Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Foster resigns from County Commission

Following several months of consideration, Commissioner Tom Foster officially announced his resignation from the board last week.
“I knew the time that would be required,” he said during the Sept. 21 commission meeting. “What I didn’t realize was the loss of business.”
Foster’s resignation, which was effective immediately, was accepted by fellow commissioners with regret, but understanding.
According to Mayor Dan Eldridge, Tennessee Code Title 5 related to the laws of 1957, under which Washington County is governed, is very strict when it comes to conflict of interest.
Foster said he was aware of those guidelines going in. “I fully understand and support the laws,” he said.
“The hardest thing is to tell people you’ve done business with for 15-20 years that you can’t do it.”
Unfortunately, he said the restrictions related to work with various offices in the county and school system were starting to bleed into services he provided to other customers. “My competition was telling people I couldn’t do work for them.”
As time went on, the impact became more apparent. “It was weighing on me,” he said, which led him to his decision.
“For the stability of my employees, and the stability of Foster Signs, I didn’t want to jeopardize anyone’s job.”
Despite the danger to the health of his company, Foster said the decision to resign was not an easy one. “I hated to let the voters down,” he said, adding that since the announcement, he has received overwhelming support from the community.
Serving the public was one of the things Foster enjoyed most during his time as a commissioner.
“Through the people I met and the friends I made, it was a pleasurable experience,” he said.
Commission Chair Greg Matherly said the vacancy will be declared during the Oct. 26 meeting of the county commission.
The following month, nominations will be accepted for the open spot in the 6th District. Commissioners are each allowed to nominate only one candidate, and the nominee should have already agreed to accept the position if elected.
While any commissioner can make the nomination, candidates must live in the 6th District in order to be considered.
If the person appointed by the commission is a Republican candidate and interested in continuing to serve, he or she will run in the Presidential Primary on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
The winner will go on to run in the County General Election on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. The person elected in August will complete the remaining two years of Foster’s term.
Commissioners Steve Light and Mike Ford ran in the 2012 elections following the deaths of two board members.
Ford was appointed to the commission in June 2011 to fill the vacancy in the 7th District left by Commissioner Richard Shadden. He ran unopposed in both the March and August 2012 elections.
Light was appointed during the May 2012 commission meeting to fill the 8th District vacancy left by Commissioner Evert Jarrett. He bested five other candidates in the August 2012 County General Election.