Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Mike Carter waits outside the Hamilton County Commission room on Monday morning after commissioners deadlocked in making a choice between Carter and Commissioner Jim Coppinger to replace the outgoing County Mayor.
Mike Carter, who was facing Hamilton County Commissioner Jim Coppinger in the race to replace outgoing County Mayor Claude Ramsey, described today's move to temporarily appoint Coppinger to the position as a "'backdoor plan."
In an e-mail, Carter, the special assistant to Ramsey, said Commission Chairman Fred Skillern "and several other commissioners successfully organized a backdoor plan to place Commissioner Coppinger in the county mayor's position without a vote."
Skillern stepped down this morning from the chairman's position, immediately moving vice chairman Coppinger into the role. Since the commission has deadlocked 4-4 in two votes between Coppinger and Carter for the mayor's job, the commission chairman will automatically be given the job once Ramsey leaves.
Ramsey is stepping down Tuesday and, on Monday, the commission is scheduled to take another vote on who will replace him. If the commission deadlocks again, Coppinger will become acting mayor.
"No one should be surprised since Chairman Skillern did exactly what he told me and the newspaper that he was planning to do just that last week," Carter said in his e-mail. "I do not think that this is in the best interest of Hamilton County, and what happened today lacks credibility."
But by April 9, the commission must appoint a mayor who will be in office until the general elections in August 2012, when voters will select the permanent mayor.
" I am proud of the four men who continue to support me and who would not be part of this type of backroom politics," Carter said.
Commissioners Warren Mackey, Greg Beck, Tim Boyd and Chester Bankston voted for Carter.
Read the story so far here.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.