Red Bank votes Ken Welch commissioner

Red Bank votes Ken Welch commissioner

February 15th, 2012 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

Ruth Jeno

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Red Bank leaders picked their fifth commissioner Tuesday, voting in Erlanger nurse and longtime Red Bank resident Ken Welch for the seat.

City commissioners voted for Welch 3-1 over Eddie Pierce, who is production manager for the Red Bank Athletic Shop, and Tennessee Valley Authority attorney Michael Tindle.

"I'm very excited for Red Bank right now," said Welch after his swearing-in. "I think we're at a point where we can really move forward. I think the boom that we're seeing in North Chattanooga -- we can pull that this way. That's one of the reasons why I decided to seek this position."

Before the vote, Commissioner Ruth Jeno announced she would not be seeking re-election this fall, encouraging the candidates to run for her seat if they weren't chosen.

"I just wanted them to know that it's not the end of the line for them," Jeno said.

Jeno said she did not yet want to elaborate about her decision not to run for re-election, but said she was ready to focus more time on volunteer work and her family.

Jeno motioned to elect Eddie Pierce for the seat, but none of the commissioners seconded her. Mayor Monty Millard then motioned to appoint Welch.

Commissioner Floy Pierce and Vice Mayor John Roberts aligned their vote with Millard's, while Jeno voted against, saying she had received dozens of calls from residents supporting Eddie Pierce.

Welch replaces former Vice Mayor Greg Jones, who resigned in December. He will serve temporarily until upcoming November elections.

During his nine-month span in office he will help the commission form its 2013 budget and hire a new city manager -- a post that has been vacant since October.

"We are going to have at least one more commission meeting before we decide our next step in that hiring process," Millard said after the meeting.