Power shift for Hamilton School Board, County Commission - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Power shift for Hamilton School Board, County Commission

By David Carroll

dcarroll@wrcbtv.com

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- A "new look" Hamilton County Commission is heavily Republican, leaning toward a no-tax increase, conservative style of governing.  Two Commissioners who voted for the most recent property tax increase, Dr. Richard Casavant and John Allen Brooks will soon leave office.  Their replacements, Jim Fields and Joe Graham are believed to be far less likely to support a tax increase.  New district 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd (replacing Curtis Adams) also describes himself as a staunch conservative.

Also what was once an almost even split along party lines now includes only two Democrats, Dr. Warren Mackey and Greg Beck on the 9-member County Commission.

On the Hamilton County School Board, support for Superintendent Dr. Jim Scales appears to be dwindling.  With less than two years remaining on his contract, Dr. Scales must deal with new Board members who pledge to ask more questions than their predecessors.  District 6 member Janice Boydston, almost always backed the superintendent's programs, but her replacement, Joe Galloway says he'll be more independent.  Some members of the Central Office administrative staff, including Assistant Superintendent Ray Swoffard,  were vocal in their opposition to retired principal David Testerman, who won the School Board race in district 8. Testerman was among several successful candidates, including incumbent Everett Fairchild, who were critical of Dr. Scales during the campaign.  And new District 9 member Mike Evatt, also a school district retiree, says he wants to address what he calls morale problems in the Scales administration.

School Board members must also choose a new chairman to replace Kenny Smith, who has held the post for an unprecedented three years. Smith lost his race for County Commission District 8 . Some are suggesting Linda Mosley, the current vice chairman, while others are considering outspoken Rhonda Thurman, who has been on the Board for six years, while never holding a leadership position.

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