ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County’s new budget director, Eric Buchanan, will get thrown to the wolves next week as the full county commission begins its daylong 2018-19 budget hearings.
The next two months are going to be “budget boot camp,” but at least he won’t be alone.
Mayor Melville Bailey announced Thursday that he has hired Buchanan to replace current county Budget Director Nicole Buchanan (no relation) whose last day is next Friday.
For the first time, budget hearings will include the entire 21-member county commission instead of just the seven-member Budget Committee.
On May 7, 8, and 11 beginning at 8:30 a.m., the commission will be presented proposed 2018-19 budgets from every county department and officeholder, as well as nonprofit contribution recipients such as fire departments, rescue squads, EMS, 911 and the Humane Society, to name a few.
Nicole will be there for each of the three meetings next week and will be giving commissioners a “County Budget 101” lesson at the outset of Monday’s hearing.
After Nicole’s departure next week, Eric will have the benefit of Evelyn Gladsen’s knowledge and experience. Gladsen retired as county budget director about a decade ago, but has continued to consult for the county off and on ever since then.
Eric applied for the county budget director position in 2015 after previous director Melissa Farmer left to work for the county school system.
Although Eric did not get that job, he was hired on a short time later as a deputy clerk in County Clerk Nancy Davis’ office, where he had been employed ever since.
“Good work ethic, smart guy, accounting degree, and we’re proud to have him on board,” Bailey told the Times News Thursday.
Eric said, “I hear it’s an exciting time to get started. I’m going to jump in and catch on as quick as I can.”
Nicole said she will train him as much as possible before her departure.
“He’s going to be sitting in with me on the budget hearings because we wanted him to see how that process goes,” she said. “Of course, it’s going to be a little bit different this year because Commissioner Vaughan has invited all commissioners to attend, so we’re not exactly sure how it will be different from years past when it’s just been the Budget Committee. I told him he’s in good hands in here with these ladies, and he’s going to try to soak in as much as he can from me between this week and next week, and of course he can call me any time after that if he has any questions.”