New commissioner shares goals for county

Published 6:19 pm Monday, February 17, 2014

Joseph Parnell describes himself as a Christian, husband, father and businessman, but most recently added Chilton County Commissioner to the list.

Parnell, 41, was sworn in Feb. 10 as the newest member of the Chilton County Commission.

Parnell fills the vacancy created by the death of longtime commissioner Tim Mims and was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Although Parnell admits he is not a “political guy” and had no interest in politics when first approached by Bentley to consider the job for commissioner, Parnell is warming up to the idea.

“When I was first approached in November 2013 about whether or not I would consider the position, I had no interest,” Parnell said. “A week or two went by and some individuals in the county called and asked me to please consider it. One of my biggest concerns was not having enough time to dedicate to this job and be able to do it right. If I commit to something, I will do it.”

Parnell said the decision to accept the position came after much thought and prayer.

“I put a lot of thought and prayer into this decision before I agreed to accept it,” Parnell said. “My wife and I discussed this a lot and made sure we were comfortable with the amount of time it would take to do this right. When a decision needs to be made you need to be prepared to make the right decision.”

Parnell contacted Bentley’s office and informed them he was interested in the position as commissioner and then started an interviewing process with Bentley.

Parnell said several individuals were also interviewed for the position before Parnell was appointed for the job on Feb. 10.

Parnell’s term will end in 2016.

“I was very careful in accepting the job,” Parnell said. “Tim Mims left some pretty big shoes to fill politically. He was the type of guy who knew everyone in the county and he has been a cornerstone of Chilton County politics for years. I am not political at all and it isn’t like I am going to be able to fill Tim’s shoes. I don’t know that anyone could.”

Parnell was born and raised in Chilton County where he now lives with his family including wife, Jodi and two children, Jack, 12, and Jenna, 11, in Isabella.

Parnell is manager of Parnell Inc., based in Maplesville, which deals in land, timber and cattle.

Parnell’s primary job with the family-owned company is dealing with all of the business operations including taxes, accounts receivable, accounts payable, human resources as well as buying and selling all of the products.

“It all comes across my desk,” Parnell said.

Parnell’s brother Jimmy Parnell handles the cattle side of the business and Jeff Parnell is the production manager.

Parnell said his main goal for Chilton County as a whole is creating jobs.

“There are a lot of things we need to fix in this county, but having good paying jobs will fix a lot of problems,” Parnell said. “If you want to grow your revenue, you don’t grow through tax revenue, you grow through taxpayer base.”

Parnell said after growing up in Chilton County and traveling to different parts of the country, there is no place better than his hometown.

“I have been able to see a lot and see different parts of the country and I am convinced there is no place in the world I have found better than this county,” Parnell said. “We have a good work ethic, we have the old farm values and I believe we are sitting in a perfect place geographically to be the go-to place for industry. There is nothing that would keep this county from being as good as our neighboring counties.”

Parnell said he is excited to serve the county as a commissioner and assured residents he will never do anything to simply get a vote.

“I will only do what is right and what I think is best for Chilton County,” Parnell said. “I am going to make mistakes, everyone will, but I will never do anything without considering what is the best for this county. At the end of this I may not be electable but I will always have the best for Chilton County at heart.”