Editor’s Note: The following story is part of a series of stories designed to educate voters on what each elected office does – and in some cases, doesn’t do – for the people of Wilson County.
The role of Wilson County mayor is one of the more recognizable positions within county government, but by definition, there are specific roles the county mayor has in government.
According to state law, “The county mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the county and shall have all the powers and duties formerly exercised by the county judge, county chair or elected official exercising general supervision of the county government as provided by state law, other general laws, special, local or private acts.”
According to Wilson County Finance Director Aaron Maynard, the Wilson County mayor “fills in the cracks” in a way by exercising authority over county organizations that do not already have an elected official that presides over them. For instance, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has a sheriff that’s elected to run the department, however, the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency does not have an elected director. Therefore, the county mayor appoints a director for that department.
The mayor also serves as a nonvoting member of the county commission. During Wilson County Commission meetings, the mayor will present items from the agenda to the commissioners, but will not vote on them. It is also the mayor’s responsibility to recommend appointees to committees for the full commission’s vote.
The biggest role of the county mayor is to act as a leader in all aspects of county government. The county mayor usually serves as chairman of the county commission, as well, and in that role, it is the mayor’s responsibility to recruit candidates for subcommittees. The mayor also has to meet with other elected county officials to ensure everyone works toward the same goals.
By the time a resolution reaches the commission, it has already passed through a subcommittee, where members recommended by the mayor discuss and approve it.
Maynard estimated an elected county mayor spends an average of 60 hours per week on the job to fulfill the various duties.
On Aug. 2, Wilson County voters will elect a mayor for the next four years. Incumbent Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto since 2010 will face former state Sen. Mae Beavers. Early voting begins July 13 and ends July 28.
The last day to register to vote in the Aug. 2 election is July 3. Residents can register online at wilsonvotes.com or call the election office at 615-444-0216.
By Jacob Smith