published Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Bradley County Commission has big turnover

  • photo
    Bradley County Commission Chairman Louie Alford, left, and Commissioners Charlotte Peak-Jones and Jeff Yarber.
    Photo by Paul Leach /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — In September, the Bradley County Commission will turn over fully half its 14 members.

"I'm looking forward to the challenges," commission Chairman Louie Alford said. "We're losing some good people, but we are getting some good people."

The key committee, Finance, is losing all of its members and will have to be rebuilt, he said.

Commissioner and Finance Chairman Ed Elkins did not seek re-election, nor did committee members Bill Ledford or J. Adam Lowe, who is commission vice chairman. The other two Finance members, Jeff Morelock and Mel Griffith, lost their seats in the recent election.

Commissioners Connie Wilson and Brian Smith did not seek re-election.

The transition will represent a considerable loss of experience, Alford said. It alters the makeup of all but one of the seven commission districts.

Commissioner-elect Milan Blake, who won a seat in the 3rd District, said he would like to be known as the "technology commissioner."

"I want to make a positive contribution with my education and experience," said Blake, who is a systems analyst at a payroll company. "I would like to introduce and improve the county's technological services."

The election also brings the return of Howard Thompson, who served more than 16 years as a commissioner for the 4th District before resigning in May 2011 and pleading guilty to attempted theft under $10,000.

He had been accused of receiving stolen goods at his U.S. Highway 64 flea market.

"I've got an idea of how the County Commission works after serving so many years," said Thompson after the Republican primary in May. "I'm ready to get back into it."

Commissioners who will be sworn in for new terms are Alford, Terry Caywood, Charlotte Peak-Jones, Jeff Yarber, Robert Rominger, Mark Hall and Bill Winters.

New members are Blake, Thompson, Thomas Crye, Bobby Goins, Mike Hughes, Johnny Mull and Dan Rawls.

Alford and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis will host an orientation program for new commissioners on Saturday at the Tri-State Exhibition Center.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Contact him at paulrleach3@gmail.com.

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