published Sunday, February 26th, 2012

County Mayor Jim Coppinger deserves to remain in office

Jim Coppinger had big shoes to fill in 2011 when he assumed the job of Hamilton County mayor. He succeeded Claude Ramsey, who had served long and ably. Ramsey's work had drawn the notice of Gov. Bill Haslam, who tapped Ramsey as his deputy. At the time, Coppinger was a county commissioner. But a vote by fellow commissioners elevated him to county mayor to succeed Ramsey.

Coppinger has handled the duties of that position competently. And we recommend an enthusiastic vote for him in the March 6 Republican primary -- where he will face Basil Marceaux Sr. and contractor William Turner -- and later in the August election to serve out the rest of Ramsey's term.

The GOP winner on March 6 will face UTC political science professor Richard "Rick" Wilson in the August election. Wilson is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and Richard Ford, who works at Miller Industries, is running as an independent.

Coppinger, who long served in the Chattanooga Fire Department, makes it a point to pursue goals positively and to avoid needless controversy.

"I take pride in the fact that I've spent my entire adult life trying to work with other people," he said in the Times Free Press.

His steady hand has aided economic growth in the county. He helped put the finishing touches on a deal with Internet retail giant Amazon to open a massive distribution center at Enterprise South industrial park. The site has 1,700 employees today, plus hundreds more seasonal employees around Christmas. Total capital investment in the county from new or expanded businesses during Coppinger's term has been over $120 million.

He does not claim all the credit for that, of course. The city of Chattanooga and factors such as a good local workforce and Tennessee's low taxes played vital roles as well. But the stability Coppinger brings to the table makes it easier for companies to invest here with confidence.

He also budgets conservatively. The county faced a multimillion-dollar shortfall last year and ultimately made the hard decision to cut $13 million from the budget -- which included some layoffs.

His sound leadership and willingness to make tough decisions recommend Coppinger's continued service.

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SoddyBottoms said...

Emphasis

No doubt Jim is the best man for the job.. I hope we are fortunate enough to have his leadership for many years to come..

February 26, 2012 at 9:26 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Agree. Mayor Coppinger is a keeper and clearly the most qualified. I like his character that is solid.

February 26, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.
tipper said...

Mayor Coppinger may have a steady hand as County Mayor, but his ties to Fred Skillern and his support of him calls into question whether his character is sound. Even though Skillern is elected by those in his district, Coppinger when asked to step in and use his influence to muzzle Skillern, still speaks of Skillern as a viable and beneficial public official. Skillern is becoming such an embarrassment for Hamilton County and Chattanooga that it behooves Coppinger to weigh in on the matter. Yet, he refuses to do so adding to the perception of good-ole'-boy politics. So, rather than being part of the solution, Coppinger becomes part of the problem. Until Coppinger uses his influence to stand up to Skillern, he should not be re-elected.

February 26, 2012 at 12:45 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

Coppinger was put into office like a political tool by a whispering cabal of local rich people. No one has elected him to anything yet.

We should remove him from office solely to shut out these real estate cronies who are failing to put the interests of people first.

Self-appointed mayors have no place in our system. These people are trying to exploit the separation of city and county government for the sole purpose of taking tax money and giving it to their friends under the disguise of being the sole provider of services.

Firing deputies to make a chief of staff position for Bob Corker's right hand man, for instance, goes to show the corrupt attitude that put Coppinger in office is no accident.

Stop corruption in Chattanooga. Insist on good government. Remove these corrupt people from city and county office.

February 26, 2012 at 1:58 p.m.
cogg said...

I have yet to see anywhere, any mention of coppinger having a college degree or any plans on getting one. We encourage the youth to strive to get an education so they can grow up and be somebody, yet this is happening. He authorized the massive layoffs,the administrative handbook rules states, in reduction of work force, you start with the part time, then skimp then full time starting with those with lesser years. None of this was followed. Furthermore, if positions are available, all are to be offered a lateral move or a demotion. None of this was done. The 36 People were told at 3:30 one a tuesday to come to a meeting in the morning. They were then fired, treated like criminals, excorted to their desk to get their belongings, then off the county property. They were then told to come back on monday to apply for the 40+ positions that were available. After this supposedly sad lay off, the county has been spending and spending. People are getting promotions and raises, the annual year end bonus was increased. I thought we didn't have money?? Coppinger is said to have retired from the fire department, and gets a retirement check, plus the countys %140,000. Why,like so many others in leadership/counties, didn't he start with himself when it was time to reduce the budget. He could of reduced the salaries by 5 or 10% of those making $100 or more. He could have taken away vehicles for himself and all these adminstrators making more than 75thousand. They can rent a car and write it off on their taxes. The adminstrators aren't the ones doing the actual work, but yet they get to drive a taxpayers car from home to work. Look at the nurses and many of the emergency staff, they don't have take home cars, but they have to put ware and tear on their vehicles, to get to hurricane, flood, katrina and other victims in time of need. Former Human Resource Director, Rebecca Hunters assistant was doing Rebeccas job, and very well indeed, she had the education and experience, but yet coppinger hires someone who apparently is a friend. Come on folks. Wake up. It's time for a new day in hamilton county. Dr. Rick Wilson and Mr. Turner are the top pics for Mayor!

March 1, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
tellit said...

So far, very disappointed in his leadership. A great many of us don't want 4 years of it.

July 7, 2012 at 10:43 p.m.
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