Many Commissioners Announce Selections Ahead of Meeting

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel
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Knoxville (WVLT) - At 9:00am Wednesday morning, Knox County commissioners will decide who will replace the twelve people losing their positions to term limits.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel reports, those twelve have recommended the ones they'd like to take their place.

More than six dozen people are vying for 12 spots in Knox County government. The commissioners have a huge responsibility as they choose the county's future leaders, and County Mayor Mike Ragsdale has some advice for them before they make a decision.

"I hope that we select people who care about good public policy, who are interested in serving their fellow citizens and just aren't political appointments looking for positions," Ragsdale said.

Commissioners make their decision Wednesday morning, and they have a lot of candidates to chose from. However, there is one less for Sheriff. Randy Tyree, who ran in the 2006 election against Sheriff Tim Hutchison, withdrew his name. Tyree says he does not want to put any further pressure on the commissioners.

"We have really been hit in the community with a political tsunami, and the commissioners, my heart goes out to them because they are getting it from all sides, and they are trying to comply with a Supreme Court mandate," Tyree said.

Tyree says Hutchison already has commitments from ten of the commissioners to select his choice-- J.J. Jones. Jones is the department's Chief Deputy in charge of Administration. He's held that position since 2005.

County Clerk Mike Padgett is recommending George Stooksbury -- Padgett's Administrative Assistant. A Democrat, Stooksbury has worked in the clerk's office for 17 years.

Trustee Mike Lowe is recommending his Chief Deputy, Fred Sisk, to replace him. Sisk is a Republican and has been working there for 17 years.

And Steve Hall recommends Republican Sherry Witt to take over as Register of Deeds. She's been his Chief Deputy for 11 years.

It's going to be a tough decision for commissioners, but some are taking the public's input very seriously.

"I want to applaud those commissioners who've held events in their districts and opened up to gather public input. That's the way it really should work. Some people on commission have avoided doing that, and I think that's unfortunate," Ragsdale said.

Here's a look at who ousted commissioners hope will replace them.

In the First District, Diane Jordan says she wants her son, Josh, also a Democrat, to fill her shoes.

In District Two, longtime Commissioner Billy Tindell recommends Jonathan Wimmer to take his place. Wimmer ran in the 2006 Primary on the Democratic ticket.

There are two seats open in the Fourth District. John Schimd has chosen Republican Craig Fischer to take over.

But, 4th District Commissioner Phil Guthe isn't saying who he will recommend until Wednesday.

And, it's still unknown who Commissioner John Griess will request to take his place in the 5th District.

In District Six, Mark Cawood is recommending his wife, Sharon, take over for him. She is a Deputy Clerk in the Juvenile Court Clerk's office.

Commissioner John Mills hasn't released his recommendation in the 8th.

And District Nine Commissioner, Larry Clark, says he'll support Tim Greene -- a Knoxville business owner.

"If we can take a proactive positive approach, it will turn out just fine and I'm optimistic that will happen tomorrow," Ragsdale said.

County commission members have said they will put a lot of stock in who the Term Limited 12 pick as their replacements, but that does not mean they are in.

We'll be there for the meeting and we'll have live updates online on volunteertv.com com and right here on Volunteer TV News.

Commissioners are expected to record their votes instead of a voice vote.


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