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Countermine appointed town’s first vice mayor

Jonesborough Alderman Terry Countermine may not have been at the May 14 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, but that didn’t stop his colleagues from appointing him to serve as the town’s first-ever vice mayor.
“Terry Countermine doesn’t happen to be here tonight, so I think he’d be a great vice mayor,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe joked. “In all seriousness, he’s a fantastic fellow and a good and faithful servant for Jonesborough.”
Last year, the BMA voted to make changes to its town charter that included the creation of a vice mayor position.
“If the mayor is not available, it can restrict action for a month,” Town Attorney Jim Wheeler explained in February 2011 when the BMA was deciding whether to create the position. “In some cases you don’t have the ability to even call a meeting without the mayor.”
Should the mayor be unavailable to meet at any time, the vice mayor can serve in that role to prevent action from being delayed.
According to Wolfe, Countermine, who was absent from last week’s meeting due to a family obligation, had previously agreed to serve as the town’s first vice mayor if chosen to do so.
Alderman Mary Gearhart made the motion to appoint Countermine vice mayor. It was seconded by Alderman Jerome Fitzgerald and received unanimous approval.
When contacted later in the week by the Herald & Tribune, Countermine said he was excited to serve as the town’s first-ever vice mayor, but even more excited to have an improved plan in place for BMA meetings.
“If Kelly can’t make it, now we’ll have an official and legal way of carrying on,” Countermine said. “And we haven’t had that before.”
Exactly how long Countermine will serve in this role remains up in the air. His term as an alderman is up this year and he has yet to decide whether he will run again for the position.
“I was leaning toward not (running again),” Countermine said. “I was hoping I could find someone that has similar ideals and would pay special attention to the downtown area.”
After fielding several calls lately from residents asking him to run for alderman again, Countermine said he is still undecided.
“But I’ll have to decide pretty quick,” he said. “The election is coming up.”
Countermine’s seat on the BMA as well as that of Alderman Jereome Fitzgerald are up for election in November. Aldermen Chuck Vest and Mary Gearhart were re-elected to four-year terms in November 2010.