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Sunday, January 24, 2021
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New council rescinds old council's appointments; Petty, Wampler now on redevelopment commission

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The Sullivan County Council of 2021 reversed course set by Sullivan
County Council 2020 when it came to the council's two appointments to
the Sullivan County Redevelopment Commission in a special meeting on
Friday night.

For the second time in a week, new council member Jackie Monk made the
motion to rescind the former council's appointments of Jay Southwood
and John Gettinger and appoint Jen Petty and Duane Wampler to the
redevelopment commission.

Southwood and Gettinger were appointed by the previous council — the
November election created three new council members starting in 2021 —
in their final meeting of 2020.

Monk's motion passed in a 4-1 vote — Monk, Matt Chickadaunce, Wes
Scarbrough and Jerry Payne in favor, while Logan Pearison was not in
favor. Council members Curt Bedwell and Nick Cullison did not attend.

If you recall, in last Tuesday's council reorganization meeting, Monk
made the same motion, but the council's attorney, Lucas Rowe, advised
the council to weigh in on a consent to vote,  which must be
unanimous, to seek removal of the board members.

After a lengthy discussion, the consent to vote on this topic was 5-2
in favor, but was not unanimous as needed. Bedwell and Nick Cullison
were opposed.

The next day, on Wednesday, the council called the Friday special
meeting to revisit this issue.

All four candidates had submitted letters of interest in 2020, which
the council said typically was when these appointments were made in
the last meeting of the year so the redevelopment commission could
reorganize at their first meeting the next year.

At the council's last meeting in 2020, Bedwell made the motion,
seconded by Cullison, to appoint Southwood and Gettinger. The vote was
3-2 in favor of the motion — Bedwell, Cullison and Tim Abrams in
favor, with Payne and Pearison opposed.  Wampler stated he was
abstaining due to being an applicant. Councilman Larry Kinnett did not
attend.

"You guys made an appointment we already had plans for in our first
meeting," stated then-audience member Monk, who felt the new council
should make the appointments. Monk, Chickadaunce and Scarbrough are
the new council members in 2021, replacing Abrams, Wampler and
Kinnett.

Another audience member had asked why Petty, who served last year on
the commission, was not reappointed, with then-council president
Abrams stating the council had made their choices.

Abrams said after the meeting, as far as he was concerned, the vote
was final and the appointments should stand.

In a phone conversation Sunday night, Cullison stated he was not sure,
but thought this was the first time persons had been appointed to a
board, but were never allowed to serve.

"I was very disappointed in what happened," he said.

The new redevelopment commission — Robert McCammon, Brian Hazelrigg
and Doug Bates, appointed by the commissioners, along with Petty and
Wampler — were scheduled to meet for the first time last night.

To accomodate the timing of the council appointment changes, they had
previously postponed their reorganization meeting of last Wednesday,
then postponed another meeting set for Saturday afternoon.


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