monday, Smithson shared she would break the voting gridlock and withdraw her name from consideration, then would vote for Little instead.
“I’m personally glad that we didn’t decide on who would be mayor at our last meeting,” Smithson said. “This month has given me time to reflect on what I believe would be best for the city.”
After mentioning many examples of her dedication to the city over 28 years of service, Smithson said Little will represent all citizens of Brentwood well.
“I have turmoiled over this, and truly feel Rhea will step up to the plate and represent all the residents,” Smithson said.
Dunn thanked Smithson for her "selfless" decision to take her name out of the running for mayor.
“I want to thank Regina for being selfless in pulling her name out, because it was a difficult decision,” Dunn said. “I think Regina put the city first and made it a lot easier for people to come to a decision.”
However, Smithson also shared her thoughts on the past election cycle, describing it as one that “did not resemble our city’s profile.”
“After elections like what we just had, I’m personally sad about attacks or lack of information about sitting commissioners,” she said. “I’m also bothered by contributions made from sitting commissioners to candidates.”
After the deciding vote, Little made his way to his new front and center seat and thanked his fellow commissioners.
“I want to thank my fellow commissioners for giving me this honor and the good Lord above for calling me to serve, and mostly for the citizens who are so wonderful in this city,” he said.
Despite not voting for Little, Travis, who serves as vice mayor, congratulated the new mayor and said he looks forward to moving ahead as a commission.
“I’m a citizen of Brentwood; you’re my mayor,” Travis said. “With heartfelt joy, I’m glad we’ve moved on, because we need to do that.”