Former JC fire chief Buckles named Carter Co. election chairman

John Thompson • Apr 16, 2013 at 8:52 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Election Commission held a reorganizational meeting Monday morning, but the top spot is still held by a retired chief from the Johnson City Fire Department.

Former Johnson City Fire Chief Doug Buckles was named chairman. Former Johnson City Fire Chief Paul Souder declined another term as chairman, saying that when he took the job he thought it should be rotated so other commissioners could hold the top job. After stepping down from that job Monday, the commissioners still named Souder vice chairman. Wayne Smith was named secretary.

Souder thanked his fellow commissioners for the support they showed him during his term.

“I certainly appreciate all your efforts, I appreciate everything you have done,” Souder said

Commissioner Wayne Smith returned the praise. “You have done an outstanding job as chairman and I was proud to serve under you,” he said to Souder.

Souder said there were many accomplishments in the past two years. These include three successful elections, the redistricting of the county and the addition of a new precinct. He said all of the changes did lead to a few complaints from voters, but he said “some issues are out of our hands. Once we talked to them and explained that it was not coming from us, it all worked out.”

The commissioners also confirmed Tracy Harris as administrator of elections for another term.

There was also discussion on a possible move of the election offices in the future. The commissioners are considering taking over the Elizabethton/Carter County 911 building if the communications agency makes a move to new quarters.

Souder said the building has some advantages over the current location. He said it is all on one level, so early voters and other doing business with the election office wouldn’t have to rely on an old elevator or a flight of stairs. He said the building “would have to be renovated to meet the needs of the Election Commission.”

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