The appointment will be made by a vote of the full Commission. However, remaining 4th District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said he will make a replacement recommendation to the Commission. Other commissioners may also recommend someone to fill the position.
The appointed commissioner will not serve the remaining two years of Thompson’s term. Instead, according to Lowe, the appointee will serve until a county election can be held next year.
“I’ve been very pleased with the response. We had about 13 people who entered their names for consideration, and I think that’s a true testimony ... to how people in the 4th District care,” Lowe said.
Monday night Lowe held a short meeting for current commissioners to meet those interested in being appointed to replace Thompson.
Those who have expressed interest and submitted the paperwork to Lowe as requested include Charles Bagely, Cliff Eason, Paul Elrod, Gary Epperson, Charlotte Jones, Larry Mitchell, James Peters, Suzanne Wisdom and Greg Geren.
The meeting was voluntary for both commissioners and those interested in the position. Not all potential candidates chose to attend, but those who did shared information about their professions, service to the community and why they want the appointment.
Bagely has lived in the district for 28 years and held many management roles, worked 18 years at the M&M Mars Cleveland plant, and spent three years working abroad in Poland and China. He currently serves on the foster care renewal board and is a member of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club.
Eason is the principal of The Teen Learning Center for Cleveland City Schools. He is also a member of the Kiwanis Club and serves on the board of directors. Eason said he saw the empty Commission’s chair as a need that he could help fill through his strong belief in helping the community.
Elrod has lived in the 4th District his entire life, except for the time he spent serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He has been involved with elementary and community basketball for many years ensuring that children have a place to play. He also served on the Bradley County Recreation Advisory Board.
Epperson said he is Howard Thompson’s stepson and had a similar value system and passion for the community. He was unsure if he would run for the position in an election. However, he said the experience will be a “good trial by fire” for whomever is appointed. Epperson works as a general contractor.
Geren works in the Bradley County Schools system. He has been a coach, teacher and currently serves as an assistant principal. He also assigns officials to oversee local basketball games. Geren serves in the Bradley County Recreation Advisory board. He said he would come to the position with no hidden agendas.
Jones said she serves on various local boards, including the board of zoning and appeals and the economic development board. Jones is a member of the state boards of the Home Builders of Tennessee and Habitat for Humanity. She is also regularly volunteers with Habitat for Humanity locally.
Peters said he would like to be appointed as a commissioner to bring hope for the future of the county through unity. Peters has served as a volunteer firefighter and an EMT. He currently works for G4S Secure Solutions USA.
Lowe pointed out that in the past the potential candidates met the Commission formally for the first time during the same Commission meeting in which the vote was to be made.
Since this process usually dominated the meeting and followed a rigid structure, Lowe said he thought this would be a better way for the candidates to present information about themselves.