By Kayla Carter
It didn’t take long for the newest Carter County commissioner to delve into the details of commission business.
Willie Campbell was appointed to fill the 1st District commissioner vacancy Monday morning, and immediately heard debate about establishing an in-house building inspection department and a delay on replacing the jail’s roof.
Commissioners chose Campbell to fill the vacancy created by the death of Commissioner Ernest “Gebe” Ritchie in October.
“I believe I have a lot of insight that could help a lot of people,” Campbell said after the meeting.
Campbell was nominated by Commissioner Buford Peters and was one of four vying for the seat.
Gary Perry, Jerry Proffit, Freddie Taylor and Campbell all introduced themselves before the commission voted. While 12 votes were needed for a majority, Campbell won the nomination with 14 votes on the first roll call.
According to the candidates’ applications on the county website:
• Campbell is currently employed fulltime by the Carter County Highway Department and attended Unaka High School until the 9th grade;
• Perry, who currently runs his own business, attended Steed College in Johnson City, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business and an associate’s degree inaccounting;
• Taylor cited military experience and leadership skills on his resume. He is a retired Marine Corps major and also graduated from East Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree; and
• Proffitt, who was formerly the Mountain City chief of police, has previously served on the Governor’s Highway Safety Commission. He also attended East Tennessee State University and Walters State and earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice.
County Historian Scott Bowers would have been a fifth candidate, but County Commission Chairman Tom Bowers said he withdrew his application.