Monday, September 30, 2013

Burchett responds to gov't shutdown

Ha ha, I love this stuff.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett responds to the possible federal shutdown in his latest release, which, by the way, is far more entertaining than the PR conferences that Pilot has hosted these past few months.


“Despite Washington’s inability to come to a consensus and address the government’s financial crisis, Knox County will continue to operate and services will not be disrupted in the event of a short-term federal government shutdown.  In the meantime, I and my staff continue to monitor the situation in Congress, and will take appropriate, fiscally responsible action as needed.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Burchett to host senior lunch Friday

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will host the 7th annual Senior Appreciation Picnic this Friday, September 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at John Tarleton Park.

 The picnic will include lunch, live music and a mini-health fair with 40 vendors and 5 free health screenings. Last year’s event had over 700 attendees.

Click right smack here for the release and RSVP plans.

Burchett, crew headed to Nashville

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, chief of stuff (heh) Dean Rice, HR Manager Col. Richard Julian, top bean counter Casual Chris Caldwell, Knox County Commission Chairman Brad Anders and communications manager of two Michael “Big Sexy” Grider are all squeezing into a car and headed to Nashville this morning to talk to Big Bill.

The mayor wants to convince the zillionaire governor, who mostly answers to the tea party because he’s scared of them, to put up as much as $10 million to pay for a regional forensic center that would serve 22 East Tennessee counties. (University of Tennessee Medical Center folks are kicking the operation out of their facility.)

The meeting is set for 11:30 a.m. slow time. The mayor wants the center to be based in Knox County, but since it will serve more than the folks here, he feels the good gov. should ante up some coin.

From what I understand the crew probably won’t get a response today, but some other top dogs in the state have made a similar recommendation to Haslam.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ethics panel to fill 3 openings

The Knox County commission is accepting resumes from candidates seeking appointment to the Knox County Ethics Committee. There are three spots open. Each is for a four-year term, beginning Nov. 1 and ending Oct. 17, 2017.

Submit resumes by noon Oct. 18. You can mail 'em, fax 'em, email 'em or hand deliver those bad boys to:

Office of the Knox County Commission
Suite 603, Death Star
400 Main St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

The fax number is 215-2038 and the email is

The commission will hold a public hearing to interview the candidates on Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the Death Star.

They'll make a final decision on Oct. 28.

Here's a hint: If you don't show up for the interview, you won't get the gig.

Also note: The commission office sent out a note earlier, saying that the panel had two open spots, but earlier today - after it was issued - a member announced that she was moving and would have to step down.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lansden wthdraws from council race

Carl Lansden, who really didn’t have a snowball’s chance, has officially withdrawn from the Knoxville District 4 City Council race.

You can read the letter right smack here.

That leaves incumbent Nick Della Volpe and challenger Rick Staples.

Back in June, as you might recall, Lansden did not have enough signatures (you need 25) to get on the ballot in time, so he filled out the proper paperwork and became a certified write-in candidate.

Today was the last day to withdraw.

Knox County Elections stud Cliff Rodgers said any write-in votes cast for Lansden will be tabulated and records, but they won’t count, even if he wins.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Local, state leaders to meet, eat

State, county and school leaders on Thursday will begin talking about what matters the Tennessee General Assembly should address when it meets in January.

The discussion, which is part of an annual dinner with the local Legislative delegation, is expected to focus on a number of hot button items that include but aren't limited to taxes, parking, testing procedures and education-related bonuses.

However, key to the meeting, said state Rep Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, is creating open dialogue among the three boards.

"It's really an opportunity for every level of government to communicate with one another about issues coming up on the horizon and how we can help out each other," said Haynes, the delegation's chairman. "That's really the whole purpose – to keep communication open."

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Outdoor Knoxville.

Click right smack here for the story.

Mayors honor parks/rec volunteers

The Parks and Recreation departments for the City of Knoxville and Knox County held a Volunteer Awards Ceremony this morning to recognize those individuals who strive to make a difference in our community through recreation, according to the latest spin release by Michael "Big Sexy" Grider, county communications manager of two.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett presented the awards to each of the 25 winners who were nominated by their peers for the exemplary volunteer commitment they have demonstrated in our community.

