In our continuing series celebrating Brentwood’s 50th anniversary, today we are writing about Ann Dun, who has devoted her time and services to Brentwood for more than three decades.
The city of Brentwood has had the stability of Anne Dunn’s service to the community for over 30 years on the City Commission. She got involved in politics originally because of a neighborhood issue, and she hasn’t stopped. She stays involved because she loves the city that she has adopted and its residents.
Dunn was born in Belfast, Ireland and raised in North Carolina. She received an English degree from East Carolina University and worked as both a teacher and an insurance underwriter for Allstate. Once her children were born, she became a stay at home mom, but found her public voice after they left home. After serving for seven years on the Council, she ran for mayor.
“I felt there would be no difference in being mayor as a female,” said Dunn. “It never occurred to me that I would face any different challenges, and I didn’t. I felt that women were up to the task…I opted to toss my name in for mayor because my children were both off to college, and I had the extra time to devote to it. I thought I could do a good job.”
Over time, Dunn has seen the city grow and dealt with many issues, but she values the work of those who came before because they were, she feels, far-sighted.
“I think people should know just how valuable the vision, commitment and insight of the early leaders of Brentwood was in relation to where we are today. The city was incorporated in 1969, and they spent the first ten years organizing a government, departments, and services. Then true to their commitment to stay with the vision, in 1979, they made another pivotal decision in the city’s history. They set guidelines for development – the Brentwood 2000 Plan. Most cities were not that forward-thinking at that time. Brentwood has continued to do that. In 2000, we developed the 2020 plan, and have updated that as we approach that time. Now, you see other cities following suit, trying to get a handle on runaway development. Brentwood has followed these plans for 40 of its 50 wonderful years. I am so pleased that this year of celebrating our short history has paid homage to those people who started the city and helped residents appreciate what they did.”
In a recent story in the Williamson Herald, Dunn said that taking the oath of office is an emotional moment. She feels that it means that she represents the city, even when out and about privately, and she always conducts herself in a way that reflects the trust that has been given her. She feels she must be honest and trustworthy. She has also said that she has always been one to respond to residents’ emails and calls, seeing that as the most important part of her job. She makes a point of doing her homework and understanding the total picture before she decides on how to handle an issue.
“Solving a problem for a resident or opening a new park is so rewarding, “said Dunn. “You feel like you make a difference. That makes me feel so good.”
Keeping Brentwood residential is what, she feels, keeps the city attractive to so many. Maintaining the one-acre density has kept the population from exploding beyond management. According to a story in the Brentwood Homepage, “…right now, only five percent of Brentwood is zoned as commercial, and Dunn says that’s enough.” Other issues to be addressed in the coming years are boarder growth, traffic issues and long-term resolution of the Turner property.
“I think the people who live here, and even those who recently moved here, seem to be of one mind about the future,” said Dunn. “They want a safe city, with a high quality of life, and a sense of community. They enjoy commercial for convenience but want it balanced. We are not a pro-growth city. It is a pro-residential community. I think that is the future of Brentwood.”
When asked about her greatest accomplishments, Dunn is quick to say that no one commissioner can take credit for the city’s successes.
“It is a group effort along with the staff,” added Dunn. “…I am most proud that we have kept Brentwood fiscally sound with an AAA bond-rating, have provided first-rate emergency services, and maintained quality of life through our parks and trail system and our library. I am a firm believer [that] if the finances are not sound, you can’t make anything else happen because you have no money and weak credit.”
Dunn currently serves on the Brentwood Historic Commission and has worked on the Brentwood Planning Commission, the Brentwood International Board, and the County Urban Growth Committee.
Just like the slogan from her last election, Anne works to “get the job Dunn.”