New county employees greet public at open house


Photo By Dave Boyd
Newly-hired Veterans Serviceƕs Officer David Batchelder shakes hands with County Mayor Dale Fair as new Emergency Management Director Ernest Jackson looks on.
By Lesley Jenkins
Star Staff
ljenkins@starhq.com
An open house was held Friday afternoon to meet and greet the newly hired Emergency Management Agency Director, Ernest Jackson, and Veteran's Service Officer, David Batchelder. Carter County Mayor Dale Fair announced the appointment of Jackson and Batchelder to those offices on Tuesday.
The open house was planned so the public, courthouse employees and county commission members could meet Jackson and Batchelder. Dozens of visitors streamed through the second floor conference room of the courthouse to eat cake, drink punch and shake hands with the new employees.
"I served in that capacity as a volunteer for six years as publication, information and communications officer for the county under D.C. Sansom, who retired in 1993," Jackson said of his new position. "I have the experience concerning that, plus we have worked in all aspects of the office with budgeting right on down to disaster planning. I have also served on the Carter County Red Cross board on and off for eight years. There was a couple years that you had to stay off the board in a non-voting capacity."
Jackson is a Carter County native who has a wife, Cathy, a son, Robbie, and a foster daughter, Nicole Burns. He added that he officially starts the job on Sept. 8, and is "looking forward to it." The Emergency Management office is located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Batchelder wants to continue working with the program that Randy Lingerfelt left as Veteran's Service Officer. "From what I understand, Randy had a real good program. He was going out of the office doing home visits, and to nursing homes, and he started some new things there. I am just going to try my best to continue doing what he got started," said Batchelder.
As a retired First Sergeant with the U.S. Army, Batchelder will serve the office with experience he brings from his work in the military. As the Veteran's Service Officer, Batchelder said he will "help veterans and their spouses or widows with all sorts of benefits from burial benefits to education to disability. There is a vast array of different services and programs out there. You just try to help them make sure they are getting the benefits they are entitled to."
Batchelder will be sharing the tiny space on the second floor of the courthouse that holds the Planning Department until the white house located behind the courthouse is renovated for offices. The building will soon hold offices for Chris Schuettler, Planning Director, Craig Malone, Code Enforcement Officer, and the Veteran's Affairs office for Batchelder. Moving the Veteran's Affairs office to the white house will benefit many veterans because it will be located on ground level and will have easier handicap access.
Batchelder has a wife, Irene, and two young sons, Nathan and Kaleb.