Phillips won't seek re-election

Thursday, December 20, 2007

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Changes are afoot at Lewisburg City Hall.

Mayor Bob Phillips has told friends he won't run for re-election. The tenure of a couple of councilmen has also become a topic of discussion among officials and city residents.

It was even a topic for a non-voting session of the City Council at City Hall set for Tuesday afternoon when discussion was also anticipated on the development of a pricing policy for land in the city business park.

Councilwoman Quinn Brandon, who was elected last spring, has been reading through the city charter and asked about a section that Phillips discussed last week as preparations were being made for the council's workshop.

"After a councilman misses three meetings in a row, council can look to replace him," Brandon said, reading from the pertinent section. She quickly added that the discussion was prompted by residents' representation is part of good stewardship, and not by prospective successors.

Councilmen Elvin White and Phil Sanders both had surgery recently and recovered in the NHC nursing home better known as Mary Hill among long-time residents. White has said he'd like to run again. Sanders has said he has no plans to run again, but might anyway.

"I'd hate to see them be replaced and then fully recover and want to come back," Phillips said as city staff was gathering records that would be relevant for discussion during the workshop.

Consultation with physicians might even be worthwhile, the mayor said, emphasizing his friendships with the two senior statesmen on the council.

Phillips also said he does not think Councilman Sanders will run again, either. "He said, 'We came in together and we'll go out together,'" the mayor said.

Sanders confirmed that statement, adding, "We always said that."

Sanders ' comments reflect a fondness for serving, but some consideration about a successor.

"We have a lot of good people in the ward, so if there are some who step out, that would be good," he said.

One or two people in the ward could be good members of council and that's been the topic of some discussions he's had, but the prospective candidates hadn't been approached, Sanders said.

"It's hard to say you won't" run again, he said. "I'm sure that some people say I'm getting too old."

Sanders is 83.

"But I've got some pretty good friends," Sanders continued, naming Jim Kennedy. "He's 87 and he gets around pretty good and plays golf."

Kennedy owns Southern Carton, a box company he started.

Sanders said he has recovered from back surgery. The operation was nearly a month ago at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin. His doctors sent him to Mary Hill for recovery and physical therapy.

Sanders pointed out that he has not missed a voting council meeting. Workshops such as the one Tuesday are for deliberations toward decisions. Votes are not conducted, but a consensus may be revealed.

Referring to his senior status on the council, Sanders said, "Elvin (White) is a year younger than I am."

White's surgery was at Maury Regional Hospital in Columbia and he says he hasn't missed "a whole lot" of meetings; "not over four-five this year. I try to be there.

"If nothing happens...for the rest of the story, please pick up a December 19th edition.