McKinney selected as city mayor

Janie McKinney

By Thomas Wilson
star staff

  Elizabethton City Councilwoman Janie McKinney became Mayor Janie McKinney on Tuesday after winning the support of council members.
  McKinney is the city's new chief executive officer and only the second woman ever to hold the mayor's office after winning the seat with a 5-to-2 vote from fellow council members. She defeated mayor pro tem and fellow nominee Sam Shipley.
  "It is not about me; it's about the city," said McKinney, who was nominated for the seat by Councilman Bill Carter. "Everyone on the council loves the city of Elizabethton and that is what's first."
  Tuesday's events began with Councilman Richard Sammons and councilmen-elect Curt Alexander and Charles LaPorte being sworn into office by Sessions Judge John Walton. Sitting Mayor Sam LaPorte stepped down and turned the gavel over to Walton to take nominations for the council's reorganization.
  After Carter nominated McKinney, Sammons nominated Shipley for the office. McKinney picked up votes from Alexander, Pat "Red" Bowers, Carter and LaPorte on a roll call vote of council members.
  Lewis Merryman was also sworn in as city judge just before the council ceremony.
  McKinney, who received a bouquet of flowers from an aunt at the ceremony, said she was overwhelmed at becoming mayor. She said she wants to maintain the council's role as a servant of the citizens and a forum for the people to discuss their concerns.
  "(I want) the people, when they have a problem, to come to council and express it," she said. "It is their town.
  "I want to see us continue to grow for our people."
  McKinney follows Peggy Merryman as the only two women to serve as city mayor.
  After McKinney's selection, Carter won the mayor pro tem seat with a 4-to-3 vote of council members over fellow nominee Sammons. Carter, who was nominated by Bowers, received votes from his nominating councilman as well as McKinney, Charles LaPorte, and himself. Sammons won votes from Alexander and Shipley.
  Carter served with the Elizabethton Fire Department for over 30 years until his retirement in 1992. He served as department chief from 1982 until his retirement.
  McKinney won her first term to council in 1998 and was re-elected in 2002. After the meeting, McKinney said she wants to maintain council unity that has served the membership so well during the past several years.
  "I have one vote," she said. "The mayor has no more votes and power than anyone else."