Tim Raines appointed to fill vacant alderman seat

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News

A new alderman has filled the seat vacated by Jeremie Konegni, who resigned on Aug. 6 after pleading guilty to the charge of assault on a female.

Tim Raines, a retired Owen High School teacher and coach who spent over two decades working at his alma mater, was sworn in on Aug. 10 during the board’s agenda meeting.

Vice mayor Maggie Tuttle, who retired from Owen in 2003 after teaching for 30 years in Buncombe County, nominated Raines to fill the seat. 

Tim Raines is sworn in as alderman by town clerk Angela Reece on Aug. 9. Raines was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Jeremie Konegni, who resigned on Aug. 6.

In June Raines delivered the commencement speech to the class of 2018 at the Owen, where he taught civics, economics and American history during his career.

“I taught civics, primarily,” he said. “I told my students all those years that they needed to get involved in their community and I thought this was a way that I could give back a little bit.”

Raines retired from teaching and coaching at the end of the 2016-17 school year and had considered running for a seat on the board of aldermen in the future, he said. 

Tim Raines delivers the commencement address to the Owen High School class of 2018 in June. Raines, who was appointed to the board of aldermen on Aug. 9, taught at the school for over 20 years.

"Since I'm not coaching anymore I have a little bit more free time," he said. "(Tuttle) asked me if I'd be interested in it when the position became vacant. I thought it over and decided I'd see if I'm the right fit."

Tuttle has no doubt he is, she said. 

"I taught with him at Owen for years and I've known him basically his whole life," Tuttle said of Raines. "I know how respected he was at Owen and what a great job he did. He's an incredible people person and his background as a coach is a big part of that."

Raines became the girls varsity basketball coach at Owen in 1994. He was inspired to coach, in part, by his former high school coach Roy Williams, who led the Warhorse basketball team when Raines played for the school. 

His experience coaching high school students helped him develop an ability "to look at all sides" of an issue, Tuttle said. 

"He knows a lot about making decisions and solving problems," she said. "He knows you have to respect both sides and and consider things carefully before making a decision. I'm pleased to have him on the board."

The decision to accept the position was not a hard one, Raines said. 

"I care about this Valley," he said. "I love Black Mountain; it's my home and it's growing fast, so I'm excited to have this opportunity at an important time for the town."

While he'll be facing a "steep learning curve," Raines said, he hopes to be "a positive influence on the board."

Raines fills the seat previously occupied by Konegni, who was elected last November. The four-year term for the seat expires in 2021. 

Konegni was arrested in May after Black Mountain police responded to a domestic disturbance at his home. His case was continued twice before he plead guilty to the charges on Aug. 1. Five days later, on Aug. 6, he submitted a letter of resignation to the town.

Tuttle moved to appoint Raines to the vacant seat during the board's August agenda meeting. The motion was voted on and approved by the board with a 4-0 vote.