District 9 Lacks Representation On School Board For Another Week

Photo: Hamilton County Commission Regular Meeting August 4, 2021 

Photo Credit: HamiltonCountyTN / YouTube 

In the Hamilton County Commission regular meeting yesterday, the Commission voted on the nominees for District 9 School Board Member.  However, they did not reach the required five votes required to make the appointment. 

Chattanooga, Tennessee At Night

District 9 County Commissioner, Dr. Steve Highlander said, “We had eight outstanding candidates.  This, in seven years on the school board and two months up here, is probably the most difficult decision I have had to vote on…Every one of them had something to offer.” 

According to the records of the County Commission office, eight individuals submitted written documentation expressing their desire to be appointed to the position.  

Those individuals are as follows: 

• Roddey M. Coe – IT Manager at Suburban Manufacturing 

• Patrick Hampton – Regional Director of the Access Academy 

• William A. House, III – assistant manager of EPB Employee Credit Union 

• Gary Kuehn – former principal of Harrison Bay Vocational School 

• Charles Kenneth Lawson – retired electrician from the county schools 

• Patrick D. Lee, II – General Manager of Tanslee Turf & Tractor 

• James Brent Walker – District Sales Manager for the Tennessee Lottery 

• Pam Womack – adjunct professor at Lee University 

District 7 Commissioner Sabrina Smedley filled in for District 2 Commissioner Chip Baker as Chair for the meeting. 

Smedley said, “The item on the agenda for this regular meeting is the appointment of an individual to serve the unexpired term on the Hamilton County school board district 9 as created by the resignation of board member and now county commissioner Dr. Steve Highlander.” 

In accordance with Tennessee Code, the Chair allowed individuals from the audience an opportunity to address the Commission and recommend names of any individuals that they want the Commission to consider for this appointment. Any name submitted by the audience would not be considered unless a commissioner nominated that individual or individuals. 

However, the audience made no recommendations. 

Smedley said, “There will be no need for a second to any nomination submitted.  If more than one name is submitted for consideration, the commission will vote by roll call by each commissioner stating the name of their choice when the clerk calls the respective commissioner’s name.” 

Five votes are needed in order to appoint an individual to the School Board and the nominee receiving the five votes will be appointed by the Commission. 

“If more than two individuals are nominated and neither nominee receives five votes on the first ballot, then the individual receiving the lowest number of votes on that first ballot will be eliminated from further consideration.  In other words, low-man out,” Smedley said. 

“Hopefully, we are now ready to proceed to fill the vacancy,” Smedley said. 

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District 5 Commissioner Katherlyn Geter nominated Gary Kuehn and District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd nominated James Brent Walker. 

On roll call, the commissioners voted as follows: 

Geter along with District 6 Commissioner David Sharpe and District 4 Commissioner Warren Mackey voted for Gary Kuehn.

Boyd, Smedley and Highlander along with District 3 Commissioner Greg Martin voted for James Brent Walker. 

District 1 Commissioner Randy Fairbanks and District 2 Commissioner Chip Baker were absent. 

Since neither of the two nominees received five votes from the ballot, additional balloting was suspended and the commission recessed until next Wednesday, August 11th at 930 AM to resume the process until an appointment is made. 

Prior to the meeting, each commissioner was given sufficient time and opportunity to interview the various individuals who submitted themselves for consideration to the position. 

The residents of the 9th District also had an opportunity to hear and question the applicants at a community meeting hosted by Commissioner Highlander. 

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About the Author:

Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative 

Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

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