By Dave Russell
Jackson County Commissioner Mickey Luker’s presence at commissioners meetings and his residency have raised some eyebrows in the community.
Instead of a physical presence, Luker has phoned in and participated in meetings via speakerphone 1/4 of the time this year.
Commissioners have phoned into meetings nine times – out of 32 meetings – from January 1 to July 9, according to Angie Winchester, clerk to the Board of Commissioners. Luker accounts for eight of those calls, Ron Mau the other, she said.
Luker said he has heard the rumblings.
“I took a vacation, the first one I’ve taken, and we were gone for about three weeks,” Luker said. “It has probably been four or five years at least, and then you finally take a vacation and you get bashed for it.”
The last meeting he phoned in he missed because he was on his way to a trade show, he said.
Luker denied rumors he no longer lives in Jackson County.
“It’s funny. I hear the same thing,” he said. “But I guess that is just how rumors float and work. Welcome to Jackson, right?”
Luker is still a resident and still owns property here, he said.
“Eventually I probably am looking at moving out, but I still got my business and everything is still there,” he said.
Luker is selling his Jackson County assets. His Facebook page shows he has already sold a John Deere tractor, a dump truck, slushie machines, commercial coffee makers and other items.
Luker owns and operates Caney Fork General Store. The building which previously housed the business went on the market for $299,000 in March and is discounted to $269,000 now.
“Any and everything is always for sale,” he said. “You’ve just got to have the right buyer at the right time, I guess. I’ll sell anything I’ve got if the price is right.”
The speakerphone presence at meetings does not interfere with his ability to function as a county commissioner, he said.
“I think I have done an outstanding job,” he said. “I’ve listened to the people of my district and outside of the district as well and I think I have done the justice that they’ve asked me to do.”