The primary appointmentsThe 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.
Labels: Local politics