Crockett County’s mayor and sheriff are among officials criticizing State Election Commissioner Jimmy Wallace for engineering replacement of three county election commissioners so that the county’s election administrator can move to another county.
The Jackson Sun reports a “standing-room only crowd” packed the Crockett County Courthouse Friday to air their complaints to U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Republican; State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, a Democrat; and State Sen. Ed Jackson, a Republican.
Wallace told The Jackson Sun last week that he voted to appoint three new Republican members because he believes it’s unfair to require Crockett County Election Administrator Lori Lott to live in Crockett County. She moved to the county as a condition of getting the position, but now wants to move back to Madison County. The newly-appointed commissioners voted April 9 to let her make the move.
State law does not require the administrator of elections to live in the county. But the commission’s ad in Alamo’s weekly newspaper for the open position said applicants had to be residents of Crockett County, which she was not (at the time).
…Crockett County Mayor Gary Reasons said he spent time last week in Nashville speaking with both Fitzhugh and Jackson about Wallace.
“I think Mr. Jimmy Wallace should be removed,” Reasons said Friday. “I think he’s overstepped his boundaries. I really don’t think he’s fit to serve in the capacity he serves in.”
Ken Davis served as a Crockett County election commissioner for nearly 15 years. He said he was removed from his position by Wallace in 2008.
“If people in this room think it is a current issue, it is not,” Davis said. “He has been out of control since going all the way back to 2008.
“It’s been like a circus board the last few years because if he doesn’t get what he wants, you go out the door,” Davis continued.
Crockett County Sheriff Troy Klyce told the legislators there should be an investigation into Wallace’s actions.
“I think the Republicans need to stand up to this man, and the governor needs to understand we’re not going to stop until we’re heard … we’re not going to lay down because a rich person is trying to tell us what to do,” Klyce said.
…Wallace told The Jackson Sun on Friday that he believes the most important thing in the whole ordeal is that Lott has come in and done a respectable job in Crockett County. Where she lives shouldn’t matter, he said.
“If she is doing the job that I am told she is doing, and she did do in that November election, then that’s all that matters,” Wallace said. “And the fact that there’s been a storm stirred because of the residency issues doesn’t take away from the number one important thing and that is for the elections to be running properly.
“Even with all the furor, Crockett County is getting an excellent administrator that’s going to do the right thing and make sure those elections are run properly,” he said.
…Jackson and Fitzhugh said time was running short in this legislative session to take any action (but they would be looking into the matter.)