DAYTON, Tenn. — Dayton officials have installed a new mayor and vice mayor, and the City Council called for a special election to fill the seat vacated by the new mayor.
Gary Louallen, formerly a City Council member, was sworn in late Monday as Dayton's second popularly elected mayor, succeeding Bob Vincent who chose not to seek re-election. Councilman Steve Randolph then was elected vice mayor, succeeding Bobby Doss. Doss had faced Louallen in the April mayoral election.
At their regular meeting, councilmen adopted a resolution asking the Rhea County Election Commission to hold a special election July 24 to fill Louallen's vacated seat.
Councilman Bill Graham referred to a recent vote by the election commission to dismiss Election Administrator Theresa Snyder.
"If this election does not come off because of what the election commission has done, I will ask the council to take legal action for damages," he said.
The council heard complaints from several residents in the South Market Street-Idaho Avenue neighborhood that a company that operates group homes for mentally ill individuals surreptitiously purchased four houses in their area and has begun renovations. They expressed concerns about lead-based paint and asbestos being disturbed during renovations, about the safety of having mentally ill individuals in an area frequented by children walking to and from school, and the general safety of the neighborhood.
"I'm all about freedom," area resident David Tromanhauser said. "They can buy and sell to whomever they want. But the other side of the coin is you have a difficult task with balancing that right with keeping people safe."
Councilmen instructed codes enforcement officer Ronnie Raper to check the work immediately, and Randolph added, "I personally will do everything I can do to see you are protected. This came about before we knew about it."
In other matters, the council agreed to support a BassMaster weekend series regional tournament in September 2014. Louallen said about 200 boats would be here for the two-day tournament and five days of practice beforehand.
Also, the council agreed to support a Heartland Anglers tournament of about 350 boats in the first week of October this year.
Louallen said the tournaments typically fill all motel rooms in the county and provide a significant boost to the economy. The tournaments will cost $15,000 each, and the council will ask the Rhea County Commission to share the cost.
Tom is the director of public information at Bryan College and has been in the Dayton community for 30 years.