As Phil Bredesen made plans this week to spend his post-mayoral time working on education-related endeavors, Mayor-elect Bill Purcell was completing preparations for Tuesday’s inaugural ceremonies.
Purcell told the Scene his first official act will be to formally sign and continue the much-lauded ethics policy for Metro employees that Bredesen created when he was elected mayor in 1991.
In fact, as the mayor-elect made his way through the crowd at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza on election night, he emphasized to the Scene that Bredesen’s ethics policy is “absolutely” something that needs to continue.
Beyond that, Purcell says he promises to begin work immediately on the issues he talked about during the summer-long campaignschools, neighborhoods, and quality of lifealthough he says, “We’ll just have to wait and see” in what order those initiatives will come.
Meanwhile, the longest mayoral transition in the 36-year history of Metro (because of former Mayor Dick Fulton’s concession after the general election) has yet to yield a list of key staffers and department heads. “I don’t think we’re going to have any of our staffing announcements until probably this weekend,” says Purcell spokesman Patrick Willard.
That situation has outgoing Metro officials grumbling, because it means they’ll probably have to spend some of their personal time grooming their replacements. Purcell, however, didn’t want to begin considering staffing until after he was formally elected. But despite the whispered complaining, Purcell is getting high marks for the tone he’s setting within Metro.
His election-night festivities, which he shared generously with the other victorious candidates in the city elections last week, were admittedly touchy-feely. Heavy on harmony and group hugging, the “unity” celebration was like a ’90s rendition of a “We Are the World” production.
But even cynics had to admit that the gathering offered a refreshing tone of togetherness between a diverse Council and a new mayor.
With all due respect to Bredesen, who ushered in his own kind of refreshing government, Purcell’s victory celebration was nothing like any gathering the outgoing mayor would host.
As Van Morrison’s “Bright Side of the Road” played intermittently in the background, Purcell characterized his relationship with the new Metro Council, which “looks like the city of Nashville” as a “partnership,” saying, “that partnership will be visible here.”
Purcell’s inauguration Tuesday will be accompanied by a series of events, starting with a 9 a.m. prayer service at Fisk Chapel and ending with a public courthouse reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The official swearing-in ceremony starts at 4 p.m. at Hume-Fogg Magnet School on Broadway. Performing his swearing-in will be 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Cissy Daughtrey.
Moving next door
Meanwhile, Bredesen already has made arrangements for office space at the old Castner-Knott building on Church Street, where his second-floor corner office will have a view of the new downtown library now under construction.
Bredesen is taking two of his mayoral staffers with him on his private ventureassistant Janie Conyers (who probably knows more about what’s going on in Nashville than everyone but Bredesen; maybe more) and policy aide Steve Majchrzak, who has spent much of the mayor’s second term working on education initiatives.
While Bredesen’s business plans still aren’t entirely clear, sources say his company probably will deal with technology and education. “If I can put it together, we’ll have a company,” Bredesen says. “If I can’t, we won’t.”
The mayor will move out of his courthouse office Saturday and have the furniture he brought with him transported to the new office space, set to be completed sometime in early October.
Before the election, supporters of Vice Mayor-elect Ronnie Steine, who drubbed Tim Garrett Thursday with 58 percent of the vote, said they were worried about a recent Scene story. It quoted Steine as saying the prayer before Metro Council meetings should be inclusive to all religions. Highlighting Steine’s own Jewish faith, they said, could hurt the candidate among Bible Belt voters, because polling apparently showed that as many as 2 out of 10 wouldn’t vote for a non-Christian. Perhaps Nashvillians are more fair-minded than they get credit for.... Purcell campaign manager Matt Kuhn, who had a part in creating the desk symbolism so prominent in the campaign, has landed a job running another mayoral campaignof Rob Kerth, a Sacramento, Calif., council member running for an open seat.... Voters haven’t heard the last of Adam Dread. The last-place finisher in the runoff election for three Council at-large seats says he “definitely” plans to run again.
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