Remembering Commissioners Smithson, Chalfant and the Way Forward

Since my last newsletter, we have lost two remarkable public servants with the passing of Regina Smithson and Bert Chalfant. I am profoundly grateful to have had the pleasure of knowing both, and will miss them each.

There is no “replacing” Commissioner Smithson, but as a commission we are tasked with finding someone to fill the unexpired remainder of her term. This will happen through a very important Special Election January 12, 2023, and I strongly encourage you to actively participate.

Commissioner Bert Chalfant was first elected to the Williamson County Commission in 1986 and has served with distinction. As our community has grown, Commissioner Chalfant consistently kept his focus on funding for essential public services. Please keep his wife and their family in your thoughts.

In the meantime, my work for the City of Brentwood continues, and my plan is to continue to focus on retaining Brentwood’s status as the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

As always, your perspective and feedback is important to me, and you can reach me at either if it’s not “on fire” and 615-917-1384 (voice or text) if it is.

Sincere thanks to friends who contribute the process of creating this newsletter. Keeping people informed is vital to good governance, and “it takes a village.” I link to source material whenever possible and welcome your questions or suggestions.


Remembering Commissioner Regina Smithson

As I tried to put something together to adequately capture what Regina Smithson means to Brentwood, I realized what a daunting challenge it is. Her combination of “head and heart” set a high bar for how to balance our duties as commissioners. Over her years of service, Commissioner Smithson has contributed mightily to the Brentwood Library, Murray Lane, Eddy Arnold Amphitheater, and many other projects. Rather than try to sum it up myself, I have a link to a video where Regina tells her story in her own words. I hope it means as much to your as it does to me.

Commissioner Regina Smithson recounting her time on the Brentwood City Commission
Williamson County Commissioner Bert Chalfant Jr.

Indoor Tennis in the City of Brentwood

  • As tennis operations wind down at the Maryland Farms YMCA, I would like us to find a way to support this healthy sport while being judicious about how we deploy taxpayer funds and other assets (such as valuable parkland).
  • Brentwood City Commission is working through options ranging from “let the free market handle it” to putting up a full-service publicly-funded tennis club. While I don’t think either extreme is desirable or likely, there are serious considerations we need to work through, such as:
    • How do we balance the financial contribution between Brentwood-resident tennis players, non-resident tennis players, and residents who do not participate in tennis at all?
    • Is there an opportunity to work with Williamson County like we do with the Indoor Sports Complex?
    • Who has the expertise to run something like indoor tennis cost effectively and at a quality level acceptable for the community?
    • How long would it take to bring indoor tennis on-line?
    • How would a project like this interact with something like the proposed USTA tennis facility in Spring HIll?
    • Where would something like this go, and what impact would it have on the surrounding roads and residences?
  • Williamson County Parks & Recreation is developing a Master Plan (including tennis), and they are hosting four public meetings including one at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library on Thursday, Sept 22, 5-7pm. You can find full details here.
  • Of course, there are many outdoor tennis courts already in our Brentwood Park System, including 7 lighted courts at Crockett Park and 4 more at Granny White Park.
  • I really appreciate your engagement and would enjoy any additional thoughts you are willing to share.
Concept drawing for a proposed tennis facility in Spring Hill

Granny White Park and Rotary Pavilion

  • The Rotary Pavilion has not been in service during the construction of the Miles Together Inclusive Playground, and the construction zone has impacted site maintenance leaving tall grass and weeds.
  • The pavilion goes back into service September 8th and Brentwood Parks & Recreation has already begun prep work to get the facility ready to go. They began pressure washing last week and will begin landscaping items and mulching later this week and next. Repairs to the ceiling are also on our “to do” list.
  • Granny White Park is about 30 years old now, and both the pavilion and ball complex will be reviewed for a major renovation in the coming years.

Follow Up on Previous News

Rezoning the location of the oldest office building in Maryland Farms from C1 to C2.