2013 Parks and Recreation volunteer award winners

“I consider it an honor to recognize our local volunteers who invest their personal time and resources in service to our community,” said Mayor Rogero. “They do this simply because they care.”

“Each of these outstanding volunteers deserves recognition for the time and energy they put in to making our community a better place to live,” said Mayor Burchett. “I appreciate all they do and thank them for their service to Knox County.”

The 25 award winners range from sports commissioners and coaches to youth recreation leaders and senior center volunteers. You can find out who won by clicking right smack here for the full list.

County to honor seniors on Sept. 27

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will host the 7th Annual Senior Appreciation Picnic on Friday, September 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at John Tarleton Park. All Knox County seniors are invited.

The picnic will include lunch, live music and a mini-health fair. 

The event is free to all Knox County seniors.  Any senior planning to attend is asked to RSVP by September 20 by calling 865-215-4007.

The Knox County Commission, Knoxville City Council and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero have all been invited to attend.

Partners for the 2013 Senior Appreciation Picnic include Independent Insurance Consultants and the Senior Directory as platinum sponsors, Morning Pointe Assisted Living & Alzheimer’s Memory Care as a gold sponsor, and several others.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Voter Registration Day, some facts

Knox County Elections stud Cliff Rodgers sent out a release earlier today, noting that Sept. 24 is National Voter Registration Day.

“On September 24, next Tuesday, we will have 35 polling locations open for the City of Knoxville Primary Election, and folks may go to any of these places to register to vote for future elections,” Rodgers said. “National Voter Registration Day is a great time to make sure that your registration is up to date or to register for the first time. We are ready to help you in any way we can at any time.”

To read the whole release, click right smack here.

OK, got that out of the way. There’s a lot of rumors going on about who is going to run for what and when, so now is probably a good time to clarify three things that you can take to the bank.

  • Tim Burchett will be Knox County Mayor in 2015.
  • Lamar Alexander will be a U.S. Senator in 2015.
  • Big Bill will be Tennessee Governor in 2016.

You don’t have to like it. But those are facts. All three will win with a least 60 percent of the vote for their individual races, and probably more. There is no one in Knox County who can beat Burchett for mayor. There is no one in the state who can outspend Haslam. And Carr is just plain too ugly to beat Alexander.


The elections will not be close.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quick look at Monday's work session

The Knox County Commission on Monday agreed during its work session to hire an internal auditor.

Officials expect to post the job in the coming weeks.

In other commission news:

The board unanimously recommended Commissioner Mike Brown and Knox County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Carl King to serve as non-voting liaisons to the Knox County Ethics Committee.

In an 8-3 vote approved a resolution expressing support of a national flat fee tax on Internet sales.  The proposal originated from the discussion of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which gives states the authorities to streamline sales tax laws and collect taxes directly from online retailers. If approved during next Monday’s meeting, the Knox County Clerk’s office will send a copy of the resolution to U.S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan Jr. Commission Vice Chairman R. Larry Smith and commissioners Amy Broyles and Dave Wright dissented.

Unanimously recommended to transfer just over 391 acres in the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge to the state to use as a state park. More details will be announced on Friday during the Legacy Parks luncheon.

Click right smack here for the entire story.

Court contract skipped bid process

Joy McCroskey
Three years ago, Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey hired a private collection agency to go after some $18 million in outstanding fines, fees and restitution owed to the county.

The move, however, violated state law and county code because McCroskey didn’t competitively bid out the service.

Now, local leaders are negotiating with a new company to oversee collections for her office, which includes Fourth Circuit Court, General Sessions and Criminal Court.

McCroskey said she didn’t intentionally do anything wrong and that then-Law Director Bill Lockett told her it was OK to hire the firm.

“I felt like I did what I needed to do when I went to the law director,” she said. “I had no idea that I had to do anything else. When the law director tells you that you can do it, then what else is there? He told me that since it only involved my office I could do it.”

State law says that criminal court clerks who use private firms to collect fines must ask the county purchasing department where they work to “utilize normal competitive bidding procedures applicable to the county to select and retain the agent.”

County code says officials must award contracts that exceed $10,000 through competitive sealed bidding. Such contracts also must be approved by the law department and signed by the county mayor.

McCroskey, though, oversaw the process herself. She reached out only to Solutia Revenue Recovery, and agreed to a contract put together by the firm.

