Rick Wilkey Named Rhea County Interim Road Supervisor

  • Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Rick Wilkey
Rick Wilkey

The Rhea County Commission voted Tuesday to make Rick Wilkey interim road supervisor to fill the uncompleted term of the late Glen Varner.

Mr. Wilkey was employed with the Rhea County Road Department under Mr. Varner and was hired in 1996 by former Road Supervisor Tommy Snyder. County Commission Chairman Jim Reed advised commissioners at the start of the meeting that there needed to be a change in the agenda.

“First off, the Sheriff’s Department needs to get approval on a grant for the school resource officers that just came in from the state and we need to fill the road supervisor position,” said Chairman Reed.

Chairman Reed continued by saying, “With the passing of elected officials, it touches the heart and the emotions of everyone. We have a responsibility to the community, local government and the state and federal government to fill the office.”

Chairman Reed informed the Commission that the number two person right now, Jeff Hickman had presented a letter to County Executive Jim Vincent that he did not want the position and wanted to stay in his current position as foreman.

Chairman Reed then asked for a motion from the Commission to change the agenda for the two items. Motion was made by Commissioner Bill Thedford with a second by Mark Cashman to amend the agenda. Motion passed unanimously.

Chairman Reed then stated that one of the reasons that they needed to fill the position was it was getting near the end of the budget year and a lot of state aid and grant applications would need to be signed by someone in charge.

Then Chairman Reed asked for a motion. Commissioner Thedford made the motion to appoint Rick Wilkey as interim road supervisor until Sept. 1. The chairman then asked for a second. There was a long pause as none of the Commissioners seconded the motion. Chairman Reed then advised the Commission that the motion died for lack of a second.

“We're all family here. I’m going to be blunt and plain. I have checked with our county attorney as to what the procedure would be to fill the office. Under the Private Act of 1951 it gives the chairman the power to appoint someone to the position. I could just go ahead and do it. But I would rather us to do this as a group together,” said Chairman Reed.

At that point he advised that the chair would entertain a motion. Again, Commissioner Bill Thedford made the motion to appoint Rick Wilkey as interim road supervisor. Commissioner Nick Welch seconded the motion. The chair asked for a roll call vote and all commissioners except for Tommy Ballard voted for Mr. Wilkey. Commissioner Ballard was not present at the meeting.

Mr. Wilkey will be sworn in by County Clerk Linda Shaver on Thursday morning as county offices will be closed Wednesday in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

Mr. Wilkey is a lifelong resident of Rhea County. When he first began working for the highway department, he said he started as a general laborer under Mr. Snyder. He worked his way up the ladder to where he was finally assistant road supervisor under Mr. Varner. He left in 2023 to run for road supervisor against Mr. Varner. He won the March primary defeating him with 4,101 votes to Mr. Varner’s 1,091.

Mr. Wilkey was employed for many years at Red Food Store and then Shop-Rite Supermarket, where he was the meat market manager. He has been married for 35 years to his wife and they share two sons and several grandchildren. He was raised in the Oak Hill area outside of Dayton by his parents, Clarence and Audra Wilkey.

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