Former Rutherford County Commissioner Jimmy Evans resigned from the County Election Commission today to run against Mayor Ernest Burgess in the May 6 Republican Primary.
Evans, who narrowly lost to Democratic Mayor Nancy Allen in 2002, said he stepped down from the Election Commission just minutes before he filed his petition to challenge Burgess, a former NHC executive seeking a third term. Candidates faced a noon deadline to qualify.
Also a member of the Industrial Development Board, Evans said he has nothing against the mayor but disagrees with the way he has handled the county budget and the public hearing process for construction of Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
“The tax increases passed by the mayor add up to 16 percent in the last six years and that alone was enough to get me to consider running,” Evans said.
In an Election Commission resignation letter sent to state Sen. Bill Ketron, Evans said he “cannot sit idly by as government growth, increased taxes and a deteriorating public image threatens our future.”
The county is taking a hit to its image through mishandling of the mosque approval, Evans said, noting a weak public notice standards led to a protracted lawsuit that has cost the county about $320,000.
Burgess declined to address Evans’ specific complaints about his administration but said, “I’m not going to stop giving 110 percent every day of the week in my duties and responsibilities as mayor.”
Burgess said he will continue to “lead with consistency, compassion and conservative practices.”
Two independents also qualified to run for mayor: Heather Brown and Teresa St. Clair. They won’t be on the ballot until the Aug. 7 general election.