Click right smack here for the entire read, documents and video.

And remember: We don't have a pay wall.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Looking ahead to commission meeting

Remember that whole Seven Islands thing that some folks wanted to keep secret so Gov. Big Bill (yeah, I called him “Big Bill,” Betty, so get over it) could make the grand announcement? Well, right smack here to download the resolution that the Knox County Commission will discuss during Monday’s work session.

It says the state “has expressed an interest in establishing a state park” there to “further benefit the health and welfare of the” area.

It also notes that the state “plans to make a significant financial investment in the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge to improve its facilities and to make the property even more of a benefit to the health and welfare of the public.”

Anyhoo, what else do we have for Monday’s meeting (which I don’t expect to last all that long)?

Well, looks like Commissioner Mike Hammond has a couple of items toward the end for discussion. 

He wants to talk about why Johnny Haun hasn’t paid any coin “toward his embezzlement of money.” As you might recall, Haun turned himself over to authorities back in April 2012. He’s accused of lifting a bunch of folding paper from the Trustee’s Office a looong time ago. Hammond brings this up periodically, but not sure a whole lot will happen until Haun pleads out, which he is expected to do.

His attorney has told me over the years that he does plan to pay back the county. 

Additionally, Hammond wants to talk about the possible realignment of commission districts. There’s been some talk about increasing the 11-member board or even decreasing it, so that there are no at-large seats.

I doubt this will get far right now. During the last realignment (what, like a year ago?), the commission got everything (nine districts) matched up with its counterparts in the school system. Of course, there has been some talk about maybe increasing the school board from nine to 11 members, so who knows? 

The commission also is expected to rubberstamp a recommendation by the Audit Committee to start the hiring process for a new internal auditor. In the meantime, Tracy Wright, who works in the office, will take over until someone new is brought on board.

I wrote a story the other day about the recommendations. Find that bad boy, right smack here.

(By the way, looks like the commission also will appoint former school board member Cindy Buttry to the Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals. Congrats to her.)

Ah, what else is there? Oh yeah, the commission also will talk about whether to approve a resolution expressing its support of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which allows more individual states the authority to streamline sales tax laws and collect the taxes directly from online retailers.

They would send this to U.S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan Jr. 

I got a newsletter from the good Congressman the other day. In it, he noted that he’s not exactly sure where he stands on this one. (Sure he’s not.)

Download that resolution, right smack here.

I’m out.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mayors: 'Summitt and Neyland' pandas

Well, this is kind of classy.

The other day I blogged about the Knoxville Zoo's contest to name the two newly born red pandas. Right smack here for that bad boy. There are a number of good names that made the cut, including "Madeline and Tim," which, obviously, reference the county and city mayors.

Well, this morning Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero sent out a release, throwing their support behind "Summitt and Neyland."

Here's what it said:
Madeline and Tim are pretty good names for the Knoxville Zoo’s newly born red pandas, but Summitt and Neyland are born to be winners. 

That’s why Madeline and Tim, er, Mayor Rogero and Mayor Burchett are putting their support behind the Summitt/Neyland name pairing in the Knoxville Zoo contest that asks residents to vote for their favorite names.

The Mayors have personally contributed $100 each to the Zoo on behalf of the contest and are encouraging others to vote - and donate. The baby cubs were born June 1 to mother Scarlett and dad Madan.

 “I couldn’t bear to vote for myself,” said Mayor Rogero. “I really do think the names Summitt and Neyland are ideal for the new additions.”

 “I won’t panda, I mean, pander, for votes when two outstanding names like Summit and Neyland are on the ballot,” Mayor Burchett offered.

Pat Summitt and General Neyland served as heroes on the court and field at The University of Tennessee. Naming the red pandas after them would pay homage to both of these legends.
To cast your vote or make a donation, click right smack here. The contest ends Friday, Sept. 13.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WBIR looks at officials' attendance

A WBIR review of Knox County Commission attendance records shows that the board as a whole missed 10 percent of its meetings during the past three years. The board’s counterparts, the Knoxville City Council and the Knox County School Board missed a little more than 2 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

Commissioner Amy Broyles missed the most meetings at 27 percent, followed by Sam McKenzie (15 percent), Tony Norman (13 percent), Brad Anders (10.5 percent), Richard Briggs and Mike Hammond (9.5 percent), Ed Shouse (7 percent), Jeff Ownby (7 percent) Mike Brown (6 percent), Dave Wright (3 percent) and R. Larry Smith (2 percent).

