Skillern, Henry sit for last commission meeting

Skillern, Henry sit for last commission meeting

August 28th, 2014 by Louie Brogdon in Local Regional News

Fred Skillern

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Larry Henry

For Hamilton County Commissioner Fred Skillern, the meeting is adjourned.

Skillern presided over his final commission meeting Wednesday, and he has only four days left of a political career that has spanned three decades.

Skillern has been the commissioner for District 1 since 2001, and he served as the county's northwestern school board member for 20 years before that. Next month, Randy Fairbanks will take his spot as the representative for Soddy-Daisy, Mowbray Mountain and Sale Creek.

On Wednesday, Skillern was grateful for the time he had spent in public service.

"My wife and I have served [in] one capacity or another for 33 years and 10 months. The best thing I can say about the service is the people I met and the people I've got to know and the friends I've made. And I thank all of you," Skillern said.

After the meeting, Skillern said he wasn't able to finish all the projects he wanted to do before he left the commission -- but he'd gotten them started.

Before leaving office, Skillern has been spending or otherwise committing the nearly $400,000 he had amassed in his district's discretionary fund.

Last month, commissioners voted to build a new entrance for Daisy Elementary with $100,000 of Skillern's discretionary fund. And Skillern said Wednesday a football field at Sale Creek Middle-High, a running track at Soddy-Daisy High School and a fire hall in Soddy-Daisy were in the works.

"I've got $100,000 toward the track, $100,000 for Sale Creek Middle-High and the Soddy-Daisy Fire Hall is taken care of," Skillern said.

For the veteran commissioner, it's back to business.

Along with a full-time focus on Dixie Souvenirs, his business in Daisy, the commissioner said he will get back to investing in property -- something he has tabled during his time on the commission.

Wednesday was also the last meeting for Commissioner Larry Henry, who will be sworn in next week as the Hamilton County Circuit Court clerk. Sabrena Turner will represent District 7, the county's southeastern corner.

"I look back after those 12 years and think about all the issues we've dealt with over that time," Henry said. "I've been humbled and I've been honored to represent District 7 and Hamilton County."

All the commissioners, and Mayor Jim Coppinger, thanked Skillern and Henry for their service.

When Coppinger joined the commission in 2006, he said, Henry and Skillern were both great mentors.

"When you are coming on, particularly when you come on new, you are looking for people that you know who have credibility and integrity and Commissioner Skillern and Commissioner Henry, both of you exemplify that," Coppinger said.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6481.