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Bartlett Politics




Friends to Elect Jason Sykes announced two key leadership positions today for their upcoming election. Sykes is running for Bartlett Alderman Position 6 on the November 6, 2012 ballot. The announcement signals a surge of support for the election. Brooks McDonald has been named Sykes’ campaign director. McDonald is the owner of McDonald Insurance Partners, a local Nationwide insurance business, and graduate of the Leadership Bartlett program where he serves as the 2012 class chair. Jane Garrett, who was named Women of the Year 2011 by the Bartlett Express and Lifeblood’s Volunteer of the Year 2010, has been named as the campaign’s volunteer manager. Garrett is the community relations director for Saint Francis Hospital – Bartlett and is also a graduate of the Leadership Bartlett program. Garrett serves on the Bartlett Area Chamber Foundation board and is a committee member on the Leadership Bartlett planning program. 
“I am proud to have Brooks and Jane as members of my leadership team,” said Sykes. “As a small business owner, Brooks brings a specific perspective to the campaign. And Jane’s energy and passion for our city is clear by her involvement. Both will be outstanding leaders as this campaign continues to move forward.”
The Friends to Elect Jason Sykes team has also named other key leadership positions within the campaign which include: Clay Banks, Mike Burns, Patrick Casey, Larry Hilbun, Beverly Holmgren, David Horne, Randy Lillard, Shannon Massey, Penny Medlock, John Roberts, and Mick Wright. To learn more about Jason Sykes and his candidacy for Bartlett Alderman, you can visit the website at: or email

Becky, Jacob and Jason Sykes

Getting to Know Jason Sykes

Candidate for Position 6 Alderman

Jason Sykes, 33, is a true son of Bartlett. Born to Jerry and Danita Sykes here in Bartlett, he has lived here his whole life. He loves his hometown and wants his son, Jacob, to love it just as much. The future of Bartlett is on his mind. That is why he is running for Alderman Position 6 in the 2012 election.

Sykes, a senior donor relations account executive, who coordinates Bartlett blood donations for Lifeblood, has found a calling helping people and the community.

"I am active in a lot of community work in Bartlett. Not just in Lifeblood," said Sykes. "I feel that I have a solid track record of service and I want that to continue (moving) forward in a broader leadership role for the city. I have an obligation to my city and to my family; And to my son in particular. I want him to know an even stronger Bartlett than what I knew."

Sykes is active in Leadership Bartlett, The Leadership Alumni, The Bartlett Beautiful Commission and the Bartlett Chamber. His love of the city he has grown up in is evident when he speaks of economic development and the school system of which he is a graduate.

"I am not one of those guys that just sits around the table and talks about the issues," said Sykes. "I want to go out there and do the work. That is just who I am. I am a true product of Bartlett. I was born and raised here. I went to public school here. I've never been gone. I've never moved away. I take a certain pride in that. I am very proud of the city of Bartlett. I want to maintain the standards and I want Bartlett to grow even stronger."

Sykes doesn't worry that his plate will get too full. He says he has prayed about it and given it a great deal of thought. He has surrounded himself with groups of what he sees as team players as the election year kicks off and said his wife, Becky, is on board as well.

"I was raised with the attitude, that if you appreciate and value something, you do not sit on the sidelines. You have a responsibility to contribute, and give back. Find a way to concern yourself, be committed and try to maintain that level of service and make it better," said Sykes. "That is just ingrained into me."

For more information about Jason Sykes bid for Position 6 Alderman visit

Position Number 6 

Say Hey to Jay!


A well qualified Jay Rainey was chosen by the Board of Aldermen Tuesday, November 22, to take the Position 6 seat vacated by John Barzano. Mr. Rainey is the retired chief administrative officer of the city of Bartlett and has returned on occasion to fill in for short periods of time when needed; and this seemed to be no exception. Alderman Rainey said he has no intentions of running for the seat in 2012, he is just filling in the seat for the next year. Thirteen people applied for the position and Alderman Rainey was chosen on nominations alone.


Saying "Good-Bye" to Alderman Barzano

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting October 25 was the last appearance for Alderman John Barzano who has resigned his position. Barzano is moving back to the Northeast to be with his parents and family after 23 years of living in the south and feels it is time to go back to his roots. He and his wife Diane are ready to return "home" to be with family although Barzano says he will miss Bartlett very much. For more pictures of the meeting see page Board of Mayor and Aldermen Meeting Oct. 25.

  Shelby County Board of Education Approves Members of Merger Transition Team

For Release: Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Shelby County Board of Education today approved its five selections to the school merger transition team during a Special Call Business Meeting. The selections are:

Tommy Hart: Tommy Hart is a former Shelby County Commissioner and also served as the Chairman of the County Commission. He was the President and CEO of Hart Manufacturing in Collierville and is presently associated with the Hart Properties Group.

Richard Holden: Richard Holden retired from Shelby County Schools while serving as the Chief of Operations in charge of building and maintaining schools. He also served as the Director of Planning and, prior to that, was in charge of student testing.

Rickey Jeans: In 1968, Rickey Jeans was one of the first African-American children to integrate Shelby County Schools. He later became an All-American football player at Collierville High and went on to play at and graduate from Vanderbilt University. He owns his own insurance agency in Memphis and next month will be inducted into the SCS Hall of Fame.

Keith McDonald: Keith McDonald has been Mayor of Bartlett for the past nine years and, prior to that, served as a Bartlett Alderman for five years. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Municipal League, as well as on the Board of Directors for the National League of Cities (NLC). He isalso past Chairman of the First Tier Suburbs Committee for the NLC.