You can find the overall story, right smack here, a fancy slideshow right here and a story about Commissioner Broyles over here.

Please note that obviously elected officials do more than attend meetings. But, this is one aspect of political life.

Anyhoo, I’m out.

County to seek new internal auditor

The Knox County Audit Committee on Tuesday in a 4-0 vote recommended to the Knox County Commission that the county should hire a new internal auditor and not outsource the position to a private company.

The move comes a couple of weeks after officials offered former auditor Richard Walls a severance package that included about $31,000 and medical coverage for 18 months. Walls’s last day on the job was Sept. 3.

The commission is expected to talk more about the audit committee’s recommendation later this month. Officials then are expected to advertise the job posting. From there, the county’s human resources department will select three candidates who will interview before the audit committee.

The county commission will make the final decision.

Officials during Tuesday’s meeting talked briefly about the position, but said they still want to collect more data.

For now, though, officials said they would like someone who has at least six years of experience, a college degree, and “appropriate certification.”

Additionally, Commissioner Amy Broyles, a committee member, said officials will “still need to talk about what expectations we want in place and whether they staff the office to meet those expectations.”

The internal audit department, which reports directly to the County Commission, operates on $257,000 a year and has three employees, although it’s short-staffed by one since Walls stepped down.

Commission Chairman Brad Anders said the two employees will keep their jobs, and help run the office.

Anders added that he also wants officials to annually review the new internal auditor, something that wasn’t done with Walls.

“I want a more clear path for the incoming auditor, so we don’t get where we are today,” he said

Audit Committee Chairman Joe Carcello also suggested that county increase the pay for the position. Walls earned $92,700 annually.

The Audit Committee, in a 4-1 vote, on July 9 initially recommended firing Walls. Only Mary Kiser, who resined in the wake of the decision, dissented.

Committee members called Wall’s work “limited” and said he only conducted three audits last year. Kiser, though, said the accusations were unfair and that Walls was never given a chance to defend himself. She also pointed out that his last review came in 2009, so the panel held some culpability, since it didn't provide him better feedback.

Last month the County Commission opted not to fire Walls and instead offer him a buy-out package, so long as he didn’t seek legal action against the county.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Burchett to host Friday luncheon

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett once again is hosting lunch – hosting, folks, but not paying – in his never ending question to eat with everyone, this time at the Original Freezo on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The restaurant is located at 1305 N. Central St. in North Knoxville. The place will offer a “meat and two” special for $4.99. 

Notes, this place takes coin and folding paper only. That means, no checks, credit or debit cards.

These "lunch with the mayor" shindigs are a byproduct of the mayor's hugely successful cash mob initiatives that garnered national attention, despite the best efforts of some. 
As always, this sucker is Dutch treat. Mayor cheapskate pays for no one.


Low voter turn out and the write-in

Unbeknownst to some folks (even now), there is a certified write-in candidate in the Knoxville elections. His name is Carl Lansden and technically he faces off against 4th District incumbent Nick Della Volpe and Rick Staples.

You can read a kick a$$ story by WBIR’s Jim Matheny (it came out last week), right smack here.

In fact, next Monday’s election commission meeting will focus on the dude as officials certify all the fancy ways a voter can erroneously misspell the guy’s name. (This way if it gets misspelled it still counts.)

And, hey, maybe the guy could win. Say he gets 300 or 400 of his buds to show up in this super-low voter turnout election and he comes in second place (which means he automatically goes to the general election). 

Stranger things have happened in Knox County/Knoxville politics.

In the meantime, 187 people so far have cast votes through the first four days or early voting.
No word on how many of those are for Lansden.

As always, the ol’ Porch doesn’t care who wins. But the folks who sit on it would chuckle if it was Lansden.

Whoever he is.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Employees gather for Walls' send-off

Knox County employees on Tuesday said goodbye to Richard Walls, who served as the county’s internal auditor for more than a decade. Here’s a couple of pictures that were sent to me.

To the upper left, Jim Sams, who works in the PBA, shakes hands with Walls. The guy on the other side is Shane Weaver, a  former employee who came back to see him off.

