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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Chester Bankston is the departing commissioner for District 9.

This story was updated at 4:34 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, with more information.

The Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday failed to reach agreement on appointing a replacement for Commissioner Chester Bankston, who is leaving before the end of his term.

After a monthlong interview and application phase following the announcement of Bankston's departure, the remaining eight commissioners on Wednesday considered applicants to fill the District 9 seat until the term expires next fall.

Eight applicants from the district, which includes Ooltewah and Collegedale, applied for the seat. Three were nominated and voted on by commissioners, but none got a majority required by law.

Jeff Eversole, a regional market manager for Walmart, was nominated by Commissioner Greg Martin.

"I always will tell you what's on my mind. I always want to do what's right. I always want to take care of the folks around me, and I'm kind of for the underdog," Eversole said. "I want people to win. I want people to succeed. And I think that's what we need in District 9."

Eversole received votes from Martin and Chairman Chip Baker on the initial vote.

Shannon Stephenson, CEO of Cempa Community Care, was nominated by Commissioner Katherlyn Geter.

"I understand finances and the budget is one of the largest parts of your job," Stephenson told commissioners. "So I feel very strongly that that can weigh heavily on my role on this commission."

Stephenson received votes from Geter, Commissioner Warren Mackey and Commissioner David Sharpe.

Dean Moorhouse, president of the Harrison Ruritan Club Foundation, was nominated by Commissioner Sabrena Smedley.

"I have a plan. I think the Highway 58 area is ripe for development," Moorhouse said, noting he had already reached out to investors. "It's the best road in the county, it's in the middle of the county, we have sewer, we have infrastructure, we have miles of waterways."

Moorhouse received votes from Smedley, Commissioner Tim Boyd and Commissioner Randy Fairbanks during the first vote.

With no majority, the commission voted again, this time without Eversole, the lowest vote getter.

When the commission re-voted on Moorhouse vs. Stephenson, Baker switched his vote to Moorhouse and Commissioner Martin twice passed on the vote.

"I think we need a conservative Republican to fill the District 9 seat and Jeff Eversole is the best option," Martin said after the meeting. "And who knows, it may be Eversole and Moorhouse or Eversole and Shannon [Stephenson] next week."

At 4-3-1, Moorhouse led but was unable to get the minimum requirement of five votes.

"So we don't have a majority. As we agreed earlier, I suggest we reopen the floor for the nomination of additional candidates from others," Baker said. "At this point we're going to go ahead and move past this process since we're at an impasse, and move this to our next regularly scheduled meeting."

The commission will take new nominations out of the original eight applicants ahead of its regular June 9 agenda meeting.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at staylor@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.

The applicants

* Tunyekia Adamson: Adamson is a manager of scheduling for the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority with degrees in management and accounting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Community College and the University of Phoenix.

* Jeff Eversole: Eversole is the market manager of Tennessee area Walmart stores and has worked with the company for nearly 40 years. He has been volunteering as a patrolman and a sheriff's reserve deputy for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office since 2006. Eversole said in an emailed statement that he wanted to serve the county through his understanding of public-private partnerships.

* Rob Healy: Healy is a former Chattanooga Parks and Recreation director and has served on a number of local volunteer boards including the Baylor School Alumni Board, the Lookout Mountain School Board and the United Way Allocations Committee.

* Steve Highlander: Highlander is a sitting Hamilton County Board of Education member and a pastor at Tremont Baptist Church with more than 40 years of experience as a teacher.

* Charles Lowery Jr.: Lowery is a former Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement who retired in 2018 after more than 40 years with that department. He studied law enforcement and pastoral leadership at Eastern Kentucky University, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and Temple University.

* Dean Moorhouse: Moorhouse is president of the Harrison Ruritan Club Foundation. He worked in respiratory care from 1976-1988, when he began his property management company, M&M Properties.

* Andrew Mullins: Mullins is a retail manager at Best Buy who has served the community in a number of volunteer roles including as the current chairman of the Hamilton County Health and Safety Board, the former vice president of the East Ridge Council and as a Boy Scouts scoutmaster. Mullins wrote in his application that he is qualified by his commitment to service.

* Shannon Stephenson: Stephenson is the CEO of Cempa Community Care and serves on numerous volunteer boards including the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Health Council and the recently dissolved joint mayor's COVID-19 task force, formed between Hamilton County and Chattanooga.

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