PIKEVILLE, Tenn. — The Bledsoe County seat has new leadership in city hall in the wake of the arrest and resignation of former Mayor Greg Johnson.
Philip Cagle, 62, said Friday that his first orders of business as mayor are to begin rebuilding the public's trust and to focus on a positive outlook.
"I trust me. I know what I will do," Cagle said. "And right now, I needed that and this city needs that." Pikeville leaders "have got to regain that [public] trust," he said.
The city's staff remains the same as when Johnson left office, and those employees want to get the city "back on track," said Cagle, who was serving on Pikeville's Board of Aldermen.
He will fulfill the remaining three-plus years of Johnson's term.
Bledsoe County Mayor Bobby Collier said he looks forward to working with Cagle on joint projects that could bring much-needed jobs to the area.
"With him at the helm, I feel like we have some good help and a good partnership to work together to achieve a lot of good things," Collier said. "With the enthusiasm he provides we can take on those projects and get them done."
Cagle was appointed at a called meeting Sept. 1, the same day Johnson's resignation became effective after charges against him of theft exceeding $60,000 and official misconduct. The charges stem from accusations that the former mayor has stolen as much as $250,000 in taxpayer funds.
The county's property assessor for 31 years until he retired from that post in 2011, Cagle said he was not looking to become mayor, but supporters gave him the confidence to move from the alderman seat to the mayor's office.
"We are definitely on the upswing," he said. "A year from now, the people in this town are going be very happy" with the city's direction.
Cagle's appointment created a vacancy on the Board of Aldermen, which was filled Monday night with the appointment of Ray Evans, recently retired director of the Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency and a former Pikeville mayor.
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 ...