“Things are getting much better,” said Ash, who said his doctor cleared him to drive Monday. “Things are on the upside.”
Ash underwent open-heart valve replacement and single-bypass surgery Oct. 25. He apparently suffered a mild heart attack Oct. 23 and was taken to Tri-Star Centennial Medical Center in Nashville.
Ash said it would likely take another month before he could return to his “normal” routine, but he will work part-time days at City Hall and build his way back to full-time schedule.
“It’s just a matter now of building strength and getting better,” he said.
Councilor and elected Mayor Pro-Tem Rob Cesternino called a meeting with city attorney Andy Wright following Ash’s surgery to determine if it was a situation where the mayor pro-tem would take over the mayoral duties.
What they found, though, is the city charter doesn’t actually have a plan in place for the short-term replacement of the mayor; rather, when the mayor pro-tem steps in, he or she would stay in office until the next city election.
Wright will work with the council to create language in the city’s charter to outline a plan in case a similar situation happens in the future.
Ash’s administrative assistant Debbie Jessen is currently running the city until Ash is able to return.
“Our council members and department heads have been doing this for a long time,” said Jessen. “I’m confident they can handle the job. I know we are all wishing [Ash] a speedy recovery. Until he’s back, though, we will be working hard to ensure everything stays on schedule.”
Ash said it is possible he’ll attend Tuesday’s Lebanon City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
The council is expected to discuss:
• an appointee to serve on the Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development Board.
• a Lebanon police policy on towing vehicles.
• a change from 24-hour to eight-hour shifts for public safety officers.
Democrat staff writer Jacob Smith contributed to this report.