Kevin Brooks was sworn in as the city's first new mayor in 27 years during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Cleveland City Council held Monday at the Museum Center.In addition, Councilmen Charlie …
Kevin Brooks was sworn in as the city's first new mayor in 27 years during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Cleveland City Council held Monday at the Museum Center.
In addition, Councilmen Charlie McKenzie and Bill Estes were administered the oath of office, as well as newly elected Councilman At-Large Ken Webb.
The mayor-elect was sworn in by Mayor Tom Rowland as he was surrounded by his wife, Kim, and children, Zach and Elizabeth. Also present were Brooks’ parents, as well as those of his wife.
The swearing-in ceremony at the Museum Center took place just blocks from the Lee University dorm where Brooks lived after he moved from Marietta, Ga., to attend the college in 1986 (formerly known as Lee College), graduating in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in history. The museum was also the locale of one of Rowland’s earliest achievements as mayor when he spearheaded its construction in the early years of his administration.
A reception immediately followed the in ceremony, which was standing-room only.
The event was attended by U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, state Sen. Todd Gardenhire and former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp.
The new mayor succeeds Rowland, who announced his intent to not seek re-election earlier this year. Rowland was first elected in 1991.
After administering the oath of office, Rowland placed a desk nameplate on the lectern emblazoned with “Kevin Brooks, Mayor”. Brooks was greeted by a standing ovation and applause.
“I want to say thank you to my wife and children,” Brooks said. “I also want to thank my parents and Kim’s parents. I would not be here without my family and faith.”
The Bible used during the oath of office was one given by Lee University President Dr. Paul Conn to Brooks when he graduated in 1990.
Shortly after taking the oath of office, Brooks assumed his mayoral duty of running the city council meeting.
“Now, I have some work to do,” Brooks said.
During the meeting, the minutes from the previous city council were waived.
Rowland then stood to inform Brooks that the state had approved renaming Exit 20 off of Interstate 75 in honor of Brooks. As a state representative, Brooks was instrumental in obtaining funding to construct new ramps and a bridge at the exit. The city council will vote on the renaming at a later date.
Shortly after, Brooks adjourned the meeting, stating, “that’s my first official act.”
Brooks served in the Tennessee House of Representatives for 12 years, representing the 24th District. He had previsouly submitted a letter to the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives stating his resignation would take place the moment he was sworn in as mayor.
He was elected Aug. 2, defeating former educator Duane Schriver, receiving over 60 percent of the ballots cast.
Brooks has served on numerous boards including MainStreet Cleveland, Habitat for Humanity, the Cleveland Planning Commission, the Rotary Club of Cleveland, division chair of the United Way of Bradley County, Operation Compassion and ATS – The Bridge of Cleveland.
He has won numerous awards including the 2018 Tennessee School Health Coalition Legislator of the Year, 2016 Bradley County GOP Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2016 Legislative Champion Award, the 2014 County Officials Outstanding Legislator of the Year, the 2012 Tennessee Civil Air Patrol Legislative Squadron Leader of the Year, the 2009 Rural Health Association Legislator of the Year, as well as many others.
He is noted for helping to secure funding for the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home, as well for Cleveland State Community College’s capital funding program. Brooks also sponsored the bill eliminating the Hall Tax, which had levied a tax on interest and dividend income.
During his tenure as state representative, Brooks served as vice chair of the House Finance Ways & Means Committee and was a member of the House Insurance and Banking Committee. In addition, Brooks was assistant majority leader from 2010 to 2016.
The new mayor is employed by the Church of God International Offices, were he works in public relations and conference management.
He has been married Kim Brooks for 29 years. She is employed by Lee University, where she is director of event planning.
Bradley County Commission Chairman Johnny Mull previously told the Cleveland Daily Banner there had been no discussion regarding appointing someone to fill Brooks' seat.
"We will probably just wait until the election," Mull said. "If we did appoint someone, it would just be for a two-month period.”
In that race, Bradley County Commissioner Mark Hall, a Republican, is opposing Democratic Party challenger Mallory Pickert. The election is Nov. 6.
Incumbent Councilmen Charlie McKenzie and Bill Estes, as well as newly-elected Councilman At-Large Ken Webb were sworn in by Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Sharp.
The certificates of election for Brooks, McKenzie, Estes and Webb were presented by Bradley County Election Commissioner Travis Henry.
McKenzie, who represents District 1, has served on the City Council since 2010. Estes has represented District 2 since 2006. It will be Webb’s first term as a member of the city council, succeeding Richard Banks, who has served on the council since 2003. Banks announced last year he would not be seeking re-election for another term.
The next meeting of the City Council will be at 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24 at the Municipal Building, which will be preceded by a 1 p.m. work session.
The city offices will be closed Monday, Oct. 8, for Columbus Day. In addition, there will be no City Council meeting on Oct. 8.
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