Wright Resumes Commission Chair Role

By David Klein

Four newly elected Knox County Commissioners met Thursday along with seven returning commissioners at a Knox County Commission Reorganization Meeting to appoint a chair and vice chair of the commission, and committee members. Newly elected commissioners Evelyn Gill of District 1, Michele Carringer of District 2, Hugh Nystrom of District 4, and Carson Dailey of District 9 joined with the seven returning commissioners in unanimously appointing 8th District Commissioner Dave Wright as Chairman of the Knox County Commission for the second straight year.

Sixth District Commissioner Brad Anders nominated Wright. Fifth District Commissioner John Schoonmaker nominated Bob Thomas, 10th Seat At-Large, but Thomas withdrew from nomination and moved to vote on the selection of Wright.

“All I can say is thank you,” Wright said after taking his chairman role. “We are truly doing what the citizens of Knox County would like to see us do and that’s without bias, look after the interests of the citizens of Knox County. And I think it’s taken years to move that way and I know today that we’re on the threshold, as county commission works, of moving forward with all those activities that the people of Knox County would like to see us do.”

For the selection of vice chair of the commission, the body unanimously appointed incumbent third district Commissioner Randy Smith following Nystrom’s move to nominate him.  Dailey nominated current vice chair Thomas to another term, but Thomas again withdrew his nomination and made a motion to appoint Smith.

Following the selection of chair and vice chair, the reorganization meeting moved to the committee section where each committee member elected a chairperson, and the chairperson asked for a vice chair appointment. Only those in the committee could vote on chairs and vice chairs.

Commissioners selected Thomas as Cable TV chair and 11th District Seat-at-Large Ed Brantley as vice chair. All 11 commissioners serve on the Cable TV Committee.

Court Subcommittee members selected Anders as chair and 7th District Commissioner Charles Busler as vice chair.

Commission Chairman Wright leads the Development Corporation Board, and Vice Chairman of Knox County Commission Smith is the vice chair of the board.

The Finance Committee selected Smith as the chair and Brantley as the vice chair. All 11 commissioners serve on the Finance Committee.

Commission chair Wright leads the Investment Committee with Brantley also serving on the committee.

Newly elected commissioner Gill will chair the Insolvency Board, and Dailey will be the vice chair. Besides serving as chair of the Insolvency Board, Gill will serve on the Joint Education Committee and will be joined by Carringer, Anders and Busler.

Speaking of the importance of the first district and the role of the education committee, Gill said, “Here’s why District 1 is so important. It’s quite a big district.  There’re 14 schools in the first district.”

“Fourteen schools. We have lots of work to do in the Joint Education Committee,” she said. “We have new board of education members. You’re looking at four new members who were just elected; you have a new superintendent within the next two years and an interim superintendent. New faces and a new agenda. So we love education because it impacts everybody. It’s going to be a good commission.”

The Pension and Retirement Board consists of four commissioners with staggered terms. Thomas and Brantley serve as committee members through August, 2018, and Schoonmaker and Nystrom will serve as committee members through August, 2020.

Anders will head the Public Records Commission. Busler will head the Railroad Authority and the Rules Committee with Carringer as the vice chair of the Rules Committee.

Wright will lead the TPO. The Arena Use Committee has three commissioners, Brantley, Schoonmaker, and Thomas. The Audit Committee will be led by Schoonmaker, Wright, and Nystrom.

Schoonmaker will head the Ethics Committee and Carringer the Employee Insurance Benefits Committee.

Prior to the reorganization meeting, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett served Chick-fil-A breakfast in his office to commission members.