Nashville Business Coalition (NBC) asked on Wednesday that residents of Nashville forego the opportunity to choose among competing candidates in the special election to select a mayor to serve out the remaining year of former Mayor Megan Barry’s term in August.
On Tuesday, Vice Mayor David Briley was sworn in as Mayor of Nashville after former Mayor Megan Barry resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to a felony.
“The business coalition, which operates a political action committee, wasted little time after the resignation of former Mayor Megan Barry on Tuesday to get behind Briley, voting Wednesday morning to back the former vice mayor,” The Tennessean reported on Wednesday morning.
The Tennessean also reported these comments from NBC’s chair of the board of directors, Nancy Stabell:
“We encourage all qualified candidates to give the voters of this great city ample opportunity to do what they have done so very well over the last quarter century — elect a great mayor,” said Nancy Stabell, the coalition’s chair. “We simply don’t believe that there is sufficient time between now and the August special election to allow voters that opportunity.
“Additionally, continuity of leadership over the next 18 months is absolutely critical to sustain Nashville’s success, and no one candidate’s political ambition should take precedence over what’s truly best for the city over the long term.”
“No one who has Nashville’s best interest at heart can truly say that a mayoral election a few weeks from now is a good idea or that potentially having four different administrations over a period of 18 months is the right path forward for our city,” Stabell added.
“Our entire organization is committed to giving Mayor Briley our full support,” she noted.
Stabell’s claim that NBC’s “entire organization” is committed to Briley was quickly debunked later in the day when Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee very publicly resigned from the group’s board in this tweet:
I strongly disagree with the Nashville Business Coalition’s decision about the Nashville Mayoral race, and I opposed them taking this action. As a result, I have resigned from their board, effective immediately.
— Bill Lee (@BillLeeTN) March 7, 2018
A number of other potential candidates are considering entering the race, including former mayoral candidates David Fox and Bill Freeman, Metro Council Member Erica Gilmore, and business executive Stuart McWhorter.
The Nashville Business Coalition’s unusual request that all other candidates stand down has no basis in law.
“The Metro Charter requires that an election take place during the next Metro general election, which would take place Aug. 2 to replace Barry full-time. The Davidson County Election Commission is set to meet Friday to add the mayoral election to the ballot,” The Tennessean reported, adding:
Although Briley, a former councilman, lacked support from the business community during his unsuccessful 2007 run for mayor, he aligns with them on a major issue this year.
Briley is pushing for passage of Nashville’s transit referendum on May 1, a proposal that is supported by the Nashville Business Coalition. Meanwhile, other possible mayoral contenders, Cooper and Fox, have opposed the transit plan.
Officers of the NBC Board of Directors include:
Chair & Treasurer: Nancy Stabell, Wood Stabell Law Group
Vice-chair: Brack Reed, Gresham, Smith & Partners
Secretary: Ben Freeland, Freeland Chevrolet
General Counsel: Dan Haskell, Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin PLLC
Other members of the NBC Board of Directors, subsequent to Lee’s resignation, include:
Greg Adkins, Tennessee Hospitality Association
Catie Lane Bailey, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis
Clay Bright, Brasfield & Gorrie
Toby Compton, Associated Builders and Contractors
Pete DeLay, Sherman Dixie Concrete Industries, Inc.
Margaret Dolan, Local Shares
Matt Gallivan, Quorum Health
Michael Lindseth, ThirdGen Properties, LLC
Alex Marks, Royal Investments, LLC
Lee Molette, The Molette Group
Ralph Schulz, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Jim Schmitz, Regions Bank
Charles Sueing, Nationwide Insurance, The Sueing Agency
James Weaver, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis
You can read the full statement released by the Nashville Business Coalition on Wednesday here:
Stability, continuity of Metro Government is critical to continued success.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 7, 2018) – Nashville Business Coalition (NBC), a political action committee composed of a diverse group of business leaders and organizations, today urges Nashville Mayor David Briley to run for re-election in the August special election as a priority to ensure continuity to stabilize city management.
“Given the current controversy and change in city leadership, it’s imperative that Nashville establishes stability in city management. Though Mayor Briley has not announced an intention to run in August to complete the full term, Nashville Business Coalition urges him to consider that step in the best interests of Metro Government and Nashville,” said attorney Nancy Stabell, NBC Board Chair. “Continuity in leadership at this time is essential to achieve a stable environment for city management and continued success of economic recruitment and investment. The potential of four mayors serving in an 18-month period would create an unstable and unreliable environment that we should be wise to avoid. Such a situation would create a climate of uncertainty for economic development prospects and idle or even reverse economic progress. Mayor Briley has the ability to provide a steady, guiding hand to the government and regain confidence in Nashville both locally and nationally.”
The Nashville Business Coalition board considers Mayor Briley as an experienced and capable leader who possesses both the necessary experience leadership qualities Nashville needs to stabilize management for the next 18 months until the regularly scheduled mayoral election in August of 2019. Mayor Briley has very capably served Nashville for more than 10 years as an At-Large Council representative and as Vice Mayor.
The board cites Briley’s strong and deep relationships across all parts of the city and the region, with the Metro Council, and throughout Nashville’s diverse business community that makes him the best person to immediately bring stability, trust, and transparency to the mayor’s office at this critical point in Nashville’s history.
Stabell said, “Our organization is focused on ensuring that Nashville remains a vibrant city with a strong record of growth for years and years to come. No one who has Nashville’s best interest at heart can truly say that a mayoral election a few weeks from now is a good idea or that potentially having four different administrations over a period of 18 months is the right path forward for our city. Our entire organization is committed to giving Mayor Briley our full support. We urge him to run, and we urge voters to consider extending his contract, so to speak, until August of 2019.”