CLINTON—Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank announced Thursday that Chris Phillips will be rejoining Anderson County government as budget director.
“I never wanted Chris to leave, but I certainly understood from the beginning that Lake City, now Rocky Top, was in search of next-level management in modernizing their accounting structure,” Frank said. “Though Chris tried to accomplish Rocky Top’s goals by working part-time on weekends, it really took him leaving the county to be in Rocky Top full-time. I made it clear from the get-go that if I had not filled the budget director position, he was always welcome back home here in Anderson County government.”
“While the thought of disappointing those who were kind enough to vote for me weighs heavily on me, I know I can best serve the people of this county by implementing and directing policy, rather than making policy, and that requires that I step down from my position as Commissioner to serve Anderson County in another way,” said Phillips, who was elected to one of two Anderson County Commission seats in District 4 on August 7.
Phillips will resign his County Commission seat effective October 10, a press release said.
Former Anderson County Commissioner Zach Bates, who ran for county mayor in the May 6 Republican primary, did not seek re-election in District 4, which includes the Lake City (Rocky Top), Briceville, and Rosedale voting precincts. Incumbent Tim Isbel won re-election to the other seat in that district.
Phillips resigned from his job as Anderson County accounts and budget director in February in order to take a job as city recorder in Lake City.
“Chris knows Anderson County inside and out, and we have missed him,” Frank said. “Our team is excited to have him back, and I personally am just thrilled.”
The press release said Phillips will officially rejoin Anderson County government on October 30.
In the press release, Frank thanked Connie Aytes, who has served as interim budget director, for her “tireless work.”
“She has served Anderson County for six years—since February 2014 as interim budget director—and under Phillips’ previous tenure as budget director, was named deputy director,” the county mayor said. “Her past experience as an auditor with the Tennessee Office of the Comptroller has given the accounting office a unique area of expertise, insight, and guidance. She is so appreciated for rising to the challenge as interim director, and we can’t possibly thank her enough. She remains a vital part of the team.”
The release said Phillips helped Anderson County achieve seven Certificates of Excellence in the seven years he previously was the county’s budget director. He is a certified financial manager accredited through the Association of Government Accountants and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tennessee Wesleyan College.
“When approached by Rocky Top, I felt it was my duty to help get my hometown in solid financial order,” Phillips said. “I left to get things back on track, believing it was my calling to do so. Once I was here, I immediately began working toward balancing their accounts, working with the auditors to help them complete the overdue 2012/2013 financial audit, instituted direct deposit for the employees, installed card machines in order to accept debit and credit card transactions, hired a new water clerk, installed property tax software in the place of a manual paper process, and corrected many other processes that had fallen by the way side over the last few years. I’ve helped Rocky Top modernize in anticipation of great things to come, and now feel I’m able to return to Anderson County.
“I am very proud to have helped Rocky Top move forward, and am excited to return to Anderson County.”