Carter County Commission: What is the right combination? 24, 16, 9

Published 8:39 am Monday, August 7, 2017

The Elizabethton Star reported on Wednesday that the County Commission’s Rules and By-Laws Committee voted 7-1 to approve a measure to lower the number of Commissioners from 24 to 16 (with each of the County’s eight districts going from having three representatives on the Commission to two). Committee Chairman Randall Jenkins will present the Committee’s proposal to the full Commission for their consideration during their August 21, 2017 Commission Meeting.
As County Mayor, I commend Chairman Jenkins and the Committee for their efforts to reduce the size of the Commission. Former Commissions refused to respond to Citizens’ on-going requests to downsize. In 2011, the Elizabethton Star conducted a poll regarding downsizing the Commission. The results showed that of the 836 respondents, 67 percent preferred a smaller County Commission with the majority preferring a 9 member Commission. Unfortunately, until now, the Citizens’ voices have fallen on deaf ears although some of the current Commissioners campaigned in 2014 promising to reduce the size of the Commission if elected. Have they keep their promise to you the Citizens of Carter County and taxpayers?
So what is the right combination? 24-16-9? Do 24 Commissioners make wiser decisions than 16 or 9? Many counties in Tennessee only have 9 Commissioners even with larger populations.
“Amending” Commission Resolution No. 553 to reduce the number of Commissioners from 24 to 16 is permissible. State of Tennessee Attorney General Opinion No. 09-117 states, in reference to “Reducing Number of Members of County Commission,” dated June 12, 2009, that “A county that has not adopted a charter form of government may reduce the number of its members as part of a reapportionment plan as required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 5-1-111 (2017). County legislative bodies regularly amend Resolutions as needed to support the public welfare.
If you as a Citizen feel the same way that you did in 2011 about your preference to downsize the Commission, contact your County Commissioners at their telephone numbers provided below and PLEASE LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD. If possible, attend the County Commission Meeting scheduled for August 21, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse located at 801 East Elk Avenue, Elizabethton, TN and tell them in person under the Public Comments section of the agenda. After all, the Commissioners work for you.
Please feel free to contact me at or by phone at 423-542-1801 if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance to you. My office is located at 801 East Elk Avenue, Suite 201 located in the County Courthouse in Elizabethton. I have an open door policy and everyone is always welcome.
1ST DISTRICT – Hunter, Midway, and Unaka communities
Willie Campbell (423) 547-0085
Buford Peters (423) 297-0059
Robert Acuff (423) 794-6770
2ND DISTRICT – Hampton, Roan Mountain, and Tiger Valley
Nancy J. Brown (423) 772-4719
Mike Hill (828) 265-9974
Al Meehan (423) 895-1023
3RD DISTRICT – Central, Keenburg, and Range
Bradley Johnson (423) 542-8149
Ronnie Trivett (423) 542-4534
Charles Von Cannon (423) 202-7677
4TH DISTRICT – Courthouse, Eastside, and Siam Communities
Isaiah Grindstaff (423) 707-1140
L.C. Tester (423) 547-2884
Danny Ward (423) 213-8537
5TH DISTRICT – Happy Valley
Ross Garland (423) 943-2380
Bobbie Gouge-Dietz (423) 926-9824
Timothy Holdren (423) 444-2266
6TH DISTRICT – Hampton, Little Milligan, Elk Mills, Valley Forge
Randall Jenkins (423) 647-8464
John G. Lewis (423) 725-2453
Larry Doc Miller (423) 768-3185
7TH DISTRICT – Gap Creek
Sonja Culler (423) 542-8020
Ray Lyons (423) 677-7896
Scott Simerly (423) 542-0442
8TH DISTRICT – (Elizabethton High School, Harold McCormick)
Robert Carroll (423) 543-0271
Kelly Collins (423) 542-5776
Cody McQueen (423) 213-6396

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