Taking the reins of office

New councilmen for Maryville sworn in at meeting

Photo with no caption
By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

Steve West and Don Boring left the Maryville City Council meeting early Tuesday night, giving up their seats to the newly sworn in Maryville City Council members Tommy Hunt and Andy White. West and Boring did not seek re-election. Councilman Ron Ivens was also swore in the ceremony preceding the meeting for his third term.

Joe Swann thanked both West and Boring for their service on the council. He then asked that they stay seated until each of their replacements were sworn in to fill their seats. As soon as Hunt repeated his oath and headed to his new seat, West was up, shaking hands, giving hugs and headed for the door.

Once outside, the Chevrolet dealer took a moment to reflect on his nine-and-a-half-year city council career that started when he filled the unexpired term of Bob Navratil following Navratil’s death.

West said his proudest moments with the city council were working to create more commercial development, getting the new municipal building constructed and having the opportunity to work with city employees. The perception that government is inefficient and bloated didn’t apply to the city’s workers, he said.

"It didn’t take me long to learn they were as efficient as or better than most businesses," he said. "These people are professionals and put a lot of their life into the city."

West said he didn’t consider this retirement as a matter of him leaving for good. "I was involved with the city before I was elected, and I’ll be involved after I’m gone," he said.

Boring stepped outside the municipal building minutes later. The former longtime Maryville Police Department chief and Blount County chief deputy said he enjoyed his four years on the council. Boring said taking care of citizens and helping foster development were major parts of his time in office. He said he would miss the camaraderie with city employees the most.

According to Boring, running for office was just something he thought he would try. "I just got the urge to do it," he said. "I guess the citizens felt they wanted me to, and I’m humbled."

Back inside the municipal building, the council voted Swann mayor and Tommy Taylor vice mayor. They also heard several motions, as well as a statement from Hunt regarding how he would handle any conflicts of interest with his business. Hunt is president of Calloway Oil.

Hunt said that after speaking with the city attorney, he said he learned that his company could do business the city because he is not a majority share holder. Hunt said that since he has only a five percent share and is not a partner in the business, Calloway could bid on city contracts.

Hunt said he would not be the person the city notified at the company anymore when the city calls to get bids for fuel. He said he would abstain during any votes that would involve the company or any of its EZ Stop markets.

Taylor said that when he was elected and sworn in, the city dropped an air filter contract with the auto parts store he owned a stake in, even though he only owned 25 percent of the business and wasn’t a majority holder. Ivens said he once gave the city back $20,000 in a brokerage fee following a transaction involving his company and the city to prevent any perception of conflict.

"I’m sure if a conflict came up, Tommy will say something," Ivens said. "I thank him for reading his statement."

Following the hour-long meeting, Hunt and White shared time with their family and talked with residents and new colleagues. "I look forward to working with all the staff," Hunt said. "I want to thank all the citizens and all those in the campaign and hopefully we’ll improve things as best as we can."

White was excited about his first day on the job. "I’m just glad to be here," he said. "It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a
long time. I think we have a great council."

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