Six seeking Alderman Position 4; runoff likely

By , Daily Memphian Updated: October 14, 2020 8:37 AM CT | Published: October 14, 2020 4:00 AM CT

Collierville has not had a runoff election since 2003, but one is likely this year as six people want to serve the final two years of the late Tom Allen’s term in Alderman Position 4. 

According to town ordinances, if one person does not get more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will take place Dec. 8. 


Suburban down-ballot races are competitive


Some of the half-dozen candidates are lifelong residents, others have civic engagement, but all want to listen to residents and see the suburb keep its small feel while remaining fiscally responsible amid the pandemic.

William Boone

William Boone isn’t a stranger to Collierville. He grew up in the town and even challenged Alderwoman Maureen Fraser in the 2018 election. The former town firefighter said he was asked by residents to run again. 

<strong>William Boone</strong>

William Boone

Growing up in Collierville, he believes he is in touch with residents. Boone has seen the changes in the town and like many, he wants to see Collierville retain its charm as it grows.

“Collierville made people feel real welcome, receptive. We have to keep that first of all,” he said of the town’s atmosphere. “Next thing, is we have to lay out Collierville so it doesn’t become so uncomfortable to people as far as driving and getting around.”

Boone believes the town has grown to a point where aldermen can split into districts, which would have to be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly and two-thirds of aldermen. Currently, aldermen serve at large.

He said board meetings are sometimes too short and rushed. He wants to make sure there is plenty of time for public comment, even if that means it lasts hours. Although residents can donate their speaking time to someone else, he would like to see them have more than three minutes each to address the board. In addition to town meetings, he wants to correspond via email and attend neighborhood meetings.

He understands the pandemic is taking a toll on everyone and wishes the officials would let people spread their tax payments out six months to a year until the pandemic is over. He also said the town may have to make its projects smaller if its revenue is less than projected.

William Lambert

William “Connor” Lambert is a junior at Rhodes College. He believes his young age sets him apart, and he can help prepare for the next generation of Collierville residents.

“I want to have a town I would be happy to live in 20 to 30 years from now,” he said.

He said the town should grow by building more homes and making multi-family accessible to more. He believes the small-town feel is preserved by the Town Square.

If the current pandemic leads to revenue shortfalls in next year’s budget, Lambert wants to look at where Collierville can get the best return on investment.

<strong>Connor Lambert</strong>

Connor Lambert

“For me, that would be looking to businesses that had shortfalls in revenue and operating costs and trying to help them manage those pitfalls, because I think that’s the greatest investment Collierville can make is in its small local businesses.”

He thinks his age can help him listen to residents as he knows how to communicate through various platforms. If more elected officials utilized those platforms, younger residents would become more involved in local government.

Missy Marshall

Missy Marshall said she “seeks to serve others.”

<strong>Missy Marshall</strong>

Missy Marshall

She serves on the town’s Planning Commission and is the executive director of Keep Tennessee Beautiful Commission. Under three former governors, she served in eight state departments. 

“I love our community, and I would like to use my 24 years of public service and leadership experience as well as my passion for growing and mentoring future servant leaders to help preserve the quality life we have all grown to love and appreciate here in Collierville,” Marshall said.

Town leaders have been good stewards of resources, she said, but no one planned for COVID-19. She said because of the current leadership, Collierville should be able to address any shortfalls associated with the virus.

“You have to prioritize where necessities are,” she said. “You cannot run government like a business, but you certainly can apply business principles to the operations of government.”

She believes the town communicates well and residents sometimes need help knowing where to look. She wants to make sure citizens are aware of important issues as they are addressed by town government.

“Always advocating and working toward an open line of communication,” Marshall added.

She wants to see responsible growth and reinvestment in some areas.

“Growth is inevitable, especially when you are in a desirable place to live,” she said, later adding: “One way I feel we can preserve that small town feel we have is by civic engagement. When people are engaged and involved they are invested.”

Rick Rout

Rick Rout is the son of Jim Rout, former Shelby County mayor. He is in the insurance business currently, but believes his experience in the public and business sectors, community involvement and exposure to local government reflect his qualifications.

