Aug 23 2016
02:25 pm
By: amybroyles

Last night I represented the Second District at my last official Knox County Commission meeting. Whew! WALSTIB. However, if I'm going to plagiarize someone, perhaps it should be Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Both Knox County and I have been through some wonderful and painful transitions over the past eight years.

This has definitely been the most challenging, frustrating, stimulating, uplifting and ultimately satisfying job I've ever had (and I've had a LOT of jobs over the years!).

I remember Madeline telling me once when we were discussing term limits that, "If you do it right, you should be exhausted and ready to do something else after eight years." Well friends, I'm exhausted, and I'm definitely ready to do something else, so I hope that means I've done it right!

I am immensely grateful for the connections and friendships I've made with some truly remarkable people because of this position. Betty Bean stands out above most others, of course (she couldn't stand me at first, but I eventually wore her down, lol!).

Sitting next to Tony Norman for six years was truly a gift from the Universe, and I really mourned his loss when he left Commission. What a wonderful surprise to discover that Randy Smith, his successor, was just as delightful (although I've never seen Randy sneak off to the Small Assembly Room for yoga stretches during tense meetings). I have been grateful for his presence next to me up there - he is thoughtful and intelligent, a truly great public servant. His perspective as a risk manager for the county is quite valuable to the Commission, and I hope to see him move into a leadership role sometime soon.

How funny that the two Commissioners with whom I had the least in common both mentioned me in their remarks last night. Mike Brown mentioned that he and I often fought bitterly with each other, and that "sometimes we kissed and made up, and sometimes we didn't." I also have to thank him for so readily stepping into Paul Pinkston's role of lecturing me on my shortcomings as a human being and a public servant - lol! :) What he probably doesn't know is that I loved him so dearly I always kept tabs on him behind his back, checking in with his wife on his health and happiness. Jeff Ownby commented on the improbability that two people so diametrically opposed in so many ways could end up being such fast friends. We often disagreed, but worked very well together, and the best working road trip I ever took was with Jeff and his wife Jamie to a NACo Conference in North Carolina. I absolutely LOVED working with Jeff!

Sam McKenzie. Quite possibly the most intelligent person with whom I've ever worked, as well as a kindred spirit and ally. As I remarked last night, it's a toss-up as to who ended up on the losing side of the most votes, Sam or me! I really don't think I could have made it through this experience without Sam, and before him, Mark Harmon (who could ever forget "Lumpy Bingo?"). I hope I did Mark proud last night when I organized one last prank - this one on Sam, who left our final meeting with over 15 bags of Lay's Potato Chips: (link...)

Thanks to those who have shown leadership as well as friendship over the past eight years - Tank Strickland, Mike Hammond (still on call as my go-to source for parenting advice), Brad Anders, and Dave Wright. Bob Thomas has been a silent guardian and source of strength for me over the past two years, for which I am immensely grateful. The most exhilarating knock-down-drag-outs were always with Rick Briggs, who won a special place in my heart for teaching my Daisy Girl Scouts all about bee-keeping. I wish I could have spent more time working with John Schoonmaker and Ed Brantley - two dedicated and fun-loving colleagues. Ed Shouse, Mark Jones, Sherry Witt, Wolfie, Roy Braden, Hugh Holt, Melanie Wilck, Chris Caldwell, JJ Jones, Allison Rogers, Martha Buchanan, Lynne Liddington, Stephanie Welch, Liliana Burbano (who did an awesome job leading our NACo grant team over the past year), Dwight Van de Vate, Tom Salter, and countless others who serve Knox County (I know I'm leaving people out, I apologize!). Jolie Bonavita, Drucilla Stills, Jill Rosberg, and the ladies of the County Clerk's office keep us in line and make certain things run smoothly - I will miss them most of all. Knox County has some of the best employees in public administration, anywhere.

And can I just say, thank heavens for Gerald Witt, who never got a quote wrong and seemed to appreciate my sense of humor. Last night Dan Andrews, local photographer extraordinaire, left a lovely arrangement of large, fragrant white lilies on my desk - I don't think I have ever been so delighted or touched by a bouquet of flowers!

You can't serve effectively in public office without a lot of support at home. My family has graciously put up with crazy schedules, a constantly ringing phone, and others' demands on my time and attention. My husband is the absolute best in the world, standing by me while I fight my own battles, supporting me in high-pressure moments, and suffering a lack of anonymity. Our youngest were 2 and 6 when I was first elected, and are now 10 and 15 - they have literally grown up with a Mommy Commissioner, and have seen me both fail and succeed publicly - something I hope we have all learned from. They have both been a bit disappointed, anxious, and excited that I'm leaving office - it's a big transition for all of us!

I've had a lot of losses over the past eight years, but also some big wins. I'm very proud of the work I've done on behalf of children, women, seniors, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, county employees and other, often-marginalized, groups. I know I often made the guys uncomfortable by forcing them to discuss things like breastfeeding and pelvic exams, as well as racism, gender discrimination, religious intolerance, and public transportation, but they hung in there with me and are better men for it. Some of them may also have been uncomfortable with the constant hugging and "I love you"s - thanks for indulging me! I know I sometimes lost my temper or my composure - I haven't always been my best self, but I hope I have always been my authentic self.

I wish I could individually thank everyone in the Second District and across Knox County who I met and worked with over the past eight years! The neighborhood and community leaders, my neighbors and friends, the agitators and advocates. Those with whom I agreed, and especially those with whom I disagreed - I learned the most from you! And most of all, thanks to the people of the Second District for electing me. I invested myself fully on your behalf, and I loved every moment. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve you.

Anonymous42's picture

Congratulations Amy on a job

Congratulations Amy on a job well done! You've been the absolute best!

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