Mayor-elect Mike Stanfield chose to leave the LaFollette Council and campaign against incumbent Mayor Cliff Jennings- the decision paid off. Stanfield is now preparing to take his seat as LaFollette Mayor.
Stanfield expressed his satisfaction with the election on Tuesday.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Stanfield about the community support. “I have had over 500 phone calls congratulating me from a lot people that has known me since I was a child. They start crying and that makes me feel warm hearted.”
Stanfield said he has devoted himself and his time to this position and plans to be in his office on a daily basis.
“I’ll make a good mayor,” said Stanfield. “I have a doctor’s appointment on the second and I told everyone I’d be in the office on the second so I’m going to cancel my doctor’s appointment. The doctor can wait, my job can’t.”
As he begins his first year of the four year term Stanfield spoke about creating a good working relationship among the council.
“I would like for us to work on cutting some costs,” said Stanfield. “I feel there is a lot of wasteful spending here in the city.”
Part of the mayor-elects plan for cutting costs is to get rid of the garbage fee for LaFollette residents. Stanfield plans to look where the money is being spent and see if the fee is justified or can be done away with, he said.
“As I stated while I was running for office, everybody is going to be accountable for their time,” said Stanfield. “If you work seven hours a day, you are going to get paid for seven hours a day.”
He continued saying the coming and going of city employees would be done away with. Stanfield said he believes some employees maybe abusing their time.
“It falls back on the department heads for letting it happen,” said Stanfield.
To bring a stop to the possible abuse of hours, Stanfield plans to propose to the council the use of time clocks instead of the current honor system method.
In a recent meeting with the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, Stanfield learned of over 500 people in the community who are currently jobless, he said.
Part of the first year initiative will be to work with other municipalities and the county mayor to bring industry to the area, he said.
“Whether its LaFollette, Jacksboro, Caryville or Jellico we’ve got to find some sort of jobs for our people,” said Stanfield. “All of us small cities are struggling to get by.”
Another first year initiative as mayor, Stanfield plans to reorganize the five-year paving project implemented by Jennings.
“Before we add any new sidewalks I want us to go back and look at existing sidewalks,” said Stanfield. “If we do decide to do new ones, I want to get the people involved from where the sidewalks are going to be put. If they want them or don’t want them.”
Stanfield recognized that many existing sidewalks are in disrepair and need to be repaved.
“We are going to do what the people want,” said Stanfield. “You’ll see the policemen in the neighborhoods more often and they’ll be checking on people as a courtesy for the taxpayers.”
Stanfield continued to state that if the city can help the taxpayers with any problems then he is going to try. Not only will the city look at individual situations, but also return phone calls and answer questions on a daily basis, he said.
While Stanfield’s focus is directed toward community concerns, he stated the department heads would also be examined in the next year
“We have some good department heads. I think we could see some improvements,” said Stanfield. “They are going to have to get control over their departments.”
While Stanfield has strong views about the current standing of the city, he realizes the mayor’s position on the council.
“I had more power on the city council,” said Stanfield of the seat he vacated.
The actions of some of the department heads during the campaign have discouraged Stanfield. However, he said that he is not coming into office to make changes and only the council will have the power to change these positions.
“I have worked for the city for some 30 years, I have always been there for the people-in their good times and the sad times,” said Stanfield. “I will be a good mayor cause my hearts in it.”
Stanfield said he has nothing to be ashamed of and mentioned an article recently published about him allegedly charging an X- rated movie to the city.
“One newspaper ran an article about an X-rated movie, I am 57 -years -old and I never rented, never bought an X-rated movie in my life,” said Stanfield. “There is no way I would ever charge it to the taxpayers’ credit card.”
He went on to say said he does not watch R-rated material much less X-rated.
Stanfield said he was retired in 2006 when he decided to run for city council. He served less then two years before being elected mayor.
He has been married to his wife and high school sweetheart Vinnie for over 38 years. They have two children and four grandchildren. Stanfield is a Vietnam veteran and a 16 year cancer survivor. These life lessons and blessings have a lasting effect on how he lives today, he said.
Stanfield will be sworn in on Dec. 1, as LaFollette City Mayor. He and the three newly elected councilmen will be present at the Dec 2 meeting.