Katie Stanton: Katie Stanton is a former teacher, principal and Director of Student Services for SCS. She was twice elected as President of the Shelby County Education Association and also served as the President of the Tennessee Education Association. She is presently working with Christian Brothers University supervising and evaluating student teachers.

Town Hall Forum focuses on Municipal School District

Anyone that may be interested in starting a Shelby County Neighborhood Association to discuss the future of the children of Shelby County's education email Pete Martin at

By Dawn Boone 

At the Town Hall Forum, held March 3 at Bartlett Municipal Station, it was evident that the citizens of Bartlett, in attendance, were serious about not letting the students of Bartlett be part of a school system that includes Memphis City Schools.

Jacquie Gore said she had collected quite a few questions before the Town Hall Forum, much of them the same question. Declining to share the question, it was evident after the meeting what it must have been. How much would it cost for Bartlett to have it’s own school system?

Bartlett is, after all, its own municipality. Why couldn’t Bartlett form their own school system if Memphis and Shelby County Schools were forced to merge?

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald opened the Forum by referring to a time over a decade ago when Memphis had once before threatened to give up their charter because Shelby County Board asked for Special School District Status so that boundaries could be frozen.

McDonald explained he felt the failure was because of taxing priorities that would have been brought on by the Special School District Status. And he feels that is still a problem today.

The Mayor said that he had heard from several Bartlett residents who wanted a municipal district for the authority and autonomy it would give Bartlett residents over their schools.

There are approximately 10,703 school age children in Bartlett.* approximately 6,271 of those children attend public schools within the city limits Bartlett.

While much of the talk was about Bartlett actually starting their own school system, should Memphis dissolve its charter, the cost in taxes was covered quite quickly and without much ruse from the 150 or so attendees. The estimated cost is between .75 cents to $1 rise in taxes for Bartlett residents. The net book value on the schools located within the city limits of Bartlett is 65 million dollars. Which opened another discussion.

“The only way we could do that,” said McDonald, “Is with a bond issue. I don’t know if you have been reading any financial magazines or even the local paper, but they are not getting a good rap.”

The Mayor said he had spoke with David Pickler about Shelby County giving Bartlett the schools in the municipality.

“The answer I got from David Pickler was his understanding of advice from the attorney of the County School System,” said McDonald, “There was a big question about whether or not if the schools were unified, whether or not they could sell, lease or give any of those schools to us based on the new unified school system for better school buildings.”

The Mayor went on to say that if the School Board couldn’t give, sell or lease Bartlett the schools within Bartlett’s own city limits because they were so “much better” than other schools, the other schools must be some really bad off buildings.

Although the Mayor began the meeting directly broaching the subject of a municipal school system for the city, he pointed out the other direction.

“Now, municipal schools are not our only option. And I think, so far, based on the information I have, based on an economic standpoint, purely economical. The best solution for us is to have at least most of what we now know as the Shelby County School System deemed a Special School District. That way the infrastructure is all in place. The books, the curriculum, the buildings, the administration, the things that they need. Transportation, all those things exist,” said McDonald.

Turning the floor over to the other speakers present included State Representatives Ron Lollar and Jim Coley, Coley is also an educator at Bolton High School, questions were held until the end of the night.

State Representative Lollar was very passionate about his stand against consolidating the two districts, “They can’t care about the kids, if they continue to make the kids of the city feel like they are not wanted by anybody. If you know anybody in the city, make sure they get out and vote. Vote No. They are planning to sue us again over the Norris-Todd law. They are going to sue us every time they get a chance and they are going to use our money to sue us with.”

Representative Coley perhaps explained the situation with the school systems best when he said they didn’t understand the communities like Bartlett.

“I think they are foreigners. I don’t they grew up in this community. I don’t think they really understand how devastating all these different types of plans are. They are destroying our sense of community and their vision is unclear,” said Coley.

Mayor McDonald made a clear point when he said “If the referendum fails or passes it is a two edge sword, in my opinion. That is what I am speaking in right now, my opinion. If the referendum passes, the Norris-Todd Bill goes into effect, that’s about a two and half year planning period and at the end of that period it removes prohibition on Special School Districts. If it fails, the possibility exist that things go back to like they were. That assumes the City Council of Memphis will honor the vote of their citizens. But we will have to see whether that happens or not.”

Mayor McDonald never swayed from his loyalty to the citizens of Bartlett. “But if we can’t get Special School District status, the way we should get it, but we could get Municipal School Systems passed; my question is – could we afford not to do it? What happens to our property values?”

The Mayor went on to say that he does care about the education of all 150,000 children in both districts but “He has an elected responsibility for 10,703.” He wants the other elected officials for those other 140,000 children to be working just as diligently to be sure those children are properly educated.

A few questions were asked at the end of the forum; however one attendee made it very clear to the Mayor that Bartlettonians were ready to do whatever it takes to ensure Bartlett children got the best public education possible. Even if that means “protesting somewhere, just tell us where.”

If only that would do anyone any good in situations like this.

  *More accurate numbers will be released in April with the 2010 Census.


Stefanie McGee named "City Clerk of the Year" in Tennessee

Stefanie received an award showing appreciation for all of her hard work.* 5555 Tylertown Avenue * Bartlett, Tennessee 38134 * Phone: (901) 606-3836 Fax: (901) 248-0681 Email

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