After serving for eight years as Sevier County's Emergency Management Agency Director, John Matthews is stepping down to pursue a new future.

Matthews announced he will be taking a job with D&S Builders after County commissioner Mary Davis offered him a position to help grow the company, which he says was a great package he couldn't say 'no' to.

"I've got a better job so I'm leaving EMA," Matthews said. "This place is home and I’ll still be very much involved in the recovery process because I’m passionate about it.”

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Matthews said he had gotten several job offers outside Sevier County since November, but decided to take the job Davis offered him because he didn't want to leave the community after last year's devastating wildfires.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said the announcement came as a surprise to him, but he supports Matthew's decision 100 percent.

"We have to lose him, but he had what he thinks is a good opportunity to go to the private sector," Waters said.

Mayor Waters said Matthew's departure won't affect the momentum of recovery in the county.

Assistant director Joe Ayres will take over for Matthews as the interim director. Matthews said he will still be working part-time with the EMA.