Next county mayor should be open, flexible

Johnson City Press • Updated Aug 1, 2018 at 8:54 AM

Experience counts, and that’s one reason we continue to recommend a vote for Joe Grandy as Washington County’s next mayor in Thursday’s general election.

Both Grandy and his opponent, Independent candidate James Reeves, have valuable experience as business managers. We’ve found that both men have stayed abreast of the county’s key issues and have presented ideas for moving Washington County ahead.

As we stated in May when we endorsed him in the Republican primary, however, Grandy’s experience in the public sector makes him the most suited to succeed Dan Eldridge. As a community volunteer, Economic Development Council member and two-term county commissioner, Grandy has the necessary depth of knowledge to lead the county’s government.

He accurately describes the financial, educational, infrastructural and political needs of the county. He rightly has focused on reducing Washington County’s high debt. He knows that Washington County must expand clean water access to all residents and understands the need to seek federal and state assistance to do it. He knows that improving the educational levels of Washington County’s workforce is the path to prosperity.

He also has shown the necessary level-headedness to be a governmental executive. His professional approach to the ongoing rancor since the primary has been admirable. Grandy says he is committed to working with all stakeholders in Washington County, including those on the County Commission who have actively opposed his election.

If he’s elected on Thursday, we would encourage Grandy to take that spirit of cooperation even further by re-examining the rigid climate in the mayor’s office and the Commission with a clean slate on certain positions. Whomever voters choose should take a step back to reopen the dialog with the county’s Board of Education and the City of Johnson City regarding school capital projects and their financing. There are legitimate concerns about the current structure hammered in place by Eldridge and his supporters on the Commission.

We believe Grandy is open and flexible enough to facilitate that change. We also believe he can accomplish the same in working with Tennessee’s next governor and our local legislative delegation to better position Washington County’s needs in Nashville.

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