What does an Alderman do?
What exactly is the role of an alderman in Tullahoma? Why is it different here than, say, down the road in Manchester? Why does the city administrator propose the budget and policies? Who is responsible for accountability?
In Tullahoma, we call our elected legislative body the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen is a seven-member body consisting of one democratically elected mayor and six alderpersons who serve the city at large. Our elections are held on even-numbered years on the first Thursday in August, with each seat holding a four-year term.
As local legislators, your alderpersons are responsible to the citizens who elected them. Depending on the city’s charter, state law, and the chosen form of government, the specific role and responsibilities can vary significantly from city to city. It is possible that two neighboring cities could operate completely different from each other. Tullahoma has a Private Act Charter, meaning no other municipality in Tennessee operates the same as a Tullahoma. Our charter sets up what is commonly called a Council Administrator form of government. We will dive into the different forms of government allowed by law in Tennessee in a later installment. Today we will focus on the Council-Administrator form of government and how this sets the role of the Alderman.
The Alderman candidates
There are four open seats in this years election, with a total of seven candidates consisting of three incumbents and four new entries. Incumbents are candidates who currently hold the office they are seeking. This year four of the current alderman seats are up for re-election: Daniel Berry, Jimmy Blanks, Rupa Blackwell, and Sernobia McGee. All but Mayor Pro-Tem Blanks have chosen to seek re-election. The candidates are listed below in alphabetical order. Candidates have been linked to their online media.
When you head into the ballot box, you can vote for up to four candidates. In 2021, the Board of Mayor and Alderman changed the charter to move elections from a three-year cycle to a four-year cycle. Because of this re-organization, the top three vote getters will serve a four-year term expiring in 2026, with the fourth place serving two years.