Jackson’s Johnny Dodd receives Bob Kirk Local Government Leadership Award

Longtime Jackson council member Johnny Dodd was awarded the second annual Bob Kirk Local Government Leadership Award by the Tennessee Municipal League at their 80th Annual Conference in Memphis.
The Bob Kirk Local Government Leadership Award is presented to the council member, alderman, or commissioner who is at least in their second term of service to their municipality and has shown themselves to be an outstanding public servant to both their municipality and their community.
The award is named for Dyersburg City Alderman and TML Past President Bob Kirk who served his city for nearly 51 years as an elected official with great esteem and continues to go above and beyond the call of duty to better his community.
One of six children, Dodd credits family as being foundational to his success. He describes his mother as his biggest supporter and his son JohnShay as his “heartbeat.” A Jackson native, Dodd is a graduate of Jackson State Community College and Lane College.
First elected to the Jackson City Council in 1999, Dodd is in his 20th year of serving the city. He also served as Jackson’s vice mayor from 2002 to 2003, and he has twice served as an At-Large Director on the Tennessee Municipal League Board of Directors
In his role on the city council, Dodd was instrumental in the passage of the public-private partnership between the city of Jackson and Healthy Community, LLC, the Jackson Community Redevelopment Agency, the Madison County Commission, and the local school board to create a new academic high school situated on the campus of the University of Memphis at Lambuth and Jackson Central-Merry High School.
To address violent crimes that were impacting young residents of Jackson, Dodd has also helped organize anti-crime marches and initiate community dialogues as well as show support for the families who had lost loved ones to violence.
Outside of the council chambers, Dodd also works tirelessly for the improvement of his district and Jackson as a whole through community and youth initiatives.
He helped create Men on the Move, a program that partners churches and local schools to ensure that students in Jackson and Madison County have positive male role models and influences.Participants welcome the kids to the first day of school, share lunches with them in the cafeteria, and encourage them to stay in school.
He also helped create a sister program Sisters With Aspiring Goals (SWAG) where Men on the Move members held a father-daughter dance for young women who did not have fathers or male role models in their lives.
Dodd has also hosted a New Year’s Eve youth empowerment concert aimed at fighting bullying in schools.
He led efforts at his church, Mt. Moriah Baptist, to set up a free Thanksgiving meal for those in need during the holiday that is now an annual tradition; and he has worked with civic groups and churches around the area to coordinate community cleanup days.
He also coordinated the Bounce Back basketball camp at Liberty Technology Magnet High School, which gives underprivileged youth a chance to attend a free basketball camp and receive breakfast and lunch for free.
Dodd is well-known for making himself available to talk with constituents within his district and those who live outside of it, no matter what problems they are facing.
In 2015, Dodd was contacted by Marcell Carter who had discovered his 90-year-old grandmother Gertrude Jones was living without air conditioning in her home and had been living without it for a year.
Carter contacted Dodd about the problem and half-an-hour later received a call back from Dodd informing him that a new window air conditioning unit would be installed in the woman’s home free of charge. Carter described Dodd as a “lifesaver” for his grandmother.
Last year, local newspaper The Jackson Sun named Dodd their first-ever “Person of the Year” for his two decades of service to the community and humanitarian achievements both in and out of the council chambers.