A former county clerk who resigned under threat of an ouster suit and a sexual harassment lawsuit has decided to seek public office again.
David Thompson left office in March 2014 when he signed an agreement to resign from office in exchange for an end to the ouster suit filed against him. As part of the agreement, he had to withdrawal his bid for re-election to a third term and agreed not to hold another office in Greeneville or Greene County for at least four years.
Those four years are up.
“I deeply regret the events that took place leading up to my resignation in 2014,” he said in a statement. “Making those mistakes and resigning was a humbling experience. After spending the last four years reflecting on where I have been in life and where I want to be, I know that my dedication and drive for public service is still strong.”
Thompson said he believed he ran an efficient and service-oriented office for his two terms. He said after talking with family and much prayer and deliberation, he has decided to try and regain the position of county clerk.
Along with the ouster suit, a $3.5 million sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in December 2014 by former Deputy Clerk Michelle Burke. She alleged Thompson subjected her to uninvited and unwelcome sexual harassment over years during her employment.
Greene County opted to pay $100,000 in May 2016 to settle the case. Thompson disagreed with the county’s decision at the time and refused to agree to never seek public office again after it was requested by the Greene County Insurance Committee.
“Additionally, because of Mr. Thompson’s acknowledged relationships with employees under his control, Mr. Thompson’s status as an elected office holder in Greene County government would pose a financial risk to Greene County due to his reckless conduct in office,” a response from the committee at the time stated.
Greene County Mayor David Crum said at the time the settlement was purely a financial decision for the county.
He said since he was not seeking re-election, he would not comment on the 2018 race.
“I think it’s probably better for me not to interject in that race,” he said. “That’s not my race. The citizens of Greene County can decide who they want to be the (county clerk) whenever they go to the ballot.”
Thompson said he has made mistakes, but mistakes are not what defines him.
“Life has gone on for the past four years and has brought me to this point where I am ready to focus on a new chapter,” he said. “I sincerely ask for your vote and support.”