Hawkins commissioner quits to take state House seat

The Hawkins County Commission has scheduled a Dec. 21 meeting to select a temporary successor to Mike Harrison in the House District 9 seat, reports the Kingsport Times News.

And Gary Hicks, who has chaired the commission’s budget committee for six years, has resigned his seat on the commission in anticipation of being appointed to succeed Harrison, R-Rogersville.

Hicks has been touted as the favorite for the commission’s appointment to that seat.

Rogersville Realtor and former state Senate candidate Cynthia Bundren-Jackson has announced she is running for the seat when it comes up for election in 2016.

The District 6 commission seat vacated by Hicks will come up for appointment by the county commission at its Jan. 25 meeting.

All Hawkins County Commission seats come up for re-election in 2018.

Harrison announced in October that he would resign the seat in December — and he did so last week — to become executive director of the Tennessee Association of County Mayors effective Jan. 1. The district covers both Hancock and Hawkins counties.

Note: The pending appointment of Hicks inspired Tommy Campbell, editor of the Rogersville Review, to make some critical commentary in editorials. The first, HERE, includes these lines:

No one we have spoken with is entirely comfortable with this scenario, not the home folks here nor our neighbors “Over Home” in Hancock County.

Rep. Harrison could, himself, have prevented this from ending up in the Commission’s lap by choosing to step down prior to that deadline and allowing the voters to choose the person whom they want to finish out his unexpired term that ends next November. That way, a successor would then be chosen, not by the 21 members of the Commission, but by the electors of both counties who are the rightful stakeholders in this matter.

That didn’t happen, unfortunately, and now, depending on what direction commissioners go in, the decision could be one for which they are commended or cussed by the citizenry.

We say this because we have heard disturbing reports from readers who tell us that some commissioners have said to them in conversations that the appointment is a “done deal”, that a person has already been identified who will be presented for a vote at their December meeting.
Really? Let’s see now … how many possible ethical and legal issues could that involve?

A second editorial column basically reported on the reaction to the first. It’s HERE and begins: “Whooooeeee.”