Left, Karen Briggs, a city of Knoxville worker, talks to Walls.

As you might recall, the Knox County Commission worked out a deal with Walls, letting him retire with a $31K severance check. The board will have to decide later this month whether to replace him or outsource the gig.

My guess is that they'll at least take applications for the job. Then they'll probably hire one of their buddies. Kidding. Heh.

Summitt PSA to air on Regal screens

Every Regal Entertainment Group movie screen throughout the country will air a 30-second public service announcement about Alzheimer’s disease during this month. The PSA will include UT basketball legend Pat Summitt as well Kara Lawson, honorary co-chair on her Foundation’s advisory board, and some guy named Peyton Manning.

“We are tremendously grateful to Regal Entertainment Group for this significant and very generous contribution that will further the work of the Pat Summitt Foundation on a national level,” said Summitt in a released statement.

The PSA is designed to raise “significant awareness” about the disease and “the critical need for research funds to find a cure,” noted Greg Dunn, president and COO of Regal in a released statement.

“Pat’s efforts are a source of encouragement and support to the 5.5 million Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers in America,” he added.

You can find the full release, right smack here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

More on Seven Islands land transfer

The Knox County Commission later this month is expected to approve a resolution to transfer almost 391 acres in the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge to the state to use as state park. 

The ol Porch initially reported about this right smack here, but we’ve got a little more info.

The land is located in the 8th and 9th districts, which are east and south – find some fancy maps right smack here – and the plan will be to build some cabins and a bridge over to the island.

“I think it’s another fantastic feather in South Knoxville’s cap and I think it will bring a lot of folks out to the area,” said Knox County Commissioner Mike Brown, whose area includes South Knox County. “It’s a beautiful area with lots of birds and wildlife. We also should be able to get a lot of traffic off that and traffic means business.”

Commissioner Dave Wright, who represents East Knox County agreed, calling it “a big deal.”
“This is going to be a jewel,” he said. “It looks like the state and county are going to move on with plans that were just dreams a few years back.”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Knox School board picks new chair

The Knox County School Board unanimously picked Lynne Fugate to serve as its chair for the next year, and Gloria Deathridge to serve as vice chair.

Fugate replaces Karen Carson.

I'm not really sure what this means. The commission just picked Brad Anders to lead it, and R. Larry Smith to serve as vice chair. Anders says he'll work a little more closely with the school board, but they all say that.


We'll see. The Education Committee meets tomorrow.

Bring a book. Or pillow.

Knox to issue $39 million in bonds

The county on Friday will issue almost $40 million in bonds, which will fund work for number of projects tied to schools, roads and government buildings that officials hope to complete during the next couple of years.

Officials initially thought about issuing $17 million last year, and $22 million this year, but by holding off and issuing everything at once, the county will save roughly $250,000, according to Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

(The savings is essentially issuance fees, kind of like closing costs on a house. He said the savings will go back into the general fund.)

You may ask: "Well, Tim you always talk about paying off the debt, but aren’t you adding to it? Not really. The mayor says if the county continues to pay off more and issue less coin, then it still saves money.  

You can click right smack here for the 2013 capital improvement projects officials want to do and right smack here for this year’s stuff.

And, here’s a snapshot of some stuff just in case you’re lazy:
  • Parkside Drive improvements: $6 million
  • The Juvenile Court Building expansion: $3 million
  • Karns Senior Center $ 1 million
  • Karns Connector $4 million
  • City County Building improvements: $500K
  • AJ Building improvements: $475K
  • School security: $3.9 million
  • Safety Center:  $1million
In addition, about $15.8 million in bonds will help the school system for a number of projects including overall physical plant upgrades and work on Belle Morris Elementary, Chilhowee Intermediate and Gresham Middle (just to name a few of the schools)

WBIR to unveil new website tonight

Tonight (or is it technically tomorrow morning) at 3 a.m. WBIR will debut its new website.

And no, this is not in response to the Knoxville News Sentinel. In fact, both outlets had planned to do this months ago, but, you know, stuff happens.

Besides, despite what a bunch of local know-it-alls think, we're not putting up a pay wall.

Anyhoo, from what I understand (you know I really don't pay attention to this tech stuff), it's supposed to look like USA Today, which you can find right smack here. It's certainly a different look, but better than what we have now.

