The Grantville Emergency Town Meeting was held in the gymnasium of Grantville High School three days after the Ring of Fire tranferred the town back in time to late May of 1631. Most of the able townspeople, about 3,500, attended the meeting where the town council pronounced themselves incapable of dealing with the ROF crisis. In an open-aired discussion session, they proposed setting up an Grantville Emergency Committee to set in place such emergency measures as were deemed necessary, including but not limited to: prioritizing the use of and allocation of resources; governance of the town on an interim basis, including long term planning and establishment of a more suitable governmental form, and; handling the flood of refugees inundating Grantville in their short experience in the 17th Century, which was already estimated to be as numerous as the town's up-timer population after only three days in 1631.

John Chandler Simpson nominated himself for the position of chairman, sparking a memorable encounter with UMWA union local president Mike Stearns. After this, the town meeting unanimously elected Stearns to head up the Emergency Committee by acclaim and rubber stamped his appointees to the Grantville Emergency Committee and in particular, the Emergency Committee Cabinet which de facto came to rule the town with Stearns as Chief Executive Officer.