Benton County has received a boon lately in the person of Camden native Charles “Charlie” Cooper, who has taken on the vast responsibilities of the county budget administrator and been named as the Benton County mayor’s first deputy.
Cooper replaces former Budget Administrator Ashley Travis, who concluded her work with the mayor’s office on Sept. 9 to pursue another employment opportunity with the State of Tennessee.
“I like to help people, I enjoy being helpful, and I like to find solutions to problems. I like to succeed and don’t like to be defeated, so having a job where I am asked to tie up loose ends and keep things running smoothly suits me,” said Cooper. “I enjoy being a public servant, and I was very glad for the opportunity to come back to work in my home county again after working in Nashville for the past three years.”
That Nashville job was working as the Legislative assistant to former Tennessee Representative Bruce Griffey. While in that role, Cooper had to maintain Griffey’s schedule and plan ahead for anything the representative might need to serve his constituents most effectively.
When Griffey was elected to the 24th Judicial District Circuit Court Bench earlier this year, Cooper realized that his time in Nashville was drawing to a close.
“Honestly, working in Nashville was tedious, as I live in Camden and commuted to the Capitol each day. That made for many hours spent on the road,” Cooper said. “When the budget administrator job opened up, I applied for it and was glad that I was selected for the position, if for no other reason than I would be able to be home more often.”
Cooper brings a world of experience and training in public service to his new role with Benton County. A 1990 graduate of Camden Central High School, Cooper served a three-year tour in the U.S. Army as a young man. While in the service, he started taking various courses to enhance his knowledge and skills, and essentially has never stopped.
The wall of Cooper’s office is festooned with an array of diplomas and certificates attesting to the breadth of his education and training, with credentials in leadership, public relations, family mediation, paralegal studies, ministerial studies, and certification as a notary public.
It’s a good thing Cooper doesn’t mind training, as he has several courses to complete regarding work as a county budget administrator. He expects to begin the next round of courses on that topic that are offered by the state sometime in the spring of 2023.
“I enjoy learning new things, that is one of the reasons I have worked in so many different positions in public service,” he related. Cooper has worked as a bailiff, a Benton County Jail correctional officer, the court officer for BCSO, a probation officer, a dispatcher for the Camden Police department, and in a variety of other positions.
Simply put, Cooper has a lot to offer, and there is no doubt that Benton County will benefit from his diverse knowledge base and work experience. He also seems a genuinely caring and friendly guy.
“I am eager to do whatever I can to help our county run smoothly,” Cooper noted. “I am so glad to be back in Camden working for the folks in my hometown.”
Cooper is married to Tina Cooper, his wife of 22 years. They share three children, Christopher, 30, Christina, 29, and Charlie, 17.