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Elizabethton's newest members to City Council take oath of office on Tuesday

John Thompson • Nov 20, 2018 at 6:33 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A blend of experienced and brand new members of the Elizabethton City Council took the oath of office at noon in the Council Chambers before a large group of family, friends, supporters and city employees.

The swearing in marked the first day of a four-year term for the council members elected in the Nov. 6 municipal election.

Sessions Court Judge Keith Bowers Jr. administered the oath to the four men. Two of them, Bill Carter and Wes Frazier won re-election bids. It was the first time to hold public office for Richard Barker and Mike Simerly.

The ceremony also marked the end 20 consecutive years on the council for Sam Shipley, who chose not to run for re-election because of health problems. Shipley attended Tuesday’s ceremony and said he is feeling better and will continue to serve on four boards of directors of public organizations, such as the Carter County Rescue Squad and the Friends of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.

The day also marked the end of Richard Tester’s career on the council. He not only served the city but previously served as a member of the Carter County Commission.

While it is the first time to serve in public office for both Barker and Simerly, they have both been involved in public service and both have had ancestors who have been leaders in local government.

Barker is the grandson of Joe O’Brien, for whon the Elizabethton Twins ballpark is named. Simerly’s family includes Conley T. “Red” Simerly, who was the last man elected Carter County judge. The title of the position would be changed to county executive when Truman Clark succeeded him and has since been changed to county mayor.

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