Frank Bolus, a former Washington County Commissioner who is seeking one of two open City Commission seats in the April municipal election, says he’s always called Johnson City home and wants an opportunity to ensure the city continues to grow and prosper.
Bolus, 78, was born and raised in Johnson City and served as the county’s 3rd District representative from 2004-10. He was appointed to fill the remaining two years of Bob Good’s term and was then elected to an additional four-year term.
“During my tenure, I was on the Education Committee, and at the time we got a bond to build Grandview and Ridgeview elementary schools, and we also added wings to the high schools,” he said. “When we passed that, we gave the city nearly $50 million. With that they built Fairmont, constructed and renovated at Science Hill High School and built the new football field.”
Bolus also served on the county’s Commercial, Industrial and Agricultural Committee and eventually was appointed chairman, which put him in the mix of a joint effort by the city and county to bring in University Edge apartments.
“The CIA Committee decided to take this to the full commission,” he said. “(Former county mayor) George Jaynes and others were against it, but we did very well with that,” he said. “It benefited both the city and county. We got a lot of tax money, and it looks great.”
He said that up to this point, the county has given the Johnson City Development Authority, who also was involved in bringing in University Edge, about $650,000. And that number will reach about $900,000 by May.
He also said he was excited about the city’s flood mitigation efforts.
“The sooner we get it finished, businesses downtown will feel a lot safer,” he said. “I think going to be one of the biggest things for the city.”
Bolus, who was born and raised in Johnson City, went through the city’s school system and then joined the U.S. Navy. When he got out, he returned home and received a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from East Tennessee State University. While there, he got married and had two children.
“While I was still at ETSU, I went to work with Piedmont Airlines at the Ti-Cities Airport as an operations specialist,” he said. “When I finished at ETSU, I went to Knoxville and taught industrial arts at Parks Junior High. I submitted an application with the Federal Aviation Administration and got a notice that they were hiring me in Los Angeles at that airport as an air traffic controller.”
After spending a few years working in Los Angeles he was transferred to Augusta, Ga., and later to Oklahoma City to teach air traffic control at the FAA Academy.
Bolus retired after a total of 30 years of federal service and returned to Johnson City. But after about one year, he moved to Indiana and taught school for about seven years.
“I came back to Johnson City and retired,” he said. “I’ve been back for about 14 years. I got interested in politics and ran for a county commission seat. I’m running for the City Commission because Johnson City is my home. I have children and grandchildren who live here, and I’d like to speed up development. I feel I can make a difference. I also want to be an advocate for seniors in this town. I think the city could do more.”