Hawkins County commissioners won’t meet in Mount Carmel

Jeff Bobo • Jul 22, 2013 at 11:36 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Having spent more than $2.3 million on the Hawkins County Courthouse renovation, a majority of the county commissioners still aren’t willing to hold monthly meetings somewhere else.

In December the commission rejected a proposal to meet at various locations throughout the county on a quarterly basis for the purpose of bringing county government to all the people.

At Monday’s meeting, the commission was presented with a resolution that had the same intention on a smaller scale.

Commissioner Fred Castle, who represents District 2 in Church Hill and Goshen Valley, introduced a resolution calling for the September meeting to be held at the National Guard armory in Mount Carmel.

But Commissioner Gary Hicks said that he believes the schedule change can’t be justified after the money spent to renovate the courthouse.

“People expect the county business to be conducted at the county seat and the county courthouse,” Hicks said. “I just don’t understand moving it with the money that we spent here. The citizens know when we meet, where we meet, and I just don’t understand why we want to move.”

The original resolution called for the September meeting to be held at the Mount Carmel Senior Center.

District 1 Commissioner Syble Vaughan-Trent told the commission she had received permission to use the armory, and an amendment to that effect was approved on a voice vote — albeit with some dissent.

The overall resolution was defeated, however, by a vote of 8-10 with one abstention.

Among those who voted against were Hicks, Virgil Mallett, Joe McLain, Glenda Davis, Charlie Freeman, Darrell Gilliam, Charlie Newton, Robert Palmer, Lynn Short and Eugene Christian, who also happens to be a Mount Carmel alderman. Christian was the only commissioner east of Surgoinsville to vote against the resolution.

Castle said he believes the commission should not only meet in Mount Carmel annually, but also in other outlying communities.

“I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘We would come to the meeting but I can’t drive to Rogersville,’ ” Castle said.

Mallett, who lives in Surgoinsville, said he might not be able to drive to Mount Carmel.

“You said a lot of people aren’t able to drive to Rogersville. How about the people who have to drive from here to Mount Carmel? It’s the same difference.”

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