Tag Archives: county commission

Briggs resigning Knox Commission, but not sure just when

Newly-elected state Sen. Richard Briggs says he will resign his current seat on the Knox County Commission, though he’s not sure just when, and the News Sentinel reports maneuvering to replace him has already begun.

“Obviously I’ll have to resign from Commission,” he told the News Sentinel. “It’s just a matter of when that has to happen.”

He said it is uncertain when he has to leave his current post for the new one.

But already, Briggs said, successors for the remainder of his term in Knox County Commission’s 5th District are already lining up.

He said some people who were interested in filling in for the rest of his term include John Schoonmaker, Ken Gross and Margot Kline. All have contacted him or discussed the matter with him.

Schoonmaker is a former Commission candidate, Gross is a member of the Republican State Executive Committee and Kline is a longtime community activist in West Knox County.

“They would serve from now until we have the election in September of 2016,” Briggs said.

Shelby County commissioners sue commission chairman

Seven County Commissioners — six Democrats and a Republican — filed a lawsuit Monday in Chancery Court to seek clarification on the authority of commission chairman Justin Ford, according to the Commercial Appeal.

The lawsuit against Ford stems from a resolution that Republican Commissioner Steve Basar submitted twice, but was pulled by Ford from a committee agenda.

And it makes good on a letter from Commissioner Walter Bailey, who is also the plaintiffs’ attorney in the case, to Ford that threatened legal action over the issue.

The case is in Chancellor Walter Evans’ court and a hearing on a temporary restraining order is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Nov. 6.

Ford could not be reached for comment.

“It’s over a procedural matter,” Basar said. “He approves the agenda and he has taken that to mean he can strike items from the agenda.”

For the Oct. 8 committee meeting, Basar submitted a resolution to change the commission’s rules to allow times to be added to the agenda with a simple majority instead of a two-thirds majority.

Ford asked Basar to resubmit that item for the Oct. 22 committee meeting, but Ford then struck the item from the agenda. He relayed to Basar through an e-mail from the commission’s chief administrator his idea of forming an ad hoc committee to review all of the commission’s rules.

Ford’s actions block commissioners from doing what they were elected to do, which is present resolutions and ordinances for consideration by the commission, Bailey said.

“This specifically addresses the right of Commissioner Basar and myself as co-sponsor, ultimately to pursue having items on the committee agenda without arbitrary interference, without them being precluded or blocked,” he said. “

Former state Rep. Henri Brooks losing her seat on Shelby County Commission

Former state Rep. Henri Brooks, the subject of considerable controversy recently in Memphis, apparently will lose her seat on the Shelby County Commissioner, reports the Commercial Appeal.

In an investigation into her residency released Tuesday, the Shelby County attorney’s office found Brooks does not live in District 2 and as a result is removed from office effective immediately, according to the county charter.

“We determined that she did not reside in the district where she was elected,” said Marcy Ingram, county attorney. “We interviewed several people in the neighborhood, the 1867 Crump address, as well as the purported neighborhood in Cordova, and determined that she does not reside at the house listed on her HR (human resources) employment form with the county that she filled out just last year, as well as her financial disclosure forms.”
Ingram shared her findings Tuesday in a letter to commission chairman James Harvey. He could not be reached for comment.

Brooks also could not be reached for comment and refused to be interviewed as part of the county attorney’s investigation.
Commissioner Mike Ritz will present a resolution Wednesday declaring Brooks’ seat vacant and setting dates to interview candidates in time to vote on a replacement at the July 7 meeting.

“We have to set a tax rate. I don’t see seven votes for any tax rate right now,” Ritz said. “So, until we fill a position, we can’t set a tax rate.”
Questions about Brooks’ residency arose shortly after she was charged with misdemeanor assault following an altercation over a parking space at Methodist University Hospital. Brooks was employed with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare at the time, but resigned last week.

State GOP rejects challenges to primary wins in races for Shelby County assessor, Hamblen County Commission

By a 27-1 vote, the state Republican Party’s executive committee has upheld a Hamblen County Commission GOP primary election decided by one vote.

In the May 6 primary, John F. Smyth was certified as winner in Hamblen County Commission District 4 with 158 votes to 157 for Wayne NeySmith, who subsequently challenged the result in a letter to the state party.

