Johnson City commissioners select Brock as 79th mayor, Wise as vice mayor

Zach Vance • Updated Dec 6, 2018 at 11:34 PM

In December 2016, Johnson City Commissioner Jenny Brock made clear she had an aspiration to become city mayor, but it was not meant to be as she garnered just one vote — her own — from the five-member governing body. 

While Brock was selected to be vice mayor that year, that single vote cast for herself sent a message that she was willing and persistent to one day become the city’s mayor.

Thursday was that day.

The first order of business for the new Johnson City Commission Thursday was to choose the successor to former Mayor David Tomita, whose term ended last month, and this time around, Brock did not have to nominate herself.

Commissioner Joe Wise nominated Brock to become mayor, and Commissioner Todd Fowler quickly motioned to close the nominating process before all five commissioners unanimously voted for Brock to become Johnson City’s 79th mayor, and first female mayor since Jane Myron’s term between 2008 and 2011.

The vote for vice mayor was a bit more interesting, with Wise narrowly edging Fowler in a 3-2 vote.

“It’s a real honor to be selected to serve as the vice mayor, and I’m pleased to serve with this particular commission. I think there are four other really committed community-minded volunteers serving in this commission, and it’s an honor to be a part of the leadership team,” Wise said.

Wise received votes from the newest Commissioner John Hunter, who made the nomination, Brock and himself. Commissioner Larry Calhoun nominated Fowler.

“I wish we could just have co-vice mayors since we have a couple of people that have an interest in serving in that position, and I certainly think either of these individuals could do a good job,” Calhoun said.

In her first few minutes as mayor, Brock greeted her family in the audience before reading from a prepared statement thanking her supporters and encapsulating her vision for the future.

“I’m humbled to serve this great city as a member of this new commission in the role of mayor,” Brock said.

“As we all know, serving the community as elected leader is never an individual effort, it’s a commitment by the whole family. I want to first and foremost thank my husband Michael, who’s eaten many meals by himself when I didn’t get home when I said I would. Mostly Michael, thank you for your honestly and giving me feedback, even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. When we decided that I would run for a second term, I realized it was a second term for you, too. I thank you and love you dearly.”

Brock also thanked her daughter, Jennifer Mrozek, who served as her campaign manager, graphic designer and the “best cheerleader you could ever have.”

Brock said her first goal is to sit down with her colleagues and draft a strategic plan for the coming years.

“Personally, I want to see us build a more resilient community so that our citizens are all connected and working together toward building a greater city,” Brock said.

Because voters do not directly elect Johnson City’s mayor, Brock made sure to address the belief that Johnson City has a “weak mayor” statutorily.

“I’ll never forget a few years ago, my oldest granddaughter called me after a class at Science Hill and she was very upset. She said, ‘Gran, my teacher said our mayor is weak.’ Now she knew our mayor at that time, and she knew he was not weak. I had to explain to her that it was the position, not the person,” Brock said.

“I will ensure you commissioners that the role of the mayor meets the intent of the charter while carrying it out as a strong person representing an even stronger commission. I believe this form of government has served Johnson City well, and it has gone through the test of time over the years. I will put the Johnson City Commission up as one of the most effective governing bodies anywhere because of that structure.”

In other business, commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance to adopt new building codes, approved their 2019 joint legislative policy for the state and approved an annexation request for property at 317 Green Pond Road.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos