CLEVELAND, Tenn. — City Councilman Charlie McKenzie withdrew his opposition to a redistricting map Monday, allowing the council to approve it.
Two weeks earlier, the map, which slightly alters some districts from which City Council and city school board members are elected, stalled on a 3-3 vote with one member voting "pass."
"It seemed to me that there was not enough input by the citizens in the process of redistricting," McKenzie said. "The citizens are the voters and taxpayers we are elected to represent. There should have been more notice to these taxpayers before a decision was made."
"I represent the 1st District, which is in my opinion the most important district in our city. The proposed new industrial park and the rebuilding of the proposed exit 20 are major developments in my district. The City Council needs to work as a group in promoting these projects as well as other important decisions," McKenzie read in his statement to the council.
He asked Councilmen George Poe and Richard Banks to change their votes from two weeks ago when they supported him and for Councilman Dale Hughes to vote in favor of the map after casting the "pass" vote earlier.
Mayor Tom Rowland thanked McKenzie for his cooperation.
"We need as much of that as we can get," he said.
The council then approved the map unanimously.
Meanwhile, the Bradley County Commission continues to redraw the county district lines with the goal of causing the least disruption while doing so. The lines must reflect one person/one vote as much as possible, based on the 2010 U.S. census.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...