Frazier challenges incumbent Stamps for Alderman Position 5 in Collierville

By , Daily Memphian Updated: October 11, 2020 3:47 PM CT | Published: October 11, 2020 4:00 AM CT

John Stamps has deep roots in Collierville and a last name well known in the town. 

But Gregory Frazier, a retiree, says he has more time to serve in the part-time role as alderman and wants to unseat Stamps in the Position 5 office on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.


Four face off for open Collierville school board seat


The two are the only two candidates for the position that is part of the Nov. 3 ballot in the town. Two other alderman races and the mayor’s office also will be decided.

<strong>John Stamps</strong>

John Stamps

Stamps, a fourth-generation resident, was appointed to the seat in January 2015 following the death of alderman Jimmy Lott. He was elected to a full term for the first time in 2016.

<strong>Gregory Frazier</strong>

Gregory Frazier

“I still feel like there is a lot to be done,” Stamps said. “To take the experience that I’ve got for the last six years and be able to apply that moving forward is important to me.”

Frazier believes he can devote more time to the role because he is retired. Although it’s a part-time elected position, he realizes it is time consuming.

“Wherever I have lived, I’ve always tried to make a positive contribution,” he said, noting about 10 volunteer positions. “Serving is part of my DNA.”

He also believes he brings a voice that is not currently represented. He held several positions at FedEx before retiring.

“I am not a developer, I am not a realtor,” he said. “I bring something different. Any organization operates better when there is a diversity of experiences, backgrounds and professions.” 

Growth

Residents recognize the town has tremendous potential for growth, but they want to keep the small-town charm that so many cherish. It’s a challenge the board must address in moving forward in the town of approximately 52,600 residents.

“Keeping the charm is what our forefathers did,” Stamps said. “They wanted to keep the word ‘town’ and not call it a city. That was done intentionally to try and keep that feel. It all grows from town square. That’s what the charm is – keeping that small urban suburban feel with the growth we are experiencing around our town square.”

Stamps said schools have contributed to growth and notes there is potential to develop industrially, residentially and commercially, which helps the tax base. He said the town will have to “foster” how it grows, especially in agricultural areas –for example, in the southeast portion of the town.

“My intent is to keep that community town feel with the growth that we expect could happen,” Stamps said. 

He said they will also have to make sure infrastructure and services support it, and Collierville must continue cultivating “a good environment for growth.”

Frazier said when he moved to Collierville 25 years ago, the square lured him to the town.

“We must maintain the town square, and make sure it’s vibrant,” he said. “Not just filled with office space, but a place people relax … enjoy the beauty.”

Elected officials must strive to have relationships with people as that also helps keep the small-town feel, Frazier added. Due to growth in the town, he’d like to see aldermen serve in districts. Currently, they don’t serve by geographical boundaries.

“People feel they are left out, and that’s a terrible feeling to have,” he said. “If you have districts it makes it a little bit easier.”

For that to happen, the board must vote to amend the charter. Next, the Tennessee General Assembly would also have to approve and then receive the signature of the governor. Lastly, the amendment would have to be adopted by a two-thirds majority of Collierville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Stamps feels serving at-large is the best fit for Collierville at this time.

“With a smaller town, it seems that alderman should look for needs of entire town and decide as a group where they can allocate funds, for example,” Stamps said. “I feel that it is better to have an open position to look at needs for entire town and collectively making a decision (with the board) on what is fair and equitable for all of Collierville.”

COVID-19 and town budget

Even when effective treatment and prevention methods are widely available for the virus, both recognize it could have longer effects on the local community.

Frazier said with his leadership in various nonprofits and at FedEx have helped him learn how to look at a multimillion dollar budget.

“It’s a difficult time all the way around,” Frazier said, noting it would be “prudent” to have a rainy day fund.

Collierville consistently has strong reserves.

Frazier wants to see more of an emphasis on infrastructure, specifically road improvements. He also said the board may have to re-prioritize as it continues to face coronavirus-related challenges.

“One reason I want to move forward (on the board) is I understand how strong the community has been,” Stamps said.

Stamps said there the direct impact of COVID-19 is still uncertain.

“There could still be a lot of fallout we may see that we have to manage for a while,” Stamps said.

He said leaders must remain “fiscally responsible” moving forward.

“The leadership of the administration and board put us in a good position,” he said. 

Although some tough decisions were made to eliminate open positions, no one was laid off and merit increases were kept in the 2021 budget.

Public Safety

First responders are loved by residents, and candidates value their role in the community.

Frazier has been involved with Collierville Police Department for more than two decades. In the late 1990s, he became part of the police advisory board for the chief, which he still does today. Frazier also helped found the alumni association for Collierville’s Citizens Police Academy and he remains involved.

“One of the charms of a small town is safety, security along with relationships,” he said. “So police have always been important. I think people realize how important it is nowadays especially with what they have to go through. … I hope we continue to have support for our police support.”

He said the fire department has many EMTs, and punlic safety must remain a priority as the town grows . He said Collierville leaders must continue to support them and provide them adequate resources.

“I’m a firm believer in that,” he added. “People expect safety and security when the move to a community. That’s a number one priority.”

Stamps is proud to have been a part of hiring Police Chief Dale Lane earlier this year. He complimented Lane’s attitude and approach to the job and the positive environment it has created in the department. 

“I think the world of our police and fire,” he said. “We’re very proud of them.”

He knows it’s an area they must substantially support as the town continues to grow.

Giving residents a voice

As a retiree, Frazier believes he can devote adequate time to hearing residents and their concerns. He wants people to be able to call him and wants to meet with them.

“I understand the elected officials in town have full-time employment,” he said. “ I think that’s one of the attributes I can bring to the position … I can devote more time to listening to the residents of Collierville.”

Frazier previously served on the Planning Commission, as Baptist Collierville and Carriage Crossing drew strong opinions from residents. He said he listened to people, and he realizes final decisions will likely not please everyone.

“You have to take the input, look at the facts and not get emotionally attached to something in order to make a decision,” he said. 

Stamps said “giving of (his) time” is key as alderman.

“I make sure I am very accessible and very sensitive to the needs of people that actually approach and bring things to me,” he said, adding sometimes people just want to learn. “I am open to sitting down with people. I am voted in as a representative to the residents and to understand them and see what can be done or what can or cannot be done.”

He said he strives to listen to varying perspectives from which he can “learn and appreciate.”

“Being open helps me make decisions for the greater good of the community,” he said, adding all decisions by the board are made from a “sincere heart.”

Some express confusion as to the role of an alderman. Aldermen serve similar to city council members for a jurisdiction. It’s the legislative branch at the town level. Currently, aldermen serve at-large. Residents will elect three this year.

In addition to Position 5, aldermen races in Positions 3 and 4 are contested. Mayor Stan Joyner is running unopposed.

School board is also on the ballot and four people are seeking Position 3, currently held by Mark Hansen. Wanda Gibbs and Wright Cox are running unopposed for Positions 1 and 5, respectively. 

Early voting begins Wednesday. Election Day is Nov. 3.

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Topics

Collierville Gregory Frazier John Stamps Collierville Board of Mayor and Alderman Collierville 2020 election Alderman Position 5
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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