The Johnson City Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last Thursday evening to appoint Dr. Larry Calhoun to fill the final two years of Dr. Ralph Van Brocklin’s term on the commission.
Dr. Todd Fowler made the motion to add Calhoun during last week’s commission meeting, and vice-mayor Jenny Brock seconded the nomination, adding that she was pleased with the way the process the commission used to select Van Brocklin’s successor unfolded.“It was a good process to be able to talk about a lot of issues that are facing the city, and where we’re going to be going,” Brock said. “I know that former commissioner Van Brocklin would be proud of the way we have done this. His legacy, his character and his commitment to doing good for this community I think will live on with Dr. Calhoun.”
Before casting his vote in the affirmative, Wise – who interviewed the final three candidates along with Brock following the commission’s agenda review meeting last Monday night – talked about the experience that separated Calhoun from the rest of the applicants.
“I think Dr. Calhoun brings a unique mix of personal and professional experiences that really made him stand out,” Wise said.
Mayor David Tomita’s vote made Calhoun’s appointment unanimous. After being sworn in by finance director Janet Jennings, Calhoun took a moment to address those in attendance at the meeting.
While Calhoun made it clear that nobody can fill Van Brocklin’s shoes, he pledged to serve Van Brocklin’s constituents to the best of his ability.
“I was intrigued by (Michael) Young’s letter to the editor talking about Dr. Van Brocklin that used terms like ‘empathy’ and ‘integrity,’ ” Calhoun said. “I just want to thank the commission for your confidence in me, and I promise that I’m going to try my best to not let you down.”
Calhoun is a native of Carter County. He was the founding dean of ETSU’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy and currently serves as the school’s dean emeritus. Calhoun also serves as a special assistant to ETSU president Dr. Brian Noland.
Calhoun’s wife Kathy and daughter McKenzie were on hand to see him sworn in, and he thanked them for their support as he prepared to hit the ground running as a member of the commission.
“I hope Kathy is still supportive when she realizes we’re not going to the beach in two weeks,” Calhoun said with a laugh.