Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Beck praised for service; Tim Boyd thankful for win

Greg Beck

One Hamilton County commissioner was grieving a loss, another celebrating a save on the morning after the county party primary election.

photo Katherlyn Geter raises her hands in victory after hearing results coming in at Eastgate Town Center Tuesday night.

Democratic Commissioner Greg Beck lost the District 5 seat by just 26 votes to Katherlyn Geter, a health care navigator and community organizer making her first run for office.

Commissioner Tim Boyd convincingly repelled a challenge from East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert to win his third term in District 8.

Speaking from the dais at Wednesday's commission meeting, Beck's voice broke as he recalled his 13 years on the panel.

"Twenty-five years ago, a preacher asked me, 'What do you want to do to serve the Lord?'" Beck said.

"I said I wanted to work with young people. A friend of mine told me, 'Do what you've been called to do and let it take you where you want to go.' I did that. Now I'm sitting here as county commissioner of District 5."

photo Tim Boyd

His career in law enforcement let him see up close the many ways young people get into trouble and mess up their lives, he said. His appointment to the commission to replace JoAnne Favors, who was elected to the Tennessee House, "gave me a higher level to serve on," Beck said.

"I have loved the service part. It's been a pleasure. It's been an honor. It's been really good to work with you all; I learned so much from you."

Beck said he will retire, but added, "I don't want anybody to miss me, because there's always somebody else who will come along who will be just as good or even better."

All he wants, he said, is for the commission to continue projects he worked on, including new schools.

"Promise me," he said, his voice breaking again, "because that Howard stadium was very special to me."

That won't be an issue, County Mayor Jim Coppinger said.

"I'll do everything in the power of this office to make sure your project at Howard School is completed," Coppinger said.

He praised Beck as a "man of integrity that has left a large imprint" on the commission.

Chairman Randy Fairbanks also praised Beck's "passion for fighting for your constituency."

"That's what you taught me up here and I'm going to miss you," Fairbanks said.

Several commissioners thanked the voters who came out in support, although they also noted fewer than 21,000 of the county's 192,622 registered voters cast ballots.

Commissioner Sabrena Smedley called the turnout "disheartening," and Commissioner Greg Martin thanked "the thousands of people that did go vote; it's so important."

"I'm sure there are some on the ballot who would just as soon be unopposed, but at the end of the day it's good for democracy and it's good for our community," Martin said.

Republican Commissioner Tim Boyd, meanwhile, thinks he may have made history.

Boyd tromped Lambert in the GOP primary 1,203 to 714, despite a white-hot battle over Lambert's campaign contributions from Exit 1 developers and his claim that Boyd tried to force him out of the race by threatening to expose them. Lambert filed a complaint with the district attorney's office, and Boyd was indicted on one count of extortion.

"It was a good night last night," Boyd said from the dais. "I would have never imagined I would be sitting here with the 10 associates on this dais after having been elected to my third term while under indictment. ... I think this may be unprecedented in Hamilton County government."

Boyd said he's been on an emotional roller coaster, but his win Tuesday night "was one of the most satisfying moments of my political career."

He also said that "What I face legally will eventually go away, and the truth about how this frivolous thing came about will eventually be exposed. Truth will prevail, and I'm content, looking forward to the great things this commission will accomplish in the next four years."

Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.