  • As covered in my previous two newsletters (here and here), we voted on a proposal to rezone a “doughnut hole” of C1 zoning in our C2 district to allow the oldest office building in Maryland Farms to be transformed into retail, a restaurant, and a hotel.
  • Public feedback I received on this proposal was almost entirely favorable, and the rezoning to C2 passed 4-3.
  • Oddly, commissioners who voted against this change cited concerns about “overrunning our infrastructure” and “overloading our sewer system” when opposing this proposal. I say this is odd because the expert data presented to the commission showed that the proposed project will generate less sewage and also reduced peak traffic compared to what would be built if the proposal failed and location remained C1.
  • If you would like to see the full discussion, a video is available here as well as print coverage on Brentwood Home Page.
One Eastpark -- the oldest building in Maryland Farms

Miles Together Inclusive Playground at Granny White Park


Brentwood Water Services best in Tennessee according to TDEC — Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little recognized comments by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Chief Engineer George Garden at a joint session regarding sewer performance and water quality about the outstanding job Brentwood is doing for our environment.

Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little commenting on the excellent performance by Brentwood Water Services


This Month’s Focus: What happens when we lose an elected official?

Losing anyone is sad, and having an elected leader pass away brings with it the additional challenge of finding somebody to step in and complete their term. Tennessee has a process set out to address these circumstances, and it is moving forward on both the city and county level.

Special election January 2023 for the unexpired portion of Commissioner Smithson’s term:

  • Since Commissioner Smithson was sworn in last summer, Tennessee allows a period where the remaining commissioners could appoint someone by majority vote. If appointed, that person would serve until the next City of Brentwood election, which happens Spring 2023. If the commission does not appoint anyone, then a special election is held, and the winner serves out the remainder of the term, which would be through the 2025 election.
  • At the August 22nd meeting of the Brentwood Board of Commissioners, the motion “I move that we fill the vacancy on the Board of Commissioners by way of a special election, with the date for the special election to be determined by the Williamson County Election Commission as provided by state law. I further move that the candidate receiving the highest number of votes in the special election shall serve the remainder of Commissioner Smithson’s term until the May 2025 regular City election” passed unanimously.
  • This means that there will be a very important special election on Thursday, January 12, 2023 (the date set by the Williamson County Election Commission). Early voting is likely to be between January 3rd and January 7th.
  • Petitions to run in this race will be made available through the Williamson County Election Commission starting around November 3rd, and the qualifying deadline is likely Thursday, December 1st.
  • You can find full details here.

In the case of County Commissioner Chalfant, he won his election but was not yet sworn in. Because there is a general election coming up, it means both parties can run a candidate for this seat on November 8th.

  • Commissioner Chalfant and Commissioner Tunnicliffe, both of whom serve District 7 on the Williamson County Commissioner, won the Republican Primary for this district and were then unopposed in their general election August 4th.
  • On Tuesday, September 13th, the Williamson County GOP will hold a Special Nomination Convention at the Cool Springs Marriott Convention Center, 700 Cool Springs Blvd, Franklin TN 37067.
  • In order to attend and vote at this convention, the criteria are:
    • Current Registered Voter residing in District 7, Williamson County
    • Must be an active member of the Republican Party
    • Must have voted in three (3) of the last four (4) Statewide Republican Primary elections – August 2022, March 2022, August 2020, August 2018
  • To prequalify and secure your attendance and ability to vote at the WCRP Nomination Convention, please register here by midnight Monday, September 6th, 2022.
  • If you attend, what you can expect on the Day of the Convention:
    • Doors will open at 4:45 pm for qualified voter sign in
    • Doors will close at 5:45 pm and Convention will begin promptly at 6:00 pm
    • Candidates will be given time to address the convention
    • Convention members will vote
    • After votes are counted and tallied, the candidate with the most votes will be announced as the District 7 Commission Republican Nominee

Williamson County Commissioners are very important to our community for a number of reasons, not the least of which is they fund Williamson County Schools, are responsible for the jail and court, and oversee the provision of many other critical services. If you live in District 7 and are eligible to participate, it is very important to make the time to attend this historic nominating convention. If you are not sure what district you are in, you can use the Tennessee District Lookup Tool to find out (link here).

As always, I’ve made every attempt to do my research and share what understanding I have, knowing that there is often even more to consider than what I’ve discovered. If you have something to add to this conversation, please drop me an email or give me a call. I continue to learn a lot from our residents, and I value you help.


Nelson Andrews
Vice Mayor
City of Brentwood

“From Brentwood, For Brentwood”


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