ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County Commission Chairman Mike Herrell announced during last week’s meeting he will step down from that position this month and resume his role as a regular commissioner.
Traditionally the county mayor had served as commission chairman and only voted if there was need for a tiebreaker.
When Jim Lee was elected mayor last year, however, he chose to adopt an alternative role, forgoing the chairmanship and instead accepting the statutory power to veto commission decisions.
After one year in office, Lee hasn’t yet exercised his veto power.
Every September, the chairman and vice chairman (chairman pro tem) are elected by the commission.
Last year, Herrell defeated Jeff Barrett of Church Hill for the chairmanship in a close contest that took two votes to decide.
Herrell, who is completing his fifth year on the commission, told the Times News after the Aug. 26 meeting he feels he can do more good for the county resuming the role he played during his first four years — scrutinizing all expenditures and asking a lot of questions.
“I felt like I haven’t got the support I needed for the mayor, and also there’s a lot of stuff going by that really, the taxpayers didn’t benefit from,” Herrell said. “We just passed the budget — $99 million — and nobody asked a single question. I disagreed with that. You know how I’ve been the last four years. We need to ask more questions than we’re doing.”
Upon polling some other commissioners, the Times News has learned the most likely nominees to replace Herrell are District 2 Commissioner Keith Gibson of Church Hill, who is completing his first year on the commission; and District 6 Commissioner Rick Brewer, who resides in the Hawkins County portion of Bean Station and is completing his fifth year.
The new chairman will be elected at the next commission meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Hawkins County Courthouse.