Meet mayor, sheriff candidates at AARP today

The local AARP chapter has organized an event today that will allow voters to meet candidates for Anderson County mayor and sheriff.

It starts at 1 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Senior Center. Those who attend are encouraged to bring a snack.

Candidates for mayor include the incumbent, Terry Frank, a Republican first elected in August 2012; her GOP opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates; and Democrat Jim Hackworth, a former state representative. [Read more...]

Meet mayor, sheriff candidates at AARP today

aarp-sheriff-mayor-candidates-0414-300x250

The local AARP chapter has organized an event today that will allow voters to meet candidates for Anderson County mayor and sheriff.

It starts at 1 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Senior Center. Those who attend are encouraged to bring a snack.

Candidates for mayor include the incumbent, Terry Frank, a Republican first elected in August 2012; her GOP opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates; and Democrat Jim Hackworth, a former state representative. [Read more...]

Voters can meet candidates for contested Anderson County offices

Democracy for East Tennessee has organized an April 15 event that will allow Anderson County voters the chance to meet candidates for four county offices before the May 6 primary election.

The four contested races are for Anderson County mayor, sheriff, chancellor, and Juvenile Court judge. Other offices on the primary ballot are not contested.

The “meet the candidates” event is scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in the Oak Ridge Civic Center’s A/B Room.

“Democracy for East Tennessee is sponsoring this event so citizens of Anderson County can become better acquainted with the candidates for four Anderson County offices before the primary election on May 6,” the organization said in a press release. [Read more...]

Republican forum: Issues range from jobs, retail to drug courts, trial experience

Anderson County Republican Party Forum

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, center, gives an opening statement during a Tuesday night candidate forum for Republican Party candidates. Also pictured are Anderson County Commissioner Zach Bates, left, who is challenging Frank in the May 6 GOP primary, and Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Randy Myers, one of two Republican candidates for sheriff.

Note: This story was last updated at 11:45 a.m.

The starkest differences between any candidates at a Tuesday night Republican Party forum might have emerged in the race for Anderson County chancellor, where candidates Michael Farley and Nicki Cantrell clashed on questions of trial experience and whether the Chancery Court should ever be used to hear criminal cases.

In the race for sheriff, Republican candidates Anthony Lay and Randy Myers agreed on one key question: No federal inmates should be housed at the Anderson County jail.

In the race for mayor, Terry Frank, the incumbent, said she had presided over one of the few—and possibly the only—tax cut in Anderson County history, while her opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates, said the county’s biggest economic challenge is “retail leakage.” [Read more...]

Most Anderson commissioners seek re-election, six running in District 7 in OR

Anderson County Courthouse

The Anderson County Courthouse on Main Street in Clinton is pictured above.

There are six candidates running for Anderson County Commission in District 7 in Oak Ridge in August, and a Democrat has joined the race for Tennessee House of Representatives in the 33rd District.

Meanwhile, an Independent, Bradley S. Rickett, has joined the race for Anderson County mayor, competing against Democrat Jim Hackworth and the winner of the May 6 Republican primary, either the incumbent, Terry Frank, or her challenger, Commissioner Zach Bates.

Fourteen of the 16 Anderson County commissioners are seeking re-election to a four-year term. But Bates, from District 4 in the Lake City area, is not. And neither is Commissioner John Shuey. Shuey is one of two commissioners in District 7, which includes the Glenwood, Highland View, and Pine Valley precincts in Oak Ridge.

District 7 is the most competitive in terms of number of candidates. In addition to the incumbent, Jerry Creasey, other candidates include Jimmy Bouchard, Michael Marsh, Denny Phillips, Kevin Rice, and Theresa Scott.

District 3—which includes Andersonville, Fairview, Glen Alpine, and Norris—has five candidates, including the two incumbents, Steve Emert and Dusty Irwin. The other three candidates are Josh Anderson, David Farmer, and Philip Warfield. [Read more...]

Hackworth a Democratic candidate for AC mayor; more running for chancellor, juvenile judge

Jim Hackworth

Jim Hackworth

Former Tennessee Rep. Jim Hackworth has qualified to run in the May 6 Democratic primary for Anderson County mayor. He could take on the winner of the Republican primary—either the incumbent, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, or her challenger, Commissioner Zach Bates—in the Aug. 7 county general election.

Hackworth is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The deadline to qualify as a candidate in the May 6 primaries was noon Thursday. There were four last-minute qualifiers, including Hackworth. Here are the others:

  • Nichole “Nicki” Cantrell joined Mike Farley and Phil Harber in the Republican primary for chancellor. [Read more...]

Anderson County primary deadline Thursday at noon

Information from WYSH Radio

The deadline to qualify as a candidate in any of the races on the ballot for Anderson County’s May 6 primaries is at noon Thursday.

