Four Rumored for Jenkins’ Seat, So Far
Six weeks after beginning his third term as a Loudon County
commissioner, Chuck Jenkins resigned that office and his job as
public affairs coordinator for Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC in Oak Ridge
to be sworn in as the new county assessor.
Commission will pick his replacement Oct. 2, taking nominations of
eligible residents in District 2 from its own members and the public
that evening. That person will serve until August 2008.
Ron Woody of County Technical Advisory Service explained a
candidate must garner majority support from all commissioners (five
votes). If there are more than two candidates and none receive a
majority, the one with the least votes is dropped and another poll
Whether commissioners will take nominations from residents living
outside District 2 remains to be seen. County Mayor Doyle Arp
does not know if they can. "What I don't want people to think is that
they don't have (that) right," if they do, he said.
Arp said Shirley Reno and Tony Williford spoke with him
last week about being considered for the vacant seat. He's heard rumors
Jim Shields and former Dist. 5 commissioner Van Shaver may
Jenkins is the third Loudon County official to resign one office for
another since early August. (Arp and Ninth District Attorney General
Russell Johnson resigned as assessor and Dist. 21 state
representative, respectively, to assume their newly-elected positions.)
Commission voted 5-4 Sept. 18 to appoint Jenkins over Jane Smith,
an employee of the assessor's office who served as Arp's chief deputy.
Asked if Smith will work for Jenkins, Arp said he does not know, but
that she's had offers elsewhere.
"She's valuable," he said, explaining why she was his pick. "She has 17
Commissioners divided in their choices. Earlena Maples threw her
support behind Smith, telling her, "You've worked your way up." She was
joined by David Meers, Roy Bledsoe and Chris Park,
newly-elected in District 5.
Bob Franke said the assessor also has to work with the public and
possess management skills, and he believed Jenkins the better choice.
Joining him were Don Miller, Nancy Marcus, Harold Duff
and Wayne Gardin, also new in District 5.
Jenkins said being commissioner has given him "broad understanding" of
how the county operates. "But just as important are my 18 consecutive
years of managing public and governmental affairs departments, in which
my primary role has been to create and manage programs linking
government agencies and the public (my employers) serve," he added.
Commission unanimously selected local businessman Harry Wampler
to fill Johnson's vacated representative seat until the Nov. 7 election
between Ann Barker (D) and Jimmy Matlock (R). Though it is
only for a few weeks and General Assembly is not in session, state law
requires the position be filled at all times.