One man who had publicly announced hopes of becoming the next DeKalb County Road Supervisor may not get that opportunity this year.
The Tennessee Highway Officials Certification Board has denied the application of Adam Shane Walker, who had planned to run for the Democratic nomination in the May 6th primary. Walker recently picked up a petition from the election commission office but has not yet returned it.
Meanwhile, Eddie Wayne Cook has also been denied certification by the state. Cook has not formally announced plans to run for Road Supervisor and has not picked up a petition from the election commission. Both Walker and Cook submitted their applications in January. Betty Jean Atnip submitted an application in October but later decided instead that she would make a run for the county commission in the sixth district. The state board did not deny Atnip certification but said they needed more information from her.
The Tennessee Highway Officials Certification Board has approved the applications of James Douglas "Jimmy" Sprague and Wallace Mitchell "Butch" Agee to run for Road Supervisor this year.
Blake Fontenay, Director of Communications for the State Comptroller's Office, told WJLE Friday that "Neither Walker nor Cook clearly demonstrated in their applications that they met the statutory requirements".
Walker and Cook have until Thursday, February 6th to submit any additional facts if they want the board to take another look at their applications. "At this point I want it to work out and I've made some calls to see if there is any way I can send in an addendum for them to look at. I feel like I have the qualifications and I have had so many people that really want me to fight it but at this point I don't know what I can do," said Walker in an interview with WJLE Monday.
In announcing his candidacy at the local Democratic Mass Meeting on January 25, Walker mentioned his experience in the construction industry, his education in the study of engineering, and his certification as a bridge inspector. "Over the past 25 years, I've worked my way up through the ranks from laborer to the position of foreman. I have supervised numerous people in various jobs over the years. In 2009, I was laid off. I decided to further my education at Nashville State Community College, where I studied engineering. In 2010, I went to work with OCCI on the Hurricane Bridge project. I wanted to get more knowledge of bridge work. I took classes recommended by TDOT and obtained various certifications which opened the door for me to become an inspector for our state roads and bridges. I am currently a bridge inspector for an engineering consulting firm hired by the state to engineer bridges in Tennessee," he said.
In denying his application, Walker said the Tennessee Highway Officials Board found his qualifications lacking. "They tell me my four years experience as a supervisor is not there. I don't have the four years in highway maintenance. My supervisory skills was from a previous career I had in commercial and industry construction and heating and cooling but they said that wasn't enough for them. I also didn't know that Nashville State Community College was not an accredited engineering college for the year that I went there so they don't recognize it. The engineering I did was in electrical engineering for the job I was doing in my previous career. It was just a beginning of engineering. It wasn't a degree, it was just the first beginning year of college," he said.
With his background and experience, Walker contends that he is more than capable of carrying out the responsibilities of Road Supervisor. " I can lead people. As far as doing the maintenance job on these county roads and bridges, I have no problem with keeping the people (employees) busy and making sure that the money is being directed where it needs to be spent," he said.
In order to be certified, a candidate for county road supervisor must:
(1) Be a graduate of an accredited school of engineering, with at least 2 years’ experience in highway construction or maintenance; or
(2) Be licensed to practice engineering in Tennessee; or
(3) Have at least 4 years’ experience in a supervisory capacity in highway construction or maintenance; or
(4) Have a combination of education and experience equivalent to either (1) or (2).
The qualifying deadline with the election commission is February 20. For Road Supervisor candidates, the statutory deadline for filing with the Tennessee Highways Officials Certification Board is February 6th.