New Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank announced staff changes Tuesday and pledged to focus on jobs and economic prosperity.
Frank said she will no longer work at her family-owned business, Nature’s Marketplace, and will push to make government more transparent while trying to cut illegal drug use in Anderson County.
Frank is Anderson County’s first female mayor. She was sworn in Friday evening and took office at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1.
On Tuesday, she said she had laid off Anderson County Grants Coordinator Alan Beauchamp, a sometimes-controversial political figure. Hydrogeologist Richard Burroughs, her chief campaign volunteer, will now be grants coordinator and chief of staff, doing both jobs for the same pay, Frank said.
“He’s going to be great for the county,” Frank said, pointing out his ability to help with water and storm water issues as well as environmental regulations.
She said Beauchamp’s layoff in an office restructuring had nothing to do with a lawsuit filed by her mother, Anne Phillips, that involved allegations against Beauchamp but was dismissed a few years ago. Frank said she and Beauchamp get along well.
“It’s not any kind of personal animosity,” Frank said.
Oak Ridge Today has been unable to reach Beauchamp for comment.
Frank said the county’s head of zoning, Brian Jenks, is also leaving the county government, taking a job in the private sector. He will help the county as long as he is needed, Frank said.
She said there could also be a change in another unnamed county department.
Frank has worked at Nature’s Marketplace in Oak Ridge since 1993, and she said her brother Denny Phillips, a cook, is taking her place at the store, where her husband Lee will continue to work.
She said she doesn’t see her new job as a major career change.
“It’s really the same job,” Frank said. “It’s still serving people.”
Frank also plans to emphasize fiscal restraint and long-term planning.
She said her potential relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy, which has three major sites in Oak Ridge, had been mischaracterized by Warren Gooch, her Democratic opponent in the Aug. 2 county election. Frank, a Republican, said she will have a positive relationship with DOE.