Traffic heavy as five seek road superintendent’s post

Published 8:42am Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Come September, Carter County will have a new road superintendent.
The incumbent, Jack Perkins, decided not to seek re-election after serving five terms.
Hoping to succeed Perkins are the five candidates on the Carter County Republican Primary ballot.
They are Roger Colbaugh, a former Tennessee Department of Transportation official; Steven G. Pierce, a land surveyor and chairman of the Carter County Planning Commission; Ricky Guinn, a heavy equipment operator; Jason Shell, a small-business owner; and Hubert Lewis, who has his own construction business.
Colbaugh cites as his qualification for the office his 40 years of experience with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and 16 years as highway superintendent in TDOT’s Northeast Tennessee department.
As highway superintendent he oversaw maintenance in the five counties of Carter, Johnson Washington, Sullivan and Unicoi.
If elected, Colbaugh said he will use some of the techniques he mastered as a regional superintendent for TDOT to operate the Carter County Highway Department.
Colbaugh said if elected he would focus on a road paving plan, correcting drainage problems and faster removal of snow and ice from roads.
This is the second time Pierce has sought the job of road superintendent. He lists as his qualifications his 25 years of experience as a land surveyor and his work on the Carter County Planning Commission.
He said through his work on the planning commission he has experience assisting people with land rights and knows how to effectively work with county government.
Pierce said the next road superintendent needs to use the budget wisely and increase preventative maintenance protocols.
He cites his experience in road design, building and maintenance as well as infrastructure like bridges, rights of way and storm water drains.
Pierce said if elected he would place an emphasis on flooding, conduct inspections of county roads every three years and look into building a substation in Roan Mountain for snow plow operations.
Ricky Guinn lists as his qualifications 40 years of experience with heavy equipment and major road construction.
In addition to Guinn’s passion for construction, he has also served in a leadership capacity for the past 30 years as a construction foreman and supervisor.
Guinn has vowed to be fiscally responsible with county funds. One of his main concerns is weather-related road issues such as snow removal and guard rails on winding roads in the county.
Shell said being road superintendent has been a goal and dream of his for 10 years.
For the past eight years he has owned and operated a local excavation business called Sidekick Excavation. Before beginning his own business, he worked for Concrete Cutting Systems.
He says maintaining a budget is integral in being a successful road superintendent. He said he would be a working superintendent and was confident in his ability to work with county government to pass a fair highway department budget.
If elected, Shell said his focus would be on making sure highway department employees are cared for appropriately. He promised to be accessible to the public and try his best to solve any issues presented to him by citizens.
Lewis cites his businesses experience as one of the main qualifications for the job of road superintendent. He has owned and operated his own construction business for 43 years.
“I have the experience of supervising employees, estimating and bidding on projects, working with time frames and guidelines and working within a budget for those projects,” Lewis said.
Lewis said he is also licensed as a contractor in highway and bridge construction, commercial and residential building, and water and sewer construction.
Lewis said if elected he would immediately focus on the revitalization of county bridges.
“I would like to implement a bridge program. There are grants available for bridge building and we need to go after every one we can,” he said.
Early voting for the May Republican Primary will end May 1. The primary will be held May 6.

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