Steve Mead, an Anderson County commissioner representing an Oak Ridge district, is running for one of eight seats on the Anderson County Charter Commission in the November 8 election.
Mead has expressed some concerns about term limits, at least as proposed in Anderson County this campaign season. Term limits have become one of the defining issues of the Charter Commission campaign, although nothing official will be proposed, debated, or approved until after the eight-member commission is elected next month.
In a press release, Mead said eight candidates have made term limits the primary focus of their campaign. He said those eight candidates were recruited by Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and her supporters, although at least two candidates—Jim Cooper and Kathy Moore—have denied that in statements to Oak Ridge Today.
Mead said he supports term limits for career politicians that make a living from their elected offices. That’s similar to the position taken by other nation-wide organizations like U.S. Term Limits Inc., Mead said in the press release.
“I, ,just as the Founding Fathers intended, believe that our legislative bodies should consist of low-paid, part-time, citizen legislators that have real jobs (or own real businesses) which provide their livelihood,” Mead said. “Their elected office salaries simply compensate them for attending meetings and time away from their families and real careers.”
He said Anderson County Commissioners are low-paid—they earn $125 per week—and they are part-time citizen legislators who work from home offices and make their livings away from their elected offices.
One term limit proposal that has been discussed this campaign, although it’s not official yet, is a two-term limit for county commissioners and the county mayor. Mead has expressed concern with that proposal.
“Two term term limits means that, in every meeting, half the commission would be new and the other half can’t be re-elected no matter what they do,” Mead said in the press release.
He’s also suggested that there has been significant turnover on the Anderson County Commission, despite no term limits now.
“Since 2010, we have had 14 new people join commission,” Mead said in the press release.
Mead said he is concerned that a small group of people running in all eight County Commission districts, including some who have unsuccessfully run for County Commission, are now “falsely alleging that the county does not have open meetings, does not allow citizens to speak in meetings, and does not allow citizens to participate in county government.”
“Here is the truth,” Mead said in his press release:
- All meetings are open public meetings as required by Tennessee state law.
- Citizens are allowed to speak regarding items on, or not on, the agenda.
- There are currently about 126 positions on boards and committees filled by county citizens.
Mead doubts that the Charter Commission election is about term limits, and he said it could make county government worse.
“I think the voters must stay in control,” he said.
In the press release, Mead said he and his family came to Oak Ridge in 1987 after he served 21.5 years in the U.S. Nuclear Submarine Force. He said he used his experience in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, and his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and master’s in business, to work first at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor. He then moved on to the three-plant-wide Emergency Management team, and then in 2004 joined the Y-12 Production Facilities.
“I specialized in taking over troubled programs and bringing them into legal and business compliance, while reducing costs and improving productivity,” Mead said.
He and his wife Leslie have been married for more than 47 years, and they have four grown daughters and nine grandchildren, the press release said. His oldest grandson is now serving as a communication electronics specialist on board nuclear submarine USS San Juan, SSN 751. His oldest daughter’s husband, a native Oak Ridger, is about a year away from retiring from the U.S. Air Force, Mead said.
Mead ran for Tennessee State House 33rd District back in 2001 and lost by 142 votes out of 20,000 votes cast.
“I have been active in local and state issues since that time,” Mead said. “In 2010, I campaigned for and was elected to the Anderson County Commission and am now about two years into my second term. I have served on key committees, including Finance, Budget, Purchasing, Legal Services, Audit, Legislative, Veterans Services, and others. I have also served on state-level committees regarding review of legislation for potential impact on the counties and to help ensure fair treatment of our veterans.”
For more information, contact Mead at [email protected].
Voters will elect one charter commissioner per district to the eight-member Charter Commission in the election on Tuesday, November 8. Mead is running in District 6, which includes the Oak Ridge City Hall, Robertsville, and West Hills voting precincts in Oak Ridge.
Early voting begins October 19 and ends November 3.
There are two candidates for the District 6 seat on Charter Commission. Besides Mead, the other candidate is Hugh Ward. You can follow our 2016 election coverage here. You can see the November 8 sample ballot, which includes Anderson County Charter Commission candidates, here.
Do you appreciate this post or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today.
Copyright 2016 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.