<strong>Rick Rout</strong>

Rick Rout

“If you can put the needs of others always first, and not the needs of yourself, you’re going to be a really good public servant,” Rout’s mentors, including his father, have told him. “The public servant is going to make the decisions that are most unpopular but for the better good of the entire community. I think we have too many self-serving politicians right now.”

He worked at FedEx and in the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office. Although he was fired from the Juvenile Court position, he sued and won the lawsuit.

He said Collierville needs to control its growth to maintain its quaintness.

“We can’t control how many people move to Collierville on a regular basis,” he said. “What we can control is where they move and what’s around them. ... We have to control how we grow and the rate we grow.”

Rout expects the pandemic to have minor impacts on the town’s revenue and believes any shortfalls can be handled.

He believes Collierville needs to reexamine priorities, stay fiscally responsible and manage tax dollars well.

Rout said “accessibility is huge” and believes he can better communicate with residents.

“We are a big town, but we are a small community,” he said. “Why aren’t these current aldermen hosting Q&A sessions?”

It’s something he is interested in implementing to help cultivate more conversations.

“If someone has a concern and they are going to bring it up and talk about it, it is a big concern to them,” Rout said. “As an elected official it should be a concern to me, and it will be.”

Scott Rozanski

Scott Rozanski is the owner of Spirit Architecture and his office is on Collierville Town Square. In the last 15 years, he’s spent time on the town’s Planning Commission, Historic District Commission and one year on the Design Review Commission.

<strong>Scott Rozanski</strong>

Scott Rozanski

He believes his experience professionally and civically, qualify him for the position

“I feel like I have a good broad background for most of the facets of governing at a town level.”

Rozanski said the suburb’s services and exceptional schools in addition to the unique feel made moving to Collierville an easy choice in 2003. 

Rozanski said the town can annex and keep that small-town feel by preserving the square. He believes growth should continue and “maintaining an absolute status quo” is not possible.

“There’s a certain density towns and small cities have by nature,” he said. “If it gets too dense people move away.”

In his profession, he is listening to what clients desire. He said it is critical that elected officials hear from constituents but residents “have to want to be involved.” He said homeowners associations and volunteer organizations in the community are a unique way to connect with residents.

He is also ready to communicate with them and knows technology is an effective way to accomplish that.

Although the pandemic could affect the town’s sales tax revenue, Rozanski believes Collierville will weather the pandemic well.

“We have a substantial enough (rainy day) fund, so we are not teeter-tottering,” he said. “We have to be adoptable with something this unknown.”

In his career, he is familiar with the nuances of a large budget. He looks at projections and makes multi-faceted budget for projects and the business.

The town holds work sessions throughout the year to look at department budgets and Rozanski said he is comfortable studying the various segments before making a decision.

Robert Smith

Robert Smith does not look at the election as a career move. He just wants to serve his hometown. He moved to Collierville about 25 years ago as a young child. He is the grandson of Mary Jean Smith, the owner of Silver Caboose Restaurant & Soda Fountain.

<strong>Robert Smith</strong>

Robert Smith

Smith is an airline pilot and has leadership experience as an officer in the military. 

He understands Collierville has potential to expand. He said prohibiting development is unrealistic, but wants to see “smart and limited growth” with low-density residential projects. He is against approval of any new apartments.

“They’re built for the short term,” he said. “They’re not likely to be reinvested in. ... Apartments don’t encourage reinvestment.”

Although town meetings are the official way to communicate with the board, he wants people to contact him through phone and email.

“I want people to know where I stand and also I want to know where people stand because they are the ones I am working (for), if I am elected.”

Smith wants Collierville to diversify its tax base so it is not heavily reliant on one form of tax and can hopefully keep property tax low. He hopes the pandemic has small impact on the budget.

“I’d like to see enough security in our budget to handle negative events in the market,” he said. 

In addition to Position 4 alderman seat, Positions 3 and 5 are contested and on the Nov. 3 ballot. Mayor Stan Joyner is running unopposed.

The school board has one contested race in Position 3, the seat held by Mark Hansen, who has decided to step down at the end of the year. Four residents are running for that office. Wanda Gibbs and Wright Cox are running unopposed for Positions 1 and 5, respectively.

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Topics

Collierville Collierville Board Of Mayor And Aldermen Alderman Position 4 Tom Allen William Boone Connor Lambert Missy Marshall Rick Rout Scott Rozanski Robert Smith
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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