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The Scoop - Terry Bell will do well
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I’ve had the privilege of working with five different county executives during my time here as editor. Terry Bell will make the sixth.

The question of the day is will Terry Bell make a good county executive? I think he will.

Looking back at the five county executives who were in office during my time, they were all very likeable and all had different strengths.

Carol Hamblen was elected in 1998 and she had the smarts for the job. Where Carol ran into problems was because she was female. Several commissioners were vocal and said things like, “I’m not gonna listen to a woman!” That hurt her effectiveness, through no fault of her own.

Carol was county executive during Sept. 11, which brought an array of new government protocols for safety and communication. It was a concerning time and Carol handled it well.

Kenneth Rogers was elected County Executive in 2002 after posing in Standard ads surrounded by empty factory buildings. If you recall, the late 1990s and early 2000s were brutal job-market years with the departure of big employers like A.O. Smith, AquaTech, DeZurik, Powermatic and more.

Rogers was a county commissioner before being elected county executive and I thought his relationship with the County Commission was great. Kenneth even went to China in an effort to get jobs in Warren County. He gets an A+ for effort.

John Pelham came into office in 2006 and was the only one of the five county executives I covered who was reelected. I remember John most for presiding over Warren County’s bicentennial celebration of 200 years as a county. 

John’s first term was like the cover of a magazine, but he couldn’t maintain that same energy during his second term.

Herschel Wells Sr., was elected in 2014 and I remember him best for working with Gen. Max Haston to finalize plans for a new National Guard Armory. We’re seeing the benefits of that work now as construction is under way.

Jimmy Haley was elected in 2018 and is best remembered by me as being in office during the COVID pandemic. From a communications standpoint, Jimmy handled the situation well with weekly press conferences that were broadcast on Southern Standard Facebook Live.

However, Jimmy and the County Commission didn’t seem to play well together and commissioners voted him out of the chairmanship role.

Where I think Terry Bell will excel is with his relationship with the Warren County Commission. That’s a crucial part of the job.

He also has 16 years of experience as a county commissioner and that includes four years as chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. Terry can crunch numbers.

Last week’s election will bring tremendous change to Warren County when new elected officials take office in less than three weeks on Sept. 1.  

I consider it positive change and I believe we’ll have a good four years with Terry Bell as County Executive.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.