Wednesday, July 23, 2014 · 3:24 a.m.
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Councilwoman Deborah Scott looking over documents at a City Council meeting. (Photo: Staff)

Deborah Scott has announced she won't be seeking re-election to the Chattanooga City Council.

Scott, who represents District 1, will leave after serving only one term. The councilwoman was elected in 2009 to represent areas of Hixson, Lookout Valley, Moccasin Bend and Mountain Creek.

Her term will expire in April 2014.

In an extensive news release, Scott reflected on what will be her sole term on the council—detailing what she considered her biggest failures and greatest successes. Along with general frustration with "governmental sluggishness," the councilwoman listed the demands of the job and the desire to care for her 83-year-old mother as her primary reasons for not running again. 

Scott said that while on council she had clocked 60-80 hour workweeks, attended regular night and weekend meetings, responded to thousands of emails and phone calls, read reams of documents and researched numerous topics. 

"It has not been fun, joyous or glamorous, but it has been educational, intellectually stimulating and a deeply satisfying personal experience," Scott said. 

Describing herself as a "risk averse, analysis prone, tightwad that asks questions," Scott, often the lone no vote on items coming before the council, suggested many of her qualities as a legislator may not have endeared her to some of her colleagues.

"Any rooster can sit on a dais and crow 'aye,'" she said. "A 'nay' vote is more difficult. Knowing the basis for a vote is where the rubber meets the road. The privilege of casting one of nine votes should produce an insatiable desire to be informed enough to make an appropriate decision."

Scott said after taking office, she quickly learned that "many in government feel acutely threatened when asked questions."

Detailing what she considered personal shortcomings during her tenure, Scott said she regretted not being able to achieve her goals of a more efficient brush pickup system; imposing term limits on council members; aligning city elections with federal and state elections; reducing "nonessential budgetary expenditures;" strengthening expertise at the city's wastewater treatment facility; overhauling performance evaluations; seeing the city's first tax increment financing development be approved; and not being able to prevent a referendum on the city's recall statute from being added to next year's ballot. 

Listing what she considered her successes, Scott mentioned transparency brought to city affairs through changes to the city's website; city and county tax equality; accountability, effectiveness and affordability in government; and the creation of an independent office of internal audit for the city's finances. 

Scott is the third City Council member to announce they won't seek re-election next March. Councilwoman Sally Robinson and Councilman Andraé McGary have also said they don't intend to run.

Tom McCullogh and Matthew Ware have picked up papers to seek election to District 1 next year.

The election is March 5.

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