Shane Walker had hoped to become the next DeKalb County Road Supervisor but that will not happen this year.
The Tennessee Highway Officials Certification Board recently denied Walker's application for certification to become a candidate. "I was hoping to run for Road Supervisor but the state felt like they had certain implemented things in the statutes that I wasn't able to be certified through them. So I cannot run this time but hopefully in the next election in 2018, maybe I can run then," said Walker in an interview with WJLE Friday.
Though Walker has had supervisory experience in the construction industry; has studied engineering at Nashville Community College, and is now a certified bridge inspector, the Tennessee Highway Officials Certification Board found his qualifications lacking. Walker believes he has sufficient experience and education to carry out the responsibilities of Road Supervisor. "I already have several certifications through the state that I have been working on since 2011-12 plus a year of college but they (state) don't recognize that (course) from Nashville State Community College. At the time I went there it was not an accredited college course toward engineering. The years in supervisory experience that I had was in a different field of work (construction) that I had done prior to this (bridge inspector)," he said.
Currently, 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).
Walker plans to take his concerns to state legislators, hoping to get the law changed to provide more options for persons to become certified to run for Road Supervisor in the future. "The statutes in place right now say that you either must have a two year engineering degree or you must have four years of supervisor experience with a highway or road crew of some sort. It leaves it too narrow. I would like to see a state certified course that they will teach where you could serve your community without them putting you under such scrutiny. If they could just put something in as an addendum (to the law) for smaller counties where they could say if you've got this state certified course and you can prove you've had the capability of running (supervising) crews then that should be enough for a county with a population like DeKalb County. I am going to pursue this and see if we can get that (law) changed and get something added to give other people chances that want to run," said Walker.
Had he been eligible to run, Walker believes he would have been a viable candidate and he wishes to thank all his family, friends, and supporters who would have backed his candidacy.