published Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Hamilton County commissioners confirm Erlanger appointees, talk whiskey

Hamilton County Commissioners during a commission meeting in this file photo.
Hamilton County Commissioners during a commission meeting in this file photo.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

In other business, the commission:

• Accepted bids from various supply companies for kitchen items at Ooltewah Elementary School.

• Voted to allow the Mowbray Volunteer Fire Department to sell a 20-year-old pickup truck it co-owned with the county.

• Accepted a $773,000 bid from Certified Maintenance Services for a three-year custodial contract.

• Agreed to increase contracts with two contractors separately working on the Hixson Pike/Thrasher Pike and East Brainerd Road/Ooltewah-Ringgold Road intersections.

• Agreed to extend the county's contract with Corrections Corporation of America until April 2016 for its management of the Silverdale Correction Facility.

Two financial gurus are joining Erlanger's board of trustees after Hamilton County commissioners unanimously approved their appointments on Wednesday.

Local venture capitalist Jack Studer and former Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce President Tom Edd Wilson are the newest members of Erlanger's board of trustees.

Studer and Wilson were nominated last week by Mayor Jim Coppinger to fill positions left by Richard Casavant, who resigned in September after serving 18 months of his four-year appointment, and Pat Quinn, who died in December 2011.

Coppinger delayed making the appointments until last week in anticipation of legislation that would have reformed the hospital's governing body. But despite clearing the General Assembly and Gov. Bill Haslam, that legislative effort failed to gain commission approval in March.

Coppinger told commissioners Wednesday he made his selections because he believeds Studer and Wilson don't have political agendas going onto the board.

Only Commissioner Greg Beck asked about Studer's financial background, but he then voted in favor of the appointments.

"There's a lot of confusion out there currently at Erlanger. ... He's going out there to get into that confusion. So, good luck," Beck said.

DISTILLERY NEXT STEPS

Later in Wednesday's meeting, County Attorney Rheubin Taylor advised commissioners on their responsibilities and powers over legislation to allow whiskey distilling in unincorporated Hamilton County.

The so-called distillery bill has been passed by the General Assembly and is on its way to Haslam's desk. Haslam could sign or veto the bill, but if he takes no action within 10 days of his receipt of it, the bill automatically becomes law.

Once signed, Taylor said commissioners they would have the option to hold a vote that would prohibit distilleries in unincorporated parts of the county.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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