Wolfe steps down from Jonesborough mayor's post, Vest appointed Mayor

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Mar 13, 2018 at 4:33 PM


In a late decision after deadline, Alderman Chuck Vest was appointed interim mayor after Kelly Wolfe’s resignation.

Reported earlier:

Jonesborough officials expected to fill a vacancy on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night.

But before they discussed who would replace Jerome Fitzgerald after his recent resignation to run as a Republican for Washington County Commission, Mayor Kelly Wolfe dropped a bombshell on everyone in attendance by abruptly resigning as mayor.

The mood of the room immediately shifted when Wolfe announced he had reached a crossroads in his life, before walking out of the town hall meeting and resigning after months of reflection.

While Wolfe said he enjoyed serving Jonesborough and leading the town’s considerable growth over the past decade, he decided it was “time to move on.” In coming to his decision, he said he recalled the advice of his grandmother.

“Many of you all know that a year-and-a-half ago, I lost my grandmother, and she was the last grandparent I had. She was 89 years old, and she lived up on East Main Street. She really meant a lot to me and inspired me,” he said. “One of the things she used to say when I would come visit her was, ‘I’m worried about you.’

“She said, ‘I don’t want you to end up like me. I’m 89 years old and I can’t do a whole lot of anything right now, and there’s a lot of things I wish I had done that I didn’t do because I was too busy to do them.’ And, you know, there’s business and there’s ‘busy-ness,’ and there’s stuff that we do on a daily basis that we consider important.

“But if you step back and look at everything you’re doing, and if you have the ability to have a rare glimpse or perspective — or God hits the pause button on something — you get to looking every once in a while, and you might say, ‘You know what? I might not be doing what I should be doing.’”

After Wolfe resigned and left the room after a “very tough decision,” the board had to regroup before deciding who would replace former alderman Fitzgerald.

“We’re all somewhat shocked,” Alderman Chuck Vest said of Wolfe’s resignation. “I told him many times – he’s the best mayor we’ve ever had.”

Alderman David Sell said Wolfe’s abrupt resignation was a surprise to him as well. He said “every man and woman reaches a point where they’ve had enough,” and added that Wolfe struggled to decide just how much longer he’d continue as mayor.

“I’m as shocked as anybody in this room,” he said.

After a brief recess, Adam Dickson was sworn in as alderman, filling Fitzgerald’s vacant seat on the board.  

Previously reported:

Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe resigned from his post Monday night during the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Wolfe said he had been praying about the decision for several months, saying that business family and personal concerns prompted the resignation. Wolfe is a local builder, and his business had grown considerably in the 10 years he has been mayor, he said.

Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for more on this developing story.

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