Iwanski: No major changes in Trustee’s office

During the Anderson County Commission meeting last Monday, commissioners chose Commissioner Myron Iwanski (Dist. 8) as interim county trustee over a handful of other candidates. He will replace Rodney Archer who will resign from his position on June 30 to take a position with the state, which means Iwanski will serve the remainder of Archer’s term until the next county general election.

Archer served as county trustee for 11 years, and was responsible for collecting taxes and acting as the county’s banker. The job pays about $80,000 a year.

Iwanski said he does not plan to make any major changes to the trustee’s office.

“I don’t expect to make any major changes. I’ll be seeking the input of the office staff that are there, other public officials, county commissioners, and others. I’m open to suggestions but I’m not going in expecting to make major changes or make major staff changes.”

Iwanski is a sixth term county commissioner from District 8, an Oak Ridge district that includes the voting precincts of Woodland, Emory Valley, and Hendrix Creek, and has served three times during his long tenure as County Commission Chairman.

In 2011, Iwanski resigned his seat on commission when he was appointed to serve as interim mayor following the resignation of then Mayor Rex Lynch.

Iwanski served for 19 months as interim county mayor and was re-elected in 2012 to serve as District 8 Commissioner for the remainder of his fifth term.

“I have 30 years of experience in areas that are important to running the Trustee’s Office in work as a leader, a manager, and a supervisor and 20 years on county commission where I chaired key committees that interact regularly with the Trustee’s Office,” said Iwanski. “I’m 100 percent committed to this job.”

Scott asked him if he is considering running for trustee during the county’s primary and general elections in 14 months, to which he replied that he has no intentions of running for trustee.

Iwanski said he saw the job as one that requires “100 percent commitment,” and that running a campaign at the same time would be a distraction.

“We’re already seeing in the mayor’s race and the sheriff’s race, that they’re already starting in their campaigns. It would distract from my ability to take as much time as I need in working with the Trustee’s Office if I have to run a campaign for the next year. The campaigning is going to be a very intensive thing...My choice is to focus entirely on running that office for the next year,” Iwanski stated.

Among the candidates Iwanski competed with for the position were Regina Copeland, Wanda McCrosky, Angie Knauff, a certified public accountant who is currently chief deputy for the trustee, and Scott Gillenwaters.

Candidates introduced themselves to commissioners one at a time where they were asked interview type questions by the Commission.

The first candidate to be interviewed by the Commission was Wanda McCrosky, an Oak Ridge resident in the 7th district, who is a retiree with 35 years of work experience in finance and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Asked by Commissioner Theresa Scott (Dist. 7) if she is planning on running for the Office of Trustee in the next county general election, McCrosky stated she has not yet made a decision on whether or not she intends to run for trustee.

“I haven’t made up my mind on either choice,” McCrosky replied.

Next to be interviewed for the trustee position was Regina Copeland, the county’s 911 director. Copeland has a total of 18 years of experience serving the county as 911 director performing similar duties as trustee: “collecting, disbursing and investing 911 funds, setting and managing a budget, reconciling accounts, and preparing for annual audits,” were some of the responsibilities Copeland mentioned.

Copeland told Commissioners she definitely plans on running for trustee in the upcoming election.

Angie Knauff, Archer’s deputy trustee, responded to interview questions following Copeland’s brief interview with Commissioners.

Knauff has 11 years of experience working as the county’s deputy trustee under Archer. Knauff apprised commissioners that she has “done most of the different jobs in the office” over the years and that her interest in the position was to make sure there is a “seamless transition” with this department as a successor to Archer takes the helm.

“I would like to keep the office running as Rodney [Archer] has set in place — with the goals we set in place 10 years ago. We’ve reached many of those goals and I would like to see it all continue,” said Knauff.

When asked by commissioners if she planned on running for trustee next year, Knauff said she was undecided on whether she wants to run for office or not.

The last candidate to be interviewed was Scott Gillenwaters, former county commissioner and current Anderson County School Board member.

“It’s important that you choose someone to run for the full term and who is committed to doing just that,” asserted Gillenwaters. “It’s not an office in which you simply change the name plate on the door. There are a lot of things that have to be transferred when there is a change. In fact, the law requires the county conduct an audit every time there is a change, so to appoint someone who can’t be elected or isn’t even planning to run automatically means additional elements added to our regular state audit next year.”

Gillenwaters joined the rest of the candidates in saying he did not see the need to make any major changes to the way things are currently being run in the trustee’s office.

It only took one round of voting for commissioners to make the appointment, with Iwanski winning the support of 10 commissioners: Rick Meredith, Jerry White, Phillip Warfield, Mark Alderson, Phil Yager, Steve Emert, Tim Isbel, Tracy Wandell, Jerry Creasey, and Whitey Hitchcock.

The four remaining votes went to nominations for Gillenwaters and Copeland with Gillenwaters receiving two votes and Copeland receiving two votes.

McCrosky and Knauff received no votes from commissioners.

Absent from the voting was Commissioner Chuck Fritts (Dist. 1) who excused himself an hour before the meeting ended to go home, so he could make it to work on time for his day job the following day. The Commission meeting Monday lasted from 6:30 p.m. to 11:05 p.m, with the final business on the agenda being the appointment of an interim trustee.

Commissioners will be appointing someone to replace Iwanski at the July Commission meeting.