Photo: Dr. Steve Highlander
Published June 10, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Hamilton County, TN – With the Hamilton County Commission unable to reach the required five votes for any of the three nominated candidates to fill Commissioner Bankston’s vacancy last week, they voted again yesterday adding additional nominations from the eight individuals who applied for the position.
District 3 Commissioner Greg Martin nominated Jeff Eversole, as he did last week.
District 4 Commissioner Warren Mackey nominated Steve Highlander, who was not one of the three nominees from last week.
When Chairman Baker called for a vote on this week’s two nominees, District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd passed on the first round of voting but voted in favor of Highlander after the other commissioners had voiced their votes.
Commissioners Fairbanks, Mackey, Sharpe and Smedley also voted in favor of Highlander.
Martin and Chairman Baker voted in favor of Jeff Eversole.
District 5 Commissioner Katherlyn Geter was not present at this week’s meeting.
With Highlander receiving the required five votes, Chairman Baker invited him to approach the podium and then be sworn in.
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Highlander said, “I’m very thankful at the opportunity to continue to serve. I’ve been seven years on the School Board and I want to bring my knowledge of education. I’ve been Chairman of the Finance Committee and I’m very thankful to serve the citizens of District 9 but also all the citizens of Hamilton County.”
Highlander stated that he feels it would be “inappropriate to do long-term” in serving on both the Commission and School Board. “I think it would be a conflict of interest,” Highlander said.
Highlander was sworn in by County Clerk Bill Knowles.
Prior to the nominations and votes, Chairman Baker stated, ““Last week through our implementations of the ‘last-man out’ process, Dean Moorhouse and Shannon Stephenson remained for consideration but neither garnered the five necessary votes. Since we were unable to reach a decision last week, from among those two nominees, the chair announced we would attempt today to finish that process and that all eight individuals who had submitted their names for consideration were still in consideration.”
Citizens and members of the audience in last week’s meeting were given the opportunity to recommend to the Commission persons to be considered for the position, however, no one came forward.
In one of his more controversial acts as a Hamilton County School Board member, on January 21st, Highlander voted against in-person learning for Hamilton County schools. This was after he had been teaching in-person classes all day at Ringgold High School in Georgia.
According to Highlander’s own statement, 70% of parents in Hamilton County were in favor of a return to in-person learning.