Knox commission search for new chairman

By: Rob Pratt
By: Rob Pratt

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- The Knox County Commission is now playing at full strength after operating with only 11 members for four months.

With eight new members and Scott Moore's resignation as chairman, many are watching closely to see who will emerge as the new leaders during the next 6 months.

After several months of long and controversial meetings, former vice chairman and current acting chairman Thomas "Tank" Strickland is getting credit for what many call his efficient handling of Wednesday’s appointment process.

But even though most agree Strickland’s promotion helped set a new tone the appointments, his isn’t the only name being considered for the permanent chairman possession.

What people liked about how Strickland ran Wednesdays meeting was his no nonsense, take charge approach.

“I'm very interested in remaining the chairman but it's up to my colleagues,” said Strickland. “I hope I presented to them what I can do, that I can handle a meeting in a business-like manner."

During the appointments, he didn’t hesitate to stop commissioners and speakers when they strayed off topic, something many feel the chairman is supposed to do.

“That's what we desperately need, people that don't have an agenda behind them,” said R. Larry Smith, a Knox County Commissioner, who applauded his performance and independence at the head of the commission. “Commissioner Strickland would do a good job if he wants to do that. Even Commissioner Hammond, I think Hammond would make a good chairperson too."

Mike Hammond said he did not really view himself as a leader.

"It think it's very flattering that people would say that, I just try to do the right thing and try to do what I feel the citizens would want me to do," said Hammond, who also said he thought Strickland would do a great job as chairman.

One this to remember is that they will also need to pick a new vice-chair, and Hammond’s name could make that list too.

Strickland already know how he will cast his ballot.

“I think I know who I'm going to vote for, but I'm not going to tell you,” he said.

The commissioners said they don't know where their counterparts stand on the issue of who will be elected to leadership positions.

They also said talking about that with other commissioners outside of a meeting could violate the sunshine law.

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