Erwin mayor to step down from Economic Development Board

Brad Hicks • Dec 31, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Doris Hensley said she wants to commit her energy to serving as mayor of the town of Erwin and will be resigning from her post as executive director of the Unicoi County Economic Development Board.

Hensley said her resignation as executive director of the board, a position she has held since 2005, will take effect Jan. 31. She was elected as mayor of the town of Erwin in the Nov. 6 election.

“The reason, mainly, is because I was elected mayor, and I’m going to be devoting most of my time to my duties as mayor, and I don’t feel that I will have time to do both,” Hensley said of her decision to resign.

As Erwin mayor, Hensley will now have a seat on and be a voting member of the county’s Economic Development Board. She said her resignation would also eliminate any possible conflicts of interest holding both positions may present.

At this point, there has been some discussion on how the executive director position will be filled. Economic Development Board Chairman Larry Rea said early discussion has pointed to having Tish Oldham take the executive director title.

Earlier this year, Oldham was named director of Community Outreach and Economic Development with East Tennessee State University’s Center for Community Outreach and Applied Research.

Oldham is in Unicoi County to support ETSU’s initiative to develop partnerships with the county’s economic development board and business community with the goal of bolstering the local economic development. Oldham’s position is funded by ETSU for the first three years.

Rea said because Oldham is already working in Unicoi County full time, having her take on the executive director title would make for a “smooth transition.” He also said the board could set aside Hensley’s executive director salary to provide additional services to Oldham and funds could possibly be used to extend Oldham’s contract for an additional year.

Rea said this will be a topic of discussion when the executive committee of the Unicoi County Economic Development board meets Jan. 18. The committee will make a recommendation to the full board, which meets Jan. 25.

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