The new site will allow us to highlight the most important news of the day, blah, blah, etc. Also, from what I understand, we'll be able to "stack" stories, meaning they won't drop off so quickly as new stories go online.

My colleagues will have more information out later, and they'll probably be able to explain this better than I just did. They'll also have some navigation tricks.

As always, straight from the heart. With maybe a kick in the groin.


Early voting starts for Council races

Early voting kicks off today for two Knoxville City Council seats, and the county yawns. (Technically, five are up for re-election, but only two - have challengers.)

Nick Della Volpe (4th District) faces Rick Staples and Daniel Brown (6th District) faces Pete Drew.

The two top vote-getters move on to the Nov. 5 general election. The races are nonpartisan and early voting runs through Sept. 19. The primary is on Sept. 24.

You can get the times and schedules, right smack here, (and a copy of the ballot, right smack here), although I'm not sure why anyone will show up as all of the candidates are going to advance anyway.

UPDATE: Elections stud Cliff Rodgers reached out to Knoxviews this morning, letting the site know that since there is an official write-in candidate, there is reason for an election. Cause, you know, a write-in candidate actually has a snowball's chance.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mayoral pandamonium set for zoo?

So, I normally don't like this cute stuff, but, heh, you'll see why I'm running this one as it:

The nominations are in, and it’s time to choose names for Knoxville Zoo’s red panda cubs!  After receiving more than 1,000 submissions, the zoo has narrowed the field to four pairs of finalists.  Now it’s up to the public to vote on what the male and female siblings will be officially christened.  

You can read the entire release, right smack here
The naming options are:
  • Tabei and Tenzing (some first pioneers to reach the summit of Mount Everest)
  • Madeline and Tim (I am not making this up!)
  • Shyla and Beaumont (something to do with the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee)
  • Summitt and Neyland (in honor of Pat Summitt and General Robert Neyland)
Voting ballots are $1 each and votes can be cast online right smack here or in person at the zoo.  The first pair of names to reach the $5,000 mark or receive the highest number of votes by Friday, September 13, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. will be chosen as the cubs’ official names.  All funds raised will go to support Knoxville Zoo’s world-renowned red panda conservation program.    

I betcha Lord McIntyre is upset right, and Tom Ingram is probably getting a little nervous.


Knox to give Seven Islands to state

The county is expected to turn Seven Islands over to the state, which will then turn it into a state park.

Gov. Big Bill will make the official announcement Sept. 20 during the Legacy Parks leadership luncheon

In the meantime, a number of officials have confirmed the news to the ol’ Porch.

We also caught up with Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett who said “we’ve just got to sign the papers” and it’s a done deal. (The commission also will have to approve the land transfer.)

When asked why the county would turn over the land, the mayor said that it “could be managed (and promoted) better by someone else.”

Fair enough. Someone told me earlier today – and I haven’t verified this yet – that Knox County is the state’s only county without a state park right now.

Anders to serve as commission chair

Brad Anders (by Dan Andrews)
Knox County Commissioner Brad Anders was picked Tuesday in a close vote to serve as commission chairman, a position he sought this time last year and narrowly lost.

He’ll replace Tony Norman, who stepped down from the spot but will continue to serve as a commissioner.

Anders, who will wield the gavel for the next 12 months, said one of his top priorities include reaching out to top leaders on the Knox County School Board “and try to have open dialogue and improve the public perception of ‘us against them.’”   

He added that he would continue holding monthly work session and monthly commission luncheons, which give officials a chance to meet with department heads and other local leaders to talk more about county business.

The board picked Anders over R. Larry Smith, the vice chairman for the past year, in a 6-4 vote during its annual reorganizational meeting.

Commissioners Sam McKenzie, Amy Broyles, Anders, Mike Brown, Mike Hammond and Ed Shouse   supported Anders. Commissioners Dave Wright, Jeff Ownby, Tony Norman, Smith and picked Smith.

Commissioner Richard Briggs, a surgeon, was out of town on a medical trip.

 “Brad is going to do a great job and I look forward to working with him,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

The commission chairman runs the meetings, sets the monthly agenda and oversees the board's three-member staff. The position also works closely with the county's law department, mayor, school superintendent and the chairperson for the Knox County Board of Education.

Click right smack here for the complete bad a$$ story.