Elizabethton finance director tagged for town recorder post in Unicoi

Sue Guinn Legg • Aug 5, 2019 at 10:58 PM

UNICOI — Debbie Kessler, former city clerk and finance director for the city of Elizabethton, is taking over as the new top administrator for the town of Unicoi.

In a special called meeting Monday, the Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday voted unanimously to appoint Kessler to the town recorder post vacated in April by Michael Borders.

Kessler was set to begin work Tuesday morning following the Monday night vote and told the board, “I’m excited to get started. I appreciate the opportunity.”

Interim Town Recorder Larry Rae will continue in his part-time role with the town for two more weeks to help with the transition.

A Johnson City native, Kessler is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, where she received a degree in accounting. She has been employed by the city of Elizabethton for the past 13 ½ years, including six years as city clerk and finance director.

In seeking the position, Kessler said she considered the town to be “very progressive in its projects” and in the many grants it has been awarded. “For a small town, they do really well,” she said.

The search for a replacement for Borders, who resigned in early April to take a city administrator post with the town of Pittman Center in Sevier County, was extended in late May after a prior top candidate for the job backed out during contract negotiations.

Kessler will be the third person to fill the town recorder office in Unicoi since Rae’s retirement in June 2016.

Prior to Borders, who was employed by Unicoi from February 2018 through April 12, Mike Housewright served as Unicoi town recorder from June 2016 through November 2017.

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