Phil Carriger, the laid back, plainspoken, and financially savvy city commissioner who has seemed to find himself at the crux of many critical decisions during his one four-year term, announced Thursday he will not run again.
Meanwhile, Jane Myron, who has been fairly quiet about her intentions, said Friday she has decided to run for a third term.
These are the two of five seats up for grabs in the April 23 municipal election.
“It’s been fun,” Carriger said Friday from his office at Bank of Tennessee where he is a member of the board of directors and provides financial consulting. “I’ve heard a lot of people running for various offices saying ‘we need to run this like a business.’ But it’s a slower process, and you have an entire population at stake. In business, it’s your board of directors and fellow stakeholders.”
Carriger was elected in 2009. But what many people may not know is how thin he’s been spreading himself. He also serves on various nonprofit boards and is the Johnson City-Washington County Economic Development Board’s secretary and treasurer.
He’s affable, easygoing and wears a grin more times than not.
But if the political fur begins to fly on the City Commission or one of the other various boards and committees he serves on, you can expect a short, and sometimes booming, statement aimed at halting the rhetoric and injecting the common sense of the matter.
“People don’t realize how much time commissioners put in,” he said. “I spent 80 hours just working on the last budget. But I will say I’m proud of some of the results during my tenure. When I grew up, we didn’t even have a McDonald’s here. The growth, education and quality of life has improved so much, and I guess I’m proud of the progress we’ve had with medical facilities, parks and roads.”
Carriger has amassed 36 years of banking experience in Knoxville, New Orleans and Johnson City. He started Peoples Bank in 1995. He grew up on Meredith Street with his three older brothers and helped his mother and father work on the family farm.
So what makes a good commissioner?
“You have to do your homework and be willing to voice your opinion,” he said. “At the same time, you need to cooperate and listen to others.”
Carriger, who also will step down on June 30 as a member of the Johnson City Power Board’s Board of Directors after wrapping up his second four-year term, said he plans to continue his work at Bank of Tennessee, but he also is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and two grandsons.
He said he first met Myron when he was a Johnson City/Washington County Area Chamber of Commerce member, where he eventually would become president.
“She’d been volunteering for the chamber,” he said. “Our relationship has always been good. You can always count on her — and to be honest with you.”
Myron was elected to her first term in 2005. She became Johnson City’s mayor after Phil Roe resigned to take his seat in the U.S. House as Tennessee’s 1st District representative. Prior to becoming mayor, Myron was vice mayor from 2007–09.
“I had been thinking about not running,” she said early Friday. “But there are still issues we need to address, and there are some things we need to do to streamline the city to make it more user friendly. So, I’ve decided to run again.”
Myron said she regretted that Carriger was not going to continue to be a part of the City Commission and that she would miss his expertise, especially regarding financing.
“I still have the energy, passion and desire,” she said. “And, I still don’t have any agendas.”
Commissioners are elected at large for four-year staggered terms in elections held in April of every odd-numbered year. Following the election, the commission elects one of its members to serve as mayor for a two-year term and also chooses a member to serve as vice mayor in the temporary absence of the mayor.