Nurse and longtime Red Bank resident Ken Welch is filling the vacant spot on the city's board of commissioners, which selected Welch by a 3-1 vote at a special called meeting Feb. 14.
"He's done a lot of wonderful things for the city," said Commissioner Floy Pierce, offering as one example Welch's support of the community swimming pool in the form of both time and money.
Each of the commissioners commented on the difficulty of deciding between the three candidates, which along with Welch included Red Bank Athletic Shop owner Eddie Pierce and TVA attorney Michael Tindle.
"All three candidates bring something different to this board," said Commissioner John Roberts. "It's like a horse race; someone's going to win by the nose."
Commissioner Ruth Jeno offered the one dissenting vote after making a motion to select Eddie Pierce that lacked a second from the other commissioners.
"[Eddie Pierce] has overwhelming support from the city of Red Bank - not just a handful, but the several hundred people I've heard from," said Jeno, who announced she will not be seeking re-election and encouraged the two remaining candidates to run for her position.
Mayor Monty Millard said a large part of his decision to vote for Welch was Welch's indication he would seek re-election next November.
"I think it's important to have some experience in our commission," he said.
Economic development is a major goal Welch has for the city as he steps into his new role.
"We need to be really aggressive to get people in," he said of his plans to do more to attract business owners to set up shop in the city. "I grew up here and I want to see Red Bank prosper."
Welch is filling the seat vacated by former Vice Mayor Greg Jones, who resigned in December to take a job in Alaska as a children's minister. Commissioner Roberts has since been voted by the board into the position of vice mayor.
Welch will serve the remaining two years of Jones' term until the city's election next November.
Millard said the board will continue its search for a new city manager after Welch's first meeting as a commissioner Feb. 21, at which point a decision will be made on how the process will proceed.