Written by: Charlene Arnold and Amanda Blake
After eight years in the position, Katie Lamb is no longer mayor of Collegedale, although she will continue to serve as a commissioner. The new mayor is Morty Lloyd, who joined the commission last month.
Lloyd was sworn in as a commissioner during the Dec. 5 Collegedale Commission meeting, which can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel. He was then nominated for mayor by Vice Mayor Tim Johnson and voted in. Johnson was also voted in again as vice mayor.
The city commission now consists of Lloyd; Johnson; Lamb; Debbie Baker, who joined the board the same time as Lamb in 2009; and the newest member, Tonya Sadler.
“I just want to say thank you for the commission allowing me the opportunity to be mayor the last eight years, but I look forward to continuing working up here on the bench with everybody else as a regular commissioner,” Lamb said at the end of the meeting. “I have met so many wonderful people across the state as your mayor, but I’m looking forward to just sitting back and letting Morty do it all.”
Lloyd responded to Lamb’s statement by thanking the commissioners for their confidence in him.
“Well, now former Mayor Lamb and Vice Mayor Johnson, I’m going to be leaning on the two of you,” Lloyd added. “ … We’ve got a whole lot of work to do. I look forward to serving the people of Collegedale.”
The change in leadership was not in response to Lamb’s mayoral performance, Baker wrote in an email to the Accent.
“Lamb still is an excellent commissioner and leader of the community,” she stated.
Baker wrote that she voted for Lloyd because no one else was nominated, and she was not going to nominate herself. She believes Lloyd is a capable candidate and will perform well.
In an email to the Accent, Sadler wrote that she did not choose to nominate anyone for mayor as she was interested in the position herself. She ran for commission on a platform to protect the people’s right to participate in politics and have their voices heard, Sadler wrote, which is why she would have been a strong mayor for the people of Collegedale. However, her campaign “challenged the ideas and practices of the other three commissioners.”
“I voted for Lloyd to be mayor because it appeared to me that the other commissioners were already in agreement on their selection,” Sadler wrote regarding her choice. “I feel like he has the means to do great things, but I am slightly disappointed that for the first time in Collegedale’s history we have a female majority commission but not one of us was nominated for a mayor or vice mayor seat.”
Sadler wrote that although Lloyd is new to the practices of Collegedale administration, she feels his heart is in the right place.
Lloyd wrote in an email to the Accent that he is happy to serve as the city’s mayor, although he became a commissioner without any expectations of attaining the position. He did, however, inform the commissioners after he joined the delegation that he was willing to serve as needed.
He described his experience thus far as “good, but challenging.” He mentioned the train derailment that occurred two weeks after he took office and the multiple meetings he had with Norfolk Southern as a result, as well as the Chinese New Year celebration at the Commons where he spoke.
“While I look forward to serving as mayor for the next four years, I must first thank Katie Lamb for all that she has done,” he wrote in the email. “During her tenure, Collegedale grew and developed into the city that we now enjoy. Getting there didn’t come easy. There were many hard decisions she had to make that [weren’t] always popular. I admire her tenacity and dedication to the cause. Because of her, we are a better city.”
In an interview with the Accent, Lamb said had she been nominated for mayor, she would have removed her name from consideration.
“Stepping down from mayor came about because another commissioner was nominated,” she said. “I was aware that the name was going to be put in [the] nomination. This was ok with me, as I felt eight years was long enough for one person to hold a position.”
Lamb said she has always had an interest in politics and wanted to give something back to the city where she has lived since 1972. So, she decided to run for office and was elected in 2009. Currently in the middle of her four-year term as commissioner, Lamb will have served a total of 16 years in Collegedale’s city government by the end of her term in 2024. She said she will not seek commission re-election due to her age, and she hopes younger individuals will take office.
When asked to describe the past couple years of her time in office, Lamb expressed that there was tension within the city’s leadership. The past few years felt like hitting a bump, she said, as the city began experiencing an increasing amount of conflict.
“There had been some uncomfortable relationships among the commissioners and some of the staff and so forth, which made things a little more difficult,” she said. “ … There had been a change in city manager, change in the police department as far as the chief was concerned. … We try to keep Collegedale off the front page of the newspaper, and that wasn’t happening, you know, so that put a little bit more tension in there, too — some of the lawsuits, some of what the police department was accused of. You don’t like to see that in your city.”
However, Lamb also shared her best memories as mayor and what she will miss most about the job.
“Being acquainted with other city officials enabled me to ‘pick their brain’ on various issues and get ideas of grants, standards, etc., that might enhance Collegedale,” Lamb said.
She remains a part of the Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund, she added, and will enjoy working with other city officials and mayors statewide.