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New city commissioner familiar with the job

By Preston Ayres, payres@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 24 2013 04:58:48 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2013 01:22:22 PM CDT

Just call him 'Commissioner' -- one of the two new members of the Johnson City commission was already a commissioner in Washington County.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

Just call him 'Commissioner' -- one of the two new members of the Johnson City commission was already a commissioner in Washington County.

David Tomita was first elected to the Washington County Commission in 2010; Tuesday night he was elected as a Johnson City commissioner and he plans to continue in both offices.

“I was elected to the county commission. I made a commitment to the voters of the fourth district who happen to all be residents of Johnson City," says Tomita.

Tomita represents the fourth county commission district, which is inside the city limits.

He tells us being a commissioner is about the people not the board. "I think if you make your decisions based on the best interest of the constituents there is no conflict," says Tomita.

While Tomita’s dual role is a first for Washington County, I learned its happened several times before in other parts of the state.

We sat down with county attorney John Rambo to find out how it's not considered a conflict of interest. "There is no law in the state of Tennessee that prohibits a person from serving on both boards; it's an issue by issue matter," says Rambo.

It's no secret the city and county commissions don't always see eye to eye, and that relationship is one of the first things this new city-county commissioner wants to improve. "I think at the end of the day if you just have a conversation, we don’t expect it’s going to be a love fest but you can improve," says Tomita.

Less than 24 hours after the election he's already starting on the new job with city budget meetings.  

He says he'll make time for both elected posts by cutting back his service on several civic organization boards.

David Tomita picked up just under 29 percent of the votes. He finished behind former school board member Jenny Brock who led the race to win her first term on the city commission.

Tomita and Brock replace Phil Carriger, who did not run, and Jane Myron, who lost her re-election bid.