ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Commission will have one less member when it goes into deliberations Friday on setting the county’s property tax rate for the year. Commissioner Paul Mottern, who represented the 1st District (Stoney Creek) on the commission, died Sunday following a short illness.
By coincidence, a former member of the county commission, Arlie Joe Woods Sr., also died over the weekend after an extended illness. Woods served on the County Commission for two terms from 1998 to 2006, and prior to that he served as a Carter County constable for 12 years. Woods represented the 3rd District.
“It deeply saddens me to hear of his passing,” Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey said of Mottern’s death on Monday. “I found him to be fair in his assessments and in his judgments. He will be missed.”
Mottern became a member of the commission on April 20, 2009, when he was appointed to take the seat vacated by Jack Buckles after he became fire marshal for the city of Elizabethton. Mottern was elected to the seat in the 2010 general election.
Mottern was a member of numerous committees, including the Jail Task Force, Law Enforcement, Building and Grounds, Health and Welfare, Recreation, Rules and Bylaws and Judicial. He also attended many committee meetings in which he was not a member in order to observe and become better informed.
Both of the remaining commissioners from Stoney Creek said Mottern was an effective and dedicated member.
“I was the one who recommended he be put on the commission,” said fellow 1st District Commissioner Lawrence Hodge. “We went to church together and I knew he was a good Christian man. I was with him when he passed away.”
Although he was relatively new on the commission, Hodge said “he was on a lot of committees. He really fell in line and he was doing his best.”
Ernest “Gebe” Ritchie, who also represents Stoney Creek on the commission, said “we have lost a real good commissioner. Paul did a good job. He was dedicated to helping Carter County and the 1st District. He will be missed and he will be hard to replace.”
Humphrey said that out of respect for Mottern’s family there has been no discussion on replacing him on the commission. He said Mottern’s seat will remain vacant during Friday’s meeting to set the tax rate and most likely it will remain vacant through the August meeting, which is only three weeks away. Humphrey said there will be a moment of silence observed during Friday’s meeting.