Development, capital projects define Anders’ tenure

Sandra ClarkKarns, Our Town Leaders

Brad Anders says there’s a lot to talk about as he wraps up his 10-year tenure on Knox County Commission.

  • We funded education by $100 million more a year; went from being one of the worst counties (to a higher rank); we built Hardin Valley Middle School and expanded Ball Camp Elementary.
  • Karns has a new senior center and a new trash and recycling center.
  • We got the Schaad Road connector back on track and funded, and got Karns Valley Road extended from Oak Ridge Highway to the industrial park. When complete, Schaad Road will extend from Clinton Highway to Lovell Road.

“There’s been a lot of capital expenditure in the sixth district.”

Brad Anders

Anders could have been bitter. He lost the primary to Mayor Glenn Jacobs by just 23 votes, in a race that pitted two commissioners, Anders and Bob Thomas, against the better-known celebrity wrestler. Yet Anders has become Jacobs’ reliable ally on the commission – most recently when he tried to soften the $1 million raid on the county’s rainy-day fund to pay a one-time $1,500 bonus to deputies in the Sheriff’s Office. Jacobs initially opposed the amendment by Commissioner Larsen Jay, then he tried to compromise with Sheriff Tom Spangler for a $750 bonus. Jay and the deputies prevailed.

Anders could not seek re-election to the commission because of term limits. He has taken a job as executive director of the E-911 center. He’s well-qualified for the post, having worked for the Knoxville Police Department for 27 years. Anders is smart and surely has had crisis management training. He is currently chairing the 27-member charter review committee.

What was the hardest part of his commission job? He says the emotional aspects of rezoning. As farms give way to development, neighbors are affected. There’s a tug between growth and keeping areas like Karns and Hardin Valley rural. It seems the sixth district has borne the brunt of these changes.

We mentioned a couple of other projects:

Plumb Creek Park: Anders just shrugged. It’s a good project that took too long to build. (My words, not his.)

Outlet Drive: An early initiative of Mayor Tim Burchett, it leap-frogged over other road projects. Outlet Drive was widened and extended from Lovell Road to Campbell Station. Anders said it “came out of thin air,” but was a “good project and a benefit to the district.”

He does not anticipate big changes at E-911, saying the people who work there “are experienced for their job.” He wants to train the next generation of leadership.

Anders works on a two-year contract and doesn’t have the buy-out protections of a football coach. But he was ready to change jobs, and was a good pick for E-911. And maybe we’ll see him on the ballot again someday. Although he’s not giving off those vibes.

Terry Hill, now serving on the school board, is running unopposed for the commission seat. The election is Aug. 6 and Hill will take office in September.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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