Days after announcing that he would not be seeking reelection, Mayor Ed Hagerty says he’s accomplished all that he set out to accomplish in office.
Since Hagerty’s first year as mayor in 2010, Mt. Juliet’s population has grown by an estimated 50%. The city became hovme to a new high school, built a new fire hall, and welcomed countless new businesses from Pigeon Forge’s The Christmas Place to the new Amazon facility. The city has not only swelled in its business community but also in its geographic size.
Hagerty saw Mt. Juliet through a period of what he felt were insufficient building standards, and he’s also proud to leave the city with what he believes is better development quality than was initially available. Now, even the biggest projects like that of the new Amazon facility have had to contend with Mt. Juliet’s concerns about the aesthetic of a new façade.
“When I came in, I had asked some friends to describe Mt. Juliet to me. They replied, ‘That’s easy. It’s the land of metal buildings with brick fronts.’ I knew that could not bode well for a successful future.”
None of these things, however, are the achievements on which Hagerty chooses to focus. He pulls two primary focal points from his legacy as milestones of a job well done — the organization of the board of commissioners and a marked shift in building standards.
The board “was in disarray when I started as mayor,” he said. He considered the board to be rife with unprofessional drama that impinged upon productivity and efficiency at the time. This was under Mayor Linda Elam, with whom Hagerty served as vice mayor.
He spoke of “lots of dissension among the members, lots of in-fighting. My first goal was to end and bring proper decorum to the board. I realized it was a success when, about two months in, I was told my meetings are ‘boring.’ I replied, ‘mission accomplished.’ ”
Hagerty took over for Elam as mayor when she left behind an unexpired seat to take a seat in the Tennessee General Assembly. Hagerty’s own vice mayor, James Maness, is now rallying to replace him, but Hagerty declined to comment when asked how he felt about Maness running.
“I do believe the city is in a good place for whoever becomes the next mayor and commissioners,” he said.
The decision to step down, however, was a matter of tradition and his beliefs about the purpose of democratic practice, Hagerty said.
“Two full terms is the proper amount of time to serve,” Hagerty said. “This is in line with the traditions of our country and in line with the 22nd Amendment.”
That amendment to the U.S. Constitution limits presidents to two terms.