NeySmith contended at least two votes were cast by people who did not live in the correct district – including his son’s ex-wife and a man who list his residence on voting forms as the address of a local church that was not actually his home.
Smyth disputed the contentions and the Hamblen County elections coordinator wrote a letter that effectively supported Smythe’s position, insofar as the validity two votes were concerned. NeySmith’s former daughter-in-law may have moved, Smythe contended, but had not necessarily established a new legal residence outside the district for voting purposes and the church’s pastor had given permission to the other voter using the church address.
NeySmith also noted that the names of people who voted early appeared on a list of people voting absentee. The elections coordinator said that it is standard procedure, when reporting vote totals, to list absentee votes together with those who voted early.

When primary elections are contested, the executive committee of the party involved sits as a “primary board” to resolve the questions. The GOP committee spent about 30 minutes debating the Hamblen County contest before voting Thursday evening.

The panel also rejected, 31-0, a challenge to Keith Alexander’s victory in seeking the party nomination as Shelby County tax assessor that was by filed Mary Peters Royko, who lost by a margin of more than 2-to-1.

Royko claimed Alexander wasn’t eligible to win because he had unpaid property taxes at the time of the primary, according to the Commercial Appeal. But Alexander said his taxes had not been paid because of a legitimate appeal of the property value on his home.

The dispute centered around a provision of state law that disqualifies “defaulters to the treasury at the time of the election” from winning. The executive committee members discussed whether owing money to a local body constituted a default “to the treasury,” the newspaper reported. It was also noted that Alexander paid the undisputed portion of his tax bill in mid-May, which would still be before the general election.

On an indicted Rutherford County commissioner

Rutherford County Commissioner Matthew Young has missed three meetings of the commission since being indicted for domestic assault and other charges, according to the Daily News Journal, but says he plans to resume attendance at the sessions.

“Two of those meetings I missed is because I was on duty with the fire department,” said Young, a full-time firefighter with the city of Murfreesboro.” I couldn’t get off. I’ve got to get to work. I plan to work as a commissioner. I plan to keep serving. I plan to be at the full commission meeting.”

…Young is facing criminal charges of domestic assault, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and extortion pertaining to counterfeit Justin Bieber concert tickets in Rutherford County. He also faces two counts of felony theft charges from Metro Police in Nashville in connection with what police said was a bogus concert ticket conspiracy involving tens of thousands of dollars.

“I’m not making any comment regarding my case at this time,” Young said during a Tuesday phone interview.

Young did not attend the commission’s Nov. 14 meeting, and he was absent for the commission Public Safety Committee meeting Nov. 19.
…District Attorney General Bill Whitesell said Tuesday that he would not pursue an ouster suit to force Young out of office unless a judge or jury decides the commissioner is guilty.

“I don’t know when those charges will be disposed of,” Whitesell said. “I don’t think there would be grounds for an ouster just based on those charges unless and until he’s convicted.”

…Young, Murfreesboro businessman Curtis “Bubba” Hutson and Biloxi, Miss., resident Harvey Felsher are scheduled to appear before Circuit Court Judge David Bragg at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 either to plead guilty or ask for a trial date, which at the earliest would take place in the spring, Whitesell said.

Young and Hutson face an accusation of committing crimes in July 2012 against Kenneth Cooper, who was living with Hutson at the time and had previously rented a room from Young.

Knox Commissioner faces $10K fine for not filing campaign disclosures

Knox County Commissioner Amy Broyles is facing a $10,000 fine for failing to file campaign finance information with the state, reports the News Sentinel.

The fine was assessed Wednesday during a show cause hearing held by the Registry of Election Finance in Nashville.

“I was not aware of that,” Broyles told a News Sentinel reporter Friday. “I don’t know anything about that. I haven’t been notified.”

Broyles hadn’t filed any updates on her campaign finances since Aug. 15, 2012.

According to Knox County Administrator of Elections Cliff Rodgers, elected officials or those who have campaign funds in non-election years are required to file mid-year and end-of-year-updates on their balances.

Broyles had $312.58 on hand in her campaign fund as of the last filing.

“Nothing has ever changed on my form,” she said, adding that she plans to handle the issue Monday.

“First, I’ve got to call the state and find out what happened,” she said, “because no one has notified me. Whatever the problem is, I’ll fix it.”

Rodgers said he’s attempted to contact Broyles by mail and even called her about the reports.

“I got ahold of Amy Broyles and told her when her report was due and she thanked me,” Rodgers said. “I reached out to her again by telephone and I never heard back from her. She’s two reports behind.”

Knox Commissioners Interview 4 Candidates for Interim Senator

Knox County commissioners Monday interviewed four potