More than two months after announcing her retirement, Bartlett Alderwoman Emily Elliott officially stepped down Tuesday, June 14, ending 24 years as an elected official in the suburb.
Elliott’s tenure dates to 1998 and continued through nearly six four-year terms on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. She is stepping down because she is moving out of the suburb after the death of her husband, Denis, last year. The veteran alderwoman struggled to express her feelings about ending her service to the suburbs, choking back tears as she spoke.
“There’s been difficult decisions and difficult issues to deal with over all these years,” Elliott said, “but the positives have certainly outweighed those hard things to decide.”
The recognition of Elliott’s service came at the end of a meeting where the board also approved the annual salaries of the mayor and three alderman positions on the November ballot. There also was a resolution encouraging homeowners to monitor the influx of rental property in the suburb and how to control the maintenance of the homes.
Ellliott and Denis were high school sweethearts, together for 50 years, including 47 years of marriage. A major factor in her decision is Bartlett’s lack of available empty-nester housing options, contributing to her move to the Arlington area once her new home is built.
“I won’t be resident (of Bartlett) as of (Wednesday) evening…so I must resign my seat,” said Elliott, a semi-retired registered nurse and clinic supervisor most recently working part-time for Mid-South Dermatology and Skin Care Clinic in Bartlett.
Bartlett Mayor A. Keith McDonald accepted Elliott’s resignation with “a great deal of regret” and presented her with a key to the city. The two have served together since the late 1990s.
Many city officials shared kind words for Elliott and her dedication and hard work.
“I’ve sat beside her for this year will be 16 years, and I’ve known her to be very honorable,” W.C. “Bubba” Pleasant said. “She doesn’t play games. She’s sincere all the time.”
Elliott’s memories include ride-alongs with the Bartlett police force, helping with the city’s fishing rodeos and Easter egg hunts, judging BBQ at the Bartlett Festival, awarding trophies at the Christmas parades, and most recently giving COVID vaccines.
One of her proudest moments raising funds to build the First Responders Monument at Appling Lake near the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center.
Over the years, Elliott served on the city’s Design Review Committee, Bartlett City Beautiful Commission, the Family Assistance Commission, and as chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
The BMA has 30 days to fill Elliott’s vacancy. They will consider interested candidates until June 24 for the interim position to finish out Elliott’s term until the end of the year.
“Depending how many candidates of interest we have, we’ll start the process after the 24th of interviews, and then having that completed by July 12. That may require special-called meetings. We’ll find out when we see how many candidates we have,” Mark Brown, the suburb’s chief administrative officer, said.
On Tuesday, the BMA also set the salary and vehicle stipend for the mayor for the four-year period beginning January 1, 2023, as well as the salary for aldermen Positions 1,2 and 3 serving over the same period. The full-time mayor will continue to make the current $105,000 annually, while part-time aldermen will earn $12,000 a year, also the same as currently.
The board also unanimously passed a resolution by Alderman David Parsons encouraging residents to look to their individual homeowner’s associations to address the problem of investors buying homes in their neighborhood.
“I brought this resolution forward in talking to other cities really around the whole nation who are facing the same issue as we are,” Parsons said. “We get a phone call every few days with people saying, ‘I missed out on a home because an investor purchased a home and offered a significant amount of money that we couldn’t afford to pay.’”
He believes the power is in the hands of the people to decide if they want to allow rentals in their neighborhoods.