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Hitchcock vacancy, EMS issues the topics of special called Commission meeting

The Anderson County Commission has called a special meeting for Thursday February 8th at 5:30 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton.

The meeting has only two agenda items: filling the vacancy on the County Commission in District 6 created by the resignation of Whitey Hitchcock, which becomes effective February 1st; and to discuss issues surrounding the county’s EMS.

Hitchcock tendered his resignation Monday. He is one of two commissioners representing Oak Ridge’s District 6–which encompasses the Oak Ridge City Hall, Robertsville and West Hills voting precincts. The other District 6 commissioner is Steve Mead. Whoever is chosen must live in District 6. According to the vacancy announcement, “the recommended deadline to submit a resume is Friday, February 2, 2018, room 118 of the Courthouse, before 12:00 noon to allow Commissioners time to review documents before the commission meeting. However, any resume will be accepted the day of the meeting.

Before County Commission votes or considers any motion or resolution regarding the office to be filled, the chair shall allow registered voters of the county an opportunity to submit names to the County Commission for consideration. The names may be submitted in writing to the chair prior to the meeting or may be submitted in person at the meeting. In order for a name to be considered, a member of the County Commission must subsequently nominate the person. Members of the County Commission may also nominate a candidate or candidates to fill the office or vacancy without the name being submitted by a voter. If the person nominated is not present at the meeting, the person making the nomination shall submit a signed statement from the nominee that the nominee is willing to serve in the office if appointed.” The full announcement is available on our website in this story.

Monday, the Commission voted after a lengthy and often heated debate to defer any action on the county EMS’s request for additional funds to purchase three new ambulances until after an ongoing audit of the EMS is completed.

EMS wants to begin replacing their current fleet of aging ambulances, some of which have over 300,000 miles on them and spend a lot of time in the shop. But, with some commissioners unsatisfied with the answers they have received to questions surrounding the ambulance service’s financial problems, the audit is expected to provide officials with a comprehensive picture of how EMS operates, how much money it is spending and identify areas where operations can be streamlined.

The audit is expected to be finalized sometime later this spring, most likely in May.

In addition to the special called meeting on February 8th, the Anderson County EMS Audit Committee will meet at 5:30 pm Thursday, February 22nd in Room 312 of the Courthouse, located at 100 N. Main Street in Clinton.

In a related story, the Clinton City Council agreed to a request from EMS Director Nathan Sweet to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to assist with the purchase of new ambulances. The county has applied for a similar grant for the same reasons and Sweet said Monday that it would provide 80% of the funds with a required 20% local match that he says the EMS would cover. If the EMS could not come up with the necessary funds for the match, the city would be responsible for it, which led Councilman Jim McBride to tell Sweet that he wanted the “check in hand” for the local match before the city would submit the grant, which likely will be for $315,000.

We will continue to follow this story for you.

Announcement to fill vacancy on the County Commission:

Due to the resignation of County Commissioner Harry “Whitey” Hitchcock, effective February 1, 2018, the Anderson County Board of Commissioners, meeting in a Special Session, Thursday February 8, 2018, convening at 5:30 p.m. in room 312 of the Anderson County Courthouse, has placed the filling of this vacancy on the Agenda.

County Commission District 6 includes the following voting precincts: Robertsville, Oak Ridge City Hall and West Hills.

Qualifications: T.C.A. § 5-5-102(b) Members shall reside within and be qualified voters of the districts which they represent. The recommended deadline to submit a resume is Friday, February 2, 2018, room 118 of the Courthouse, before 12:00 noon to allow Commissioners time to review documents before the commission meeting. However, any resume will be accepted the day of the meeting.

Before County Commission votes or considers any motion or resolution regarding the office to be filled, the chair shall allow registered voters of the county an opportunity to submit names to the County Commission for consideration. The names may be submitted in writing to the chair prior to the meeting or may be submitted in person at the meeting. In order for a name to be considered, a member of the County Commission must subsequently nominate the person. Members of the County Commission may also nominate a candidate or candidates to fill the office or vacancy without the name being submitted by a voter. If the person nominated is not present at the meeting, the person making the nomination shall submit a signed statement from the nominee that the nominee is willing to serve in the office if appointed.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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