Taylor named mayor, White is vice mayor

After six years at the helm of Maryville City Council as mayor of the City of Maryville, Joe Swann took his seat as a Maryville City councilman Tuesday night and welcomed new Mayor Tom Taylor and Vice Mayor Andy White.

Swann has been on the council since 1997 and said it was easy to step away from the mayor’s position after seeing councilman Tom Taylor named mayor unanimously by the other council members.

“I know of no one in this community, seriously, no one, who has demonstrated their commitment to the community more than Tom,” Swann said.

Swann praised Taylor for his time working with the Boys Scouts. “He takes kids hiking all the time, and, when he’s not doing that, he is an incredible supporter of Maryville College. He’s done lot of things for the race relations issues, and he has -- in so many ways -- demonstrated his commitment to the community,” Swann said. “It’s really easy to turn the job over to somebody like that.”

Taylor, who is beginning his third term and has been on the council eight years, said he was humbled that council members named him mayor. “It’s probably the greatest honor, to be selected by your peers - people who know you best. In national elections, you don’t really know the candidates but in Maryville, you can’t get away with that. They know me, and then to get elected in spite of all that, it’s just a wonderful honor,” he said with a laugh.

Taylor said he has known seven of the past mayors. “They were all wonderfully public-minded men and always had the best of the City of Maryville at heart,” he said. “I plan to continue that tradition.”

White, who has been on the council for two years, said he was honored the council named him vice mayor. “I’m looking forward to serving the citizens of Maryville in that capacity. It’s a challenge. I was honored to be nominated, and I look forward to it.” Swann said he was proud of his time as mayor and realized how respected Maryville was whenever he traveled around the state. “You really find out how much people admire Maryville where ever you go, whether it is the great school system, the reputation of the town, the football team at the high school, the Foothills Fall Festival. There are all kinds of great things,” he said. “In Knoxville, I hear about our library and Greenway. Being an ambassador for Maryville means you get a lot of gratification when you tell people where you are from and see the look of admiration on their faces.”

Fred Metz was sworn in to fill the unexpired term of the late Ron Ivens, a longtime Maryville developer who succumbed to cancer earlier this year.

During a proclamation honoring Ivens before business began, council members shared their memories of Ivens. Metz talked about his time serving on the board of zoning appeals and the planning commission with Ivens.

“Sometimes on planning commission, we would deal with difficult issues and have difficult decisions to make. The place would be packed, passions would run high and in the heat of the moment, Ron could sit back and say, ‘Let’s think about what is best for the citizens of Maryville.’”

Metz said that even when he disagreed with Ivens, they always parted as friends after meetings. “Tonight I’m greatly honored and humbled to have been selected to fill out his term on council,” Metz said.

Swann, while serving in his last meeting as mayor, thanked the Ivens’ family for being at the meeting. “Nothing was more important to Ron than his family. Anyone who knew him knew his character was so strong. It had to have been forged in something that required him to rise above a situation.”

Swann said the council was a different body without him. “What we do is learn from people like Ron and get strength from people like Ron and honor his memory and remember all the many things that made him special,” he said.

Taylor said he and Ivens became quick friends after Taylor was elected to council. “We were best friends, like we had known each other all my life. He was a man of great passion. I never heard Ron take an issue and not have an opinion,” Taylor said.

The new mayor said Ivens had a soft spot in his heart for children.

“He formerly started the Maryville Children’s Fund in 2003 and was doing it long before he formed the Children’s Fund,” Taylor said.

Councilman Tommy Hunt praised Ivens for his foresight. “He had a vision for the city and the impact city had on business and the financial impact business had on the city,” Hunt said. “He knew both went hand-in-hand. A lot of good things the City of Maryville has today are part of his hard work and foresight.”

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