Election 2022: Blount County

Meet the candidates for mayor and sheriff in Blount County.
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT
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Sample Ballot


James “Jim” Hammontree

Race: County Mayor

Party: Republican

Address: Blount County

Profession: Retired from Tennessee State Parks

Jim Hammontree
Jim Hammontree(Jim Hammontree)


  • Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from Tennessee Tech
  • Master of Science in Recreation Leadership for UTK
  • Master of Science in Fitness and Wellness from Memphis State University
  • Master of Science in Public Administration from the University of Memphis

I retired from Tennessee State Parks August 31, 2012. I serve as a member of the Blount County Commission, District 2, Seat B. My primary hobbies are reading, taking care of my two pets and working outside. I attend Patriot Church in Lenoir City. I am also a Vietnam veteran.

I will enforce term limits on myself. Two terms are sufficient. Each year I will give a State of the County address. If and when possible, meetings involving the expenditure of funds will not be held before 7:00 p.m. I will add two additional citizens to the Budget Committee to have six members. I will chair the meetings, but will only vote to break a tie vote. Blount County needs a Charter Government and I will work to make that happen.

Ed Mitchell

Race: County Mayor

Party: Republican

Address: Blount County

Profession: Current Blount County Mayor

Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell(Blount County)

Biography: A sixth-generation Blount Countian who still lives on the family farm which was settled in 1800 by his great-great-great grandfather.

He spent 31 years as a public servant in Blount County:

When I ran for Mayor in 2010, I had no idea a thing about politics or running for office, but I hit the road every day and just talked to people. They were as upset as I was about the debt this County was in, among other things.

I came into the office with a different way of thinking.

The County was $250M in Debt, with over 90+% in variable-rate, and we needed to change that.

In my last 12 years as Mayor, we’ve been able to:

  • Improved Bond Credit Rating to AA+
  • Eliminated All Variable Rate Debt
  • 5 Consecutive Clean Audits (7 out of the last 9) - no findings

Continued to strengthen County financial position with conservative practices

  • Fund balances/reserves have grown through balanced budgets
  • General Fund from $6.3 to $35.7M
  • Debt Service from $13.2M to $22.4M
  • Reduced debt from $250M to $120M (at the end of June 2022)

Improved the process of long term investments

  • Began setting aside a portion of the tax rate for General County capital and School capital improvements

Operational accomplishments

Established partnership with the Hwy Supt to coordinate Development, Planning, Codes and Inspections with the functions of the Hwy Dept for improved efficiency

  • Established a recycling center

Improvements in the Courthouse for an improved experience for our citizens transacting business

  • Security, entrances, parking, and signage - Veterans Only Parking!

Completed the Blount County Animal Center with a state-of-the-art Veterinary Center

Technology Investments

  • Connected all public buildings/facilities including Schools to our fiber network for improved network connectivity and cyber security
  • New HR/Payroll system, Purchasing & Accounting software, phone system, website and more
  • Installed wireless access for citizen access
  • Provide public access for citizens to watch public meetings

Established a Classification and Compensation pay plan to hire and retain employees based upon market conditions - this is unheard of in County Government

Established an environment of transparency, accountability, and accessibility by which we transact the public’s business - Blount County Government is the benchmark standard for how County Government operates

Since 2015, through our great relationships and collaboration with our cities and the Blount Partnership…4,570 jobs have been created and has had a total capital investment of over $2.1Billion.

I’ve laid the foundation of a conservative, fiscally responsible Blount County Government and our work is not done. We have great Department Heads and amazing Elected Officials who work with me every day to make these things happen.


James Lee Berrong

Race: Sheriff

Party: Republican

Address: Blount County

Profession: Current Blount County Sheriff

Blount County Sheriff James Berrong
Blount County Sheriff James Berrong(BCSO)

Biography: James Lee Berrong is the Sheriff of Blount County. He was first appointed in 1989, and Blount County residents continue to put their faith in his leadership. For more than 30 years, Sheriff Berrong has remained committed to maintaining law and order for the citizens of Blount County. He began his career with the Sheriff’s Office in 1977 before transferring to Maryville Police Department later that year and remained with them as a reserve officer from 1980 through 1989. During his early years, Sheriff Berrong fell in love with law enforcement and knew he’d found his lifelong passion. When he became Sheriff in 1989, he inherited a staff of 65 men and women. Now, with the help of his staff, the Sheriff’s Office has more than 300 professional deputy sheriffs. Under his leadership, the Fifth Judicial District continues to fight a war on the opioid issue. With the support of the residents of Blount County and the Blount County Commission, the BCSO has placed an SRO in each of Blount County’s schools, with three in each of the two high schools. All aspects of the Sheriff’s Office have blossomed under his leadership, including our Senior Outreach program for seniors and shut-in citizens, our well-equipped dive team, and our professional SWAT team which is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is a professionally accredited law enforcement agency, and he has earned the respect of his deputies with his “servant leadership.” He’s turned the BCSO into a technologically advanced law enforcement agency and he continually strives to meet the immediate and long-term needs of our rapidly growing community.

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