Six months into his new term, Sequatchie County Executive Michael Hudson surprised the County Commission by submitting his resignation, effective April 1.
"I just felt like it was time to go," Hudson said Tuesday, a day after giving notice. "I've prayed about it and talked to my family about it. It's time to turn over a new leaf.
"There's nothing negative about my decision," he said.
State law requires commissioners to appoint a replacement to serve until the next county general election, which comes up in August 2012.
Hudson was re-elected to the nonpartisan post in August, defeating challengers D. Keith Cartwright and Jeffrey S. Mackey. Hudson has held the seat since being appointed to it in 2007 at age 25 to fill the vacancy left by David Barker, who retired because of health problems.
Hudson then ran unopposed in August 2008 for the remainder of Barker's term. Hudson started his political career as a county commissioner in 2006.
"The county's in good financial shape and there's no 'issue'" leading to his decision to step down, he said.
"I'm going to stay through the transition process, and even longer if need be to make sure it's a smooth transition and that everything goes well," he said.
Hudson declined to discuss his long-term plans but said he will volunteer his time after April 1 to help at commission budget meetings.
County Commissioners Clint Huth and Will Zimmerman said the entire commission was surprised by the announcement.
"I hate to see him leave. Michael's done a good job," Huth said.
Huth said Hudson's replacement -- who will be appointed by the commission -- needs to be a good manager with the skills to market the county to businesses and industry.
"We'd like to have somebody appointed as soon as possible so they can get in there to work with Michael" during the transition, he said.
Zimmerman said county leaders are concerned about Hudson's departure because the county is approaching budget season.
"It's going to be awkward to anyone who's not familiar with the budget process," he said. "Fortunately, we have a very knowledgeable budget committee."