Oneida’s Mayors 1917-2007
Only 19 men have held the post of Mayor of the Town of Oneida in the 90 years since its incorporation – and none have held office for longer consecutive years than the last two – 12 years for Denzil Pennington (1981-1994), and 13 and counting for incumbent Mayor Jack E. Lay. Several along the way served less than a term of office, most likely because they had stepped into the seat with the resignation of an incumbent. In the early days of the town, the term was for two years, and several of the men you see pictured here served single terms. The only mayor with a split term was C. Lee Smith, who served from 1941 until 1947, sat out two years when J. D. Caldwell was mayor, and then was back in the mayor's seat from 1949 to 1955.
All the mayors elected in Oneida up until the administration of Denzil Pennington were considered part-time, receiving only token compensation for their work. But during Pennington's terms of office, the charter was amended to make it a full-time, salaried position. After Mayor Jack F. Lay was elected, the Board of Aldermen have conducted annual performance and budget reviews to gradually increase the mayor's salary to an administrative level.
Only four of the town's mayors are still living: the incumbent, Denzil Pennington, Rodney West and Robert Carson. However, the daughter of the town's first mayor is still alive. Helen Carson, daughter of Leland Carson, is 88 and a resident of a local nursing home.
FNB Chronicle, Vol. 18, No. 3 – Summer 2007
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
This page was created by Timothy N. West and is copyrighted by him. All rights reserved.