Here is a look at who has qualified so far:

  • So far, only incumbent Judge Don Elledge has qualified to run for his seat as criminal and circuit judge.
  • Five people have qualified to run in the hotly-contested Juvenile Court judge primaries. Two Democrats—J. Michael Clement and David Dunkirk—are seeking the nomination, while three Republicans—Victoria Bannach, Lauren Biloski, and Brian Hunt—have qualified to seek their party’s nod to run for the seat in the August general election.
  • Brandon Fisher, the current Juvenile Court judge, had qualified to run for the Democratic nomination for chancellor, a seat coming open due to the retirement of William Lantrip, but he announced just a couple of weeks ago that he will be dropping out of the race to join a company in Pennsylvania. On the Republican side, Mike Farley and Phil Harber have qualified to appear on the May ballot. [Read more...]

Commissioner Bates opposing Mayor Frank in May Republican primary

Zach Bates Announces for Anderson County Mayor

Anderson County Commissioner Zach Bates, pictured at center with his wife Whitney, announces he is running for Anderson County mayor in the Republican primary in May.

CLINTON—Anderson County Commissioner Zach Bates on Tuesday announced he is running for Anderson County mayor in the Republican primary in May.

Bates, 25, will oppose Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, 45, who was elected to a two-year term in August 2012, completing the unexpired term of former mayor Rex Lynch, who resigned in January 2011.

The oldest of 19 children, Bates was 21 when he was elected to the Anderson County Commission  in 2010. He represents District 4, which includes Lake City and Briceville. County officials said he is the youngest mayoral candidate they can recall.

His challenge to Frank might have appeared unexpected. The two have at times appeared to be politically aligned, including, for example, on the citizen-led initiative to install “In God We Trust” signs on the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton in July 2013. [Read more...]

Legal fees add up as officials try to ‘stop the bleeding’ in dispute between mayor, sheriff

Anderson County Detention Facility

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White are engaged in a legal fight over a two-page salary agreement that includes, among other things, six months’ worth of funding for 36 new employees at a new jail pod at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton. (Photo courtesy Anderson County Sheriff’s Department)

CLINTON—The legal fees might already exceed $20,000, and they could continue to mount in a bitter dispute between the mayor and sheriff over a $7.7 million salary agreement for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.

Efforts to “stop the bleeding”—and avoid extra expenses for Anderson County residents—were unsuccessful after a lengthy, heated debate on Monday night. During that debate, Anderson County commissioners rejected several proposals to cover some legal fees of Mayor Terry Frank in her response to a salary suit filed in July by Sheriff Paul White. Among the rejected options were proposals to pay Frank’s fees so far but no more, capping them at $40,000, or covering all expenses until the matter is resolved.

Frank has refused to sign the salary agreement, saying it includes about $1 million more for salaries and overtime than was approved by commission in June. But the Sheriff’s Department has said the salary agreement is routine and was drafted according to state law, and actual spending will be closer to the $6.6 million approved by the commission as part of this year’s budget. [Read more...]

Anderson commissioners reject budget change for part-time analyst hired by mayor

Note: This story was updated at 7:15 p.m.

CLINTON—Some Anderson County commissioners weren’t satisfied with the results they’ve seen—or haven’t seen—from a part-time fiscal analyst hired by the county mayor in December.

Some also weren’t happy about the amount paid to the analyst, Tom Shope, and a request to approve a budget change to pay him after the money has already been spent.

So, during a Monday meeting, they declined to transfer $22,740 from one budget code to another to allow Chris Phillips, Anderson County account and budgets director, to pay Shope from a part-time budget code. [Read more...]

Commission sends ‘In God We Trust’ back to committee for design work

Anderson County Commission and In God We Trust

Anderson County Commissioner Jerry Creasey, standing, says a proposal to put the national motto on the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton is dividing commissioners, and the county and Oak Ridge. Also pictured from left are commissioners Whitey Hitchcock, Zach Bates, Tracy Wandell, and John Shuey.

CLINTON—Questions about designs were unresolved Monday, and the Anderson County Commission sent a proposal to put the national motto “In God We Trust” on the county courthouse in Clinton back to a committee that has already considered it once.

The Anderson County Operations Committee recommended last week in a 5-3 vote to install black metal signs with white lettering and the national motto above the courthouse’s four entrances.

But the full 16-member commission discussed putting the national motto in granite lettering during a Monday night meeting, among other things.

[Read more...]

TDOT to spend $1.2 million to make Highway 116 safer

Information from WYSH Radio

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will spend more than $1.2 million to make safety improvements on Highway 116, also known as New River Highway, in Anderson County’s Briceville community.

After a string of accidents, including some fatalities, on the rural road, local officials began trying to find ways to prevent them in the future and those efforts paid off last August when a team of TDOT officials joined Anderson County commissioners Tim Isbel and Zach Bates, members of the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department, and deputies from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department on a tour of the 11-mile stretch of road from Frost Bottom to the Campbell County line.

[Read more...]