Tom Anderson resigns as president of Carter County Tomorrow

Published 2:12 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Star Photo/Brandon Hicks Tom Anderson presented the board a letter of resignation at Wednesday's Carter County Tomorrow meeting.  The resignation will be effective Monday May 12th at 5 o'clock.

Star Photo/Brandon Hicks
Tom Anderson presented the board a letter of resignation at Wednesday’s Carter County Tomorrow meeting. The resignation will be effective Monday May 12th at 5 o’clock.

Tom Anderson will step down as the president of Carter County Tomorrow.

Anderson announced his resignation during the economic development organization’s meeting Wednesday morning at the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce offices.

He leaves his position as the president of CCT to become a business development specialist with the City of Bristol.

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Anderson and CCT have faced criticism in recent months for a perceived lack of economic development in the county.

During the March meeting of the Carter County Commission, Anderson and CCT came under fire as members of the Commission debated cutting funding for the economic development agency.

The subject of CCT funding was brought into question by Commissioner Robert Gobble, who said the agency is not making progress in its mission to bring jobs to the county.

“We’ve done this program for seven years, and I say it’s high time we stop funding it in favor of something that works,” Gobble said. He then made a motion to immediately end the county’s funding of CCT.

Some commissioners echoed Gobble’s sentiment, while others defended the agency and its director.

Because funding was already in place for the current fiscal year, the County Commission voted to refer 2015-16 funding to the Budget Committee for consideration. The county’s Budget Committee will meet May 4 in a workshop session, where it will discuss funding for outside agencies, including CCT.

Elizabethton’s City Council also has questioned the effectiveness of CCT over the past two years.

Last year, Councilman Bob Cable moved to have all funding cut from the city’s budget.

“I am dissatisfied,” Cable said. “I don’t think we are getting anything for our investment. It is just not there. Something needs to happen.”

Ultimately, the vote to remove funding for CCT failed, but the issue came up again this budget cycle. In a budget workshop earlier this month, Council proposed cutting CCT funding from $94,000 to $35,000 in the coming fiscal year. The money would also come from the city’s general fund instead of the water and electric funds.

Anderson has worked with CCT since Jan. 1, 2010. His last day will be May 12.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Anderson said. “I have been pursued by other communities, and this decision will further my growth and development in my career. In my personal life, it will also bring me closer to my children and will allow me to spend more time with them.”

Anderson’s contract with CCT expires Dec. 31, and he had not planned to pursue a new contract, he said. When the job opportunity at Bristol became available to him, he found it was the right time to make the change. While excited about the new career opportunities available to him, Anderson said it will be hard to leave the staff he has worked with for the past five years.

“The relationships I have built with the people I have worked with are amazing,” he said. “Leaving these wonderful people will be the hardest part. I have worked with a wonderful staff.”

During his tenure with CCT, Anderson said he has witnessed a “myriad” of economic development projects completed, including the addition of Georgia-Pacific to Carter County, the NCI and Snap-On Tools expansions and work with the downtown business owners for district enhancements.

“There have been so many projects over the years,” he said. “The dynamic part of that is what is fun about this job.”

Anderson offered words of encouragement to the CCT Board of Directors after announcing his departure.

“There is a lot of strength here in this room and a lot of passion for economic development in Carter County,” Anderson told the board. “There are a lot of opportunities available for Carter County and I hope you seize them.”

Anderson begins his new position in Bristol on May 12, and informed the CCT Board of Directors he would be available to help and consult during the transition period.

CCT Board Chairman Richard Tester put together a transition committee that will serve as the CCT President during the search for a new president or until an interim is selected. The committee includes Tester, Dale Fair and Sam LaPorte, all founding members of the CCT board.

“We will just continue what Tom has been doing,” Fair said. “It will just take more of us filling his position until the president job is filled.”

Tester also appointed a search committee to develop a job description and timeline for the job search. The committee will include Tester, LaPorte, county mayor Leon Humphrey or his designee, city mayor Curt Alexander or his designee, Danny McClain, Danny Ward and Keith Young.

“This will be a transition period for us,” Tester said. “The team will pick up the ball and will move forward. We have completed many projects in the past and we are going to see more completed.”

The CCT Board of Directors will meet again on May 19 at 11:30 a.m. to hear updates from the committees.