Growing from the annual Metro Christmas shindig held decades ago when Metro first became a thing in the 1960s, three Metro government offices have continued the tradition with a different twist. Instead of doing a holiday party during December, the three offices housed in the Fulton Complex – Howard (School) Office Building have joined together to throw an Open House each January. The event was once again held in the Sonny West Conference Center on Thursday, January 30, 2020.
The principals whose offices hosted the event are as follows: Vivian Wilhoite of the Assessor’s Office, Brenda Wynn of the County Clerk’s Office, and Parker Toler of the Trustee’s Office. In attendance at the event were many present and former Metro and State employees and elected and appointed officials, among them state representative Harold Love and state senator Jeff Yarbro, showing state support for Metro.
Of note among them was JoAnn North, who was asked to give remarks during the event, and regaled the audience with her insightful and delightful recollections of past Metro and Nashville city political times and people. Ms. North retired in September, 2008, after serving 16 years as Metro Nashville’s Assessor of Property. North had earlier served as a delegate to a Tennessee Constitutional Convention and three successive terms as a Metro Councilmember at Large.
“Honoring the Memory of Charlie Cardwell” was the theme of this year’s event, which was dedicated to long-time Metro Trustee Charlie Cardwell. Cardwell passed away last year at the age of 83, after serving the City of Nashville and the consolidated Metro Nashville government for 60 years. His Office bore responsibility for all property taxes collected by Metro Nashville, property tax related to businesses. He worked to make the Trustee’s office more efficient, introduced many new programs, and created tax relief programs to benefit residents.
Cardwell was a graduate of Howard High School in Nashville, ironically where Metro government took over and used the facility for offices, and on the campus where the Open House event was held. He had started working for the City of Nashville in 1958. In 1965, he was became an internal auditor for the just-created Metro Nashville Finance Department, and was named chief accountant for the Finance Department in 1973. In 1981, he was appointed Director of Finance for Metro under Mayor Fulton’s administration. He served as Commissioner of Revenue for the State of Tennessee under Governor Ned McWherter, after which he was appointed Metro trustee in 1993 and was subsequently elected by the voters to six consecutive 4-year terms.
Upon his passing, current Assessor of Property for Metro Nashville and Davidson County Vivian Wilhoite said “Charlie Cardwell was a gentle, soft-spoken giant of a gentleman. He was my colleague who I highly respected for his kindness and tireless public service. Charlie was a dedicated and true servant leader and a perfectionist of a dresser. Charlie will be missed, and his legacy will long be remembered.”