Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The primary appointments

The Knox County Commission adopted one of the most creative methods they could have in filling the 12 county offices (including eight Commissioners) vacated by the term limits ruling-they have chosen to wait until after the February 5th Primary, so that the voters will have already had at least some say in the matter:

Knox County voters will have direct input into appointments to 12 vacant county offices after County Commission voted tonight to wait until after the Feb. 5 primaries to fill the seats.

The effort to delay the appointments was spearheaded by Commissioner Mike Hammond, who proposed holding public forums starting on Feb. 6 for candidates to make their cases, with actual appointments on Feb. 20.

It is somewhat disingenuous for the Knoxville News-Sentinel to say that voters will have "direct say" in the appointment process. County Commissioners clearly intend to use the results of what will clearly be a well-attended Primary (the Tennessee Presidential Primary is being held on the same day) as a guidepost in the appointment process. The local General Election in Knox County isn't until August, and clearly the Commission can't wait that long to fill critical constitutional offices. This is probably the best deal that voters could hope for under the circumstances, and also virtually guarantees that the Knox County Commission cannot violate the Open Meetings Act the way that they did on January 31.

It is possible that some folks will be appointed who do not please the voters. If Commission waits until after the Primary to appoint new officeholders for the vacant county offices, voters can oust the appointees in just a matter of months.

The appointments for the vacant Knox County offices will take place February 20th.



At Tuesday, November 20, 2007 11:21:00 AM, Anonymous Number9 said...

Many people have strong feelings about when the appointments should be made. This underscores that no matter when the appointments are made there will be great unhappiness. Commission did not fulfill their duty on the appointment vote last night.

What Commission did last night was wrong on every level. It is not only too long for the appointments but performing the appointments after the election is the cowards way out. It is irresponsible to leave almost half the seats in the County empty. District 4 is completely unrepresented. All other Districts have half their normal representation except District 7 which is the only District with full representation.

The most logical course of action would have been to do the appointments in January.

Don Daugherty, the Knox County Democratic Chairman will be filing a lawsuit to contest the actions of Knox County Commission last night.

Daugherty wrote on KnoxViews, "The upshot appears to be precisely what Lambert mentioned: these six Commissioners - Harmon, Smith, Leuthold, Hammond, Ballard, and surprisingly, Norman - have developed a coalition of power to thwart not only the Court-ordered appointments, but also the Ragsdale audit. This also means that Ballard, the swing vote, has lined up the Mayor's support in his race against Mike Lowe for Property Assessor. Finally, I'm lining up a group of bi-partisan plaintiffs to either intervene in the lawsuit in Fansler's court and ask him to enforce his order or file a new lawsuit in federal court because the 4th District remains unrepresented and other districts are underrepresented, and the Commission is still making decisions. We'll intervene or file suit by the week's end."


It is irresponsible of County Commission to request for audits to be done and then to refuse to review them. But, as almost always, we see that politics take precedent over government in Knox County Commission.

At Tuesday, November 20, 2007 1:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why don't you pick up on Tim Hill leaving David Davis office? There is scandal somewhere I smell it. Also what is the latest with Mary Littleton? I heard she was starting a lobbying firm. Just asking because you are the only blogger to keep peoples feet to the fire no matter what side of the isle.


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