As the Election Turns-Charter (in)validityThe latest in Knox County's continuing election saga came in Knox County Chancery Court yesterday when Knox County Administrator of Elections Greg Mackay said yesterday that he could not find the Secretary of State's approval of the Charter, or any proof that the 1988 referendum results on the Charter were ever sent to the proper State authorities.
I have written that regardless of whether or not you feel the five Commissioners suing in this case are simply trying to get around term limits (and I don't think there is any question that they are), the basic legal question in this case, namely "is the Knox County Charter valid," is very much a legitimate question. I dearly wish the question had come up in a different case under very different circumstances, because this case simply takes a very serious constitutional question (validity of the County Charter) and makes it into posturing over ballot position. That is a shame because, as I have said, based on my reading of the Charter and understanding of Tennessee law (disclaimer:I am not an attorney) I do not believe the Knox County Charter is a constitutionally valid or legally binding document in its present form. Hence, regardless of how you may or may not feel about term limits, the right decision for Chancellor Weaver to make is to throw out the Charter.
We need a new Charter if we want to do Charter government right. I strongly suspect that a term-limits amendment to a new and valid Charter would survive another ballot test.
Photo: CLAY OWEN
Knox County Election Administrator Greg Mackay , far left, watches from the witness stand as attorneys gather around to examine a document Thursday in Knox County Chancery Court.