KNOXVILLE - The Knox County Commission unanimously re-appointed Commissioner Dave Wright to lead the 11-member board during its annual reorganization Thursday after the one other member nominated withdrew his name.
Commissioner Randy Smith was picked to serve as vice chairman.
Wright, who represents East Knox County and won re-election this year, will hold the seat for one year.
"We are doing what the citizens of Knox County want us to do and that’s without bias to look after the citizens," Wright said. "It’s taken years but were’ on the threshold of doing all those activities that the citizens want us to do."
Wright initially said he wouldn’t seek the chairmanship for a second time but on Thursday said he changed his mind after “commission members looked at the lay of the land and spoke.”
Only Wright and Bob Thomas were nominated to the post. However, Thomas said he wanted to vote for Wright and he couldn't if he was in the race, so he withdrew.
Thomas, who spent the last year as the board's vice chairman, also was nominated for that post again.
But, he also withdrew his name from consideration to "give someone else that opportunity."
Thomas in April announced that he is running for the county mayoral seat in 2018.
The chairman and vice chairman posts generally are symbolic, although the chairman runs the commission meetings and sets the monthly agenda. He or she also oversees the board's three-member staff, determines how the board's public meetings will be handled, and often serves as liaison between the public and the board.
The chair by default also serves on a number of boards, including the Great Schools Partnership and usually the pension board.
Commissioners can hold the seat twice during a term.
The vice chair carries out the chair's duties when he or she is not available and helps run board meetings.
Wright, a longtime Corryton resident, was appointed to the commission in February 2008 and won the 2010 race for the 8th District, and was re-elected in August. He’s a University of Tennessee graduate and earned a degree in management. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He later worked for AT&T.
A lifelong resident, he graduated from Bearden High School in 1982, and went on to earn a business degree from the University of Tennessee, according to the county’s website. Smith and his family owned and operated two businesses in the third district for 28 years before he began working in Knox County’s Risk Management Department.