KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Several members of the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen spoke against the Sullivan County Commission’s recent decision to reject any involvement in a regional economic hub.
Last week, the County Commission overwhelmingly approved a resolution denying any support to the Northeast Tennessee Regional Hub, or NetnHUB, and making it clear the county has no intention of becoming a member.
During Tuesday night’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Mayor Pat Shull and several other members expressed their disapproval of the county’s decision.
“We don’t want to compete against our own county, but we’re going to assess the whole situation and see what we should do and act in the best interest of Kingsport citizens,” Shull said.
Shull pointed out that not only is he a former county commissioner, but so are Vice Mayor Colette George and Alderman Tommy Olterman.
“So it’s not like we don’t understand what they deal with,” Shull said.
The mayor told News Channel 11 he wished county commissioners had participated in a formal briefing with NetnHUB CEO and former Kingsport mayor Dennis Phillips and other Hub officials before reaching a decision.
Alderman James Phillips said he was “disappointed” by the commission’s resolution.
“If this board was to vote on something without any information whatsoever except for hearsay, we would be ridiculed and voted out of office,” Phillips said. “I think it is very shortsighted the decision that the Sullivan County Commission made.”
“We don’t all have to play well together all the time, but we don’t want to mark it off as an option at all.”
Olterman agreed with Phillips and said it was “very unfortunate” commissioners didn’t take more time to discuss a matter of such importance.
George took issue with the commission ending discussion on the resolution.
“I think what disappointed me the most is that they voted to shut down the discussion prior to a lot of [county commissioners] being allowed to speak,” George said.
Shull told News Channel 11 he thinks Kingsport should be part of the Hub.