published Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Newcomer gets nod for Grundy commission vacancy

Political newcomer Jeremy Stone will fill the vacancy left by former Grundy County Commission chairman Ralph Rieben’s resignation in January.

Stone, the only nominee arising from five names in the hat, got the unanimous nod from commissioners last week.

District 1 Commissioner Michael Brady said he nominated Stone for the vacant District 1 post because of his education, forward thinking and “an eagerness to have input in the things that are going on in the county.”

“I believe he has all the skills to move us forward,” Brady said, noting that problems with jail and school facilities immediately will test Stone’s mettle.

Officials said four others — Wayne Harris, Larry Hall, Scotty Hoosier and Larry Nunley — also applied for the post, but only Stone was nominated.

“It was a hard decision, but all things considered, I believe he was the best choice,” Brady said.

Altamont, Tenn., resident Stone, a 34-year-old who works in the human resources department at Yorozu Automotive in Morrison, Tenn., said he has no political experience but wants to “move the county forward.”

“I want to put what I’ve learned in the business arena toward the County Commission seat,” said Stone, who has a degree from Motlow State Community College and is seeking a bachelor’s degree at Middle Tennessee State University.

Stone has “no opinions” yet on jail and school facilities problems, but said he wants “to see all the information and make my decisions based on the facts and figures.”

State fire and electrical inspections in the past couple of years have revealed a number of major safety issues at the jail and at elementary schools in Palmer and Coalmont, Tenn.

Stone will fill the seat held by Rieben, who resigned in January because he felt at odds with fellow commissioners on the county’s jail problems.

County Mayor Lonnie Cleek said Rieben’s experience will be sorely missed but predicted that Stone will perform well.

“I think the commissioners did a fine job, and I think Mr. Stone will do a great job,” Cleek said Monday.

State law dictates that appointees to a commission seat must run to hold the post in the next regularly scheduled election, which in Grundy County is August 2012.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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