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Accountability and Oversight – BMA forms One Kingsport Advisory Commission

Matthew Lane • Aug 16, 2016 at 10:30 PM

KINGSPORT — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday night created a One Kingsport Advisory Commission, an 11-member board charged with recommending One Kingsport projects to the BMA and providing an annual report on accomplishments, metrics and the progress on the various projects undertaken.

The creation of the commission is the next step in the One Kingsport process — a five-year road map for the Model City, born out of a two-day summit held last fall. The summit involved more than 200 volunteers who brainstormed more than 100 ideas, policy changes and capital projects for the BMA to consider.

The summit was comprised of seven work groups, each one focusing on a different subject (like housing and downtown). A prioritization team then ranked the ideas, generating a first-year plan.

Members of each work group have since recommended candidates for the advisory commission, with each candidate coming from the pool of volunteers who previously served on the work groups. Mayor John Clark was charged with nominating the chair for the commission.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the BMA unanimously voted to form the commission and appoint the following 11 members:

Jane Henry: a Realtor with Blue Ridge Properties, will serve as the chair of the advisory commission. Henry has served as president of the Junior League of Kingsport, a member of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the United Way board of directors.

Lafe Cook: director of the Dobyns-Bennett High School band program, a position he has held for the past 20 years.

Eric Deaton: the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Wellmont Health System.

Tom Dixon: the senior vice president and senior resident director of Merrill Lynch and a partner in the Smith Conkin Dixon Wealth Management Group.

Jane Hillhouse: president and creative director of Hillhouse Graphic Design, which has served the Tri-Cities since 1984. Hillhouse is a member of the Kingsport Chamber Foundation board and chair of the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship.

Chrissy Idlette: a public affairs representative at Eastman Chemical Company. Idlette is a member of the Fun Fest Council, the Kingsport Public Art Committee and the Eastman United Way Committee.

Seth Jervis: a Realtor with Century 21 and founding member and past president of PEAK – Kingsport young professionals organization. Jervis also serves on the Move to Kingsport committee and the YMCA board.

Charles Nitschke: who retired from Eastman as director of container plastics business organization. Nitschke currently serves on the Kingsport Beverage Board, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Kiwanis Club.

John Perdue: who recently retired from Eastman and spent the majority of his time there working in engineering and construction, utilities production and maintenance and service. Perdue is a member of the Kingsport Gateway Commission and has previously served as president of the United Way.

Bill Sumner: the engineering manager for Bell Helicopter Textron in Piney Flats. Sumner is a native and life-long resident of the Kingsport area and currently serves on the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and the NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership.

Aundrea Wilcox: the director of KOSBE, author of two business books and an independent certified speaker, trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team.

Each member will serve a four-year term with the goal of meeting quarterly to discuss the progress of One Kingsport and develop metrics and a report card for each project. City officials have said the advisory commission would provide accountability for One Kingsport projects and that some subcommittees would likely be created to focus on specific ideas.

“This is a very important committee,” Clark said. “The investments Kingsport would like to make in the future to help us achieve our vision and our goals. It is critical to our success.”

During a work session on Monday, the BMA discussed the advisory commission and heard some feedback from two members of the public who regularly attend the meetings.

“I’m not saying those (appointed) shouldn’t be on the list, but it does not include any regular citizens,” said Mary McNabb, noting that those appointed to the advisory commission represent a particular type of point of view. “If you get the publicity going the wrong way, it’s not going to do what you want it to do. You should broaden the commission to make everyone feel included.”

Clark said the criteria for the commission was you had to live in the city and must have been involved in the discussion and debate of One Kingsport, though he added the city could go back and see if others would meet that criteria.

Downtown resident Skip Norrell said he was concerned about the power given to this advisory commission, how there would be no recourse for the next four years.

Clark said the commission’s job would be to offer advice, that the BMA would have the responsibility for the final decision on One Kingsport projects.

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