published Friday, May 25th, 2012

Don Hutcheson gets post in Grundy County

Grundy County, Tenn., commissioners appointed Tracy City resident Don Hutcheson to replace former District 3 Commissioner and Chairman Earl Geary Jr., who resigned.

Grundy District 3 Commissioner Charles Rollins said Hutcheson was the first person to approach him to seek a nomination for the post.

"I'll think he'll be fair and he'll do the right thing as a commissioner for Grundy County," said Rollins, noting he has known Hutcheson for more than 40 years. "He certainly has a lot of knowledge of the county and its needs."

Geary resigned in March, citing in his resignation letter the "many reasons I have come to this decision including I find myself without the passion I once had to come to the task at hand."

Geary also stated in his letter that his work schedule was taking time he felt he should be devoting to the county.

Hutcheson, the current EMS director, said he wants to represent District 3 well for the short period before the county general election in August, and he said he'll seek to hold the seat until 2014.

A lifelong Bledsoe resident, Hutcheson, 57, said he'll bring his experience as the county's EMS director since 1990, creating budgets and working within them, to the job. He said he'll avoid any conflicts of interest with his role with EMS.

District 1 Commissioner Michael Brady said Hutcheson got unanimous support from commissioners in an 8-0 vote during the regular commission meeting on Monday.

"I feel good about it," Brady said of the appointment. "He's worked at the EMS [as director of the county's emergency medical services] for a number of years and he's served on several committees and boards."

Brady described Hutcheson as "knowledgeable" and "business-minded."

Hutcheson's appointment will run until the county general election Aug. 2.

According to Grundy County Administrator of Elections Donna Basham, Republican and Democratic parties can caucus to choose nominees during a special qualifying period that ends at noon on June 8 for the Aug. 2 election.

Basham said both parties plan to caucus on the seat.

Candidates also may file qualifying petitions by noon June 8 to run as an independent, she said. There have been no requests for independent petitions as of Wednesday, she said.

Hutcheson will serve until Sept. 1, when the newly elected commissioner will take office. The winner of the seat in August will hold the post until the next county general election in August 2014.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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