The City Council is the governing body of the City of Bristol. The Council consists of five (5) persons,
three of whom are elected from three (3) council districts by the eligible voters of the city at large and
two (2) of whom are elected to at-large seats by the eligible voters of the city at large. Council
members are elected on a non-partisan basis for a staggered four-year term of office. Annually in July,
the City Council selects one of its members to serve as mayor for a one-year period and one of its
members to serve for a one-year period as Vice-Mayor. The Mayor presides at all meetings of city
council and is the ceremonial head of the city, but has no other executive or administrative powers or
duties. The Vice-Mayor serves in the absence or disability of the Mayor. As the legislative body of the
city, the Council is responsible for approving the appropriation of money and the collection of taxes;
the approval of bonds and notes; and the enactment of laws (ordinances).
Joel Staton was elected to City Council in 2005. He was selected by council to serve as Mayor from
Ben Zandi was elected to the City Council and began his term of office in July 2011. In July 2012, he was selected by council to serve as Vice Mayor for the period of July 2012 through June 2013. Ben is committed to community involvement, and as such, he currently serves on various boards in the community: the Bristol Ballet, Bristol YMCA, President of the Spine Health Foundation, Fundraising Committee Chair for Steppenstone Youth Treatment Services, and Crossroads Medical Mission. Additionally, he served on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce of Bristol TN/VA 2006-2009. Being involved in the hospitality industry for 33 years, Ben enjoys serving others through customer service excellence. As a business owner himself, Ben is passionate about supporting other local businesses and organizations to create local jobs and to stimulate and promote local economic growth. Ben possesses the Advanced Leadership Certification from the P&G Corporation, and The Leadership Excellence Institute Certificate from the Center for Creative Leadership. Ben is an advocate of strong family community and seeks to create a more stimulating and innovative atmosphere in our educational system. Ben and his wife, Debra, have one daughter, and together Ben and Debra own and/or manage several Tri-Cities area restaurants. Though he has lived in California and New England, Ben was drawn to and feels strongly connected to the Bristol area because Debra's family roots are in Scott County. He knows Bristol TN is a great place to live and raise a family. His goal is to draw more business owners to the Bristol TN area and continue to fuel our local and sustainable economy and to create professional jobs in Bristol for the next generation.
Michelle Dolan was elected to City Council in 2011. She is Vice President of Lighthouse Supply Company, a wholesale lighting supply company located in Bristol Virginia which she owns with her husband Kevin. Michelle is a native of Sullivan County, graduating from East Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in Speech Communications and a minor in Marketing. She is a 2011 graduate of LEAD! Bristol, the 2011 Citizens Municipal Academy, and currently serves on the executive committee of the Tara Hills homeowners association. Prior to her election to the City Council, she served on the city's Tree Board. Michelle and Kevin have three children – Corban, Anna, and Megan.
Margaret Feierabend (pronounced ‘fire-robin’) was elected to City Council in May 2005. In July 2009 she was selected by council to serve as Vice-Mayor until July 2010. In July 2010 she was selected by council to serve as Mayor until July 2011. Feierabend previously served on City Council from 1994-2001, including a term as Bristol’s first female mayor from 1997 to 1998. Feierabend continues her advocacy for children and youth by co-chairing Bristol’s Promise: Youth Networking Alliance, working with Bristol Area Youth Council and PTA. She works for preservation – for historic Bristol, our cultural heritage, and our natural beauty of creeks, knobs and parks. An advocate for strategic planning, Feierabend believes we must “plan our work and work our plan” to accomplish our goal of keeping Bristol a great place to live, work and play. Feierabend maintains that positive citizen involvement is the key to making this happen, especially through effective neighborhood associations. More information is available at www.margaretfeierabend.net
David Shumaker was first elected to City Council in 1998 and has been selected by council to serve as Mayor three times: in 2003-04, 2007-08, and again in 2011-12. He also served as Vice Mayor several times. His primary focus on the city council is economic growth through tourism and the revitalization of Bristol's historic downtown area. He serves on the board of the Rhythm and Roots Reunion music festival and is one of the festival's founders. He has also represented the City of Bristol on numerous boards including the Bristol Train Station, Believe in Bristol, Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau, Networks Sullivan Partnership, First Tennessee Development District, and the HOME Consortium. David is a lifelong Bristol resident and a former high school teacher. He is now a licensed home inspector, and owns Practical Preservation, a home inspection service specializing in older homes. He is past president of the Twin City Civitan Club and a member of the Virginia Intermont College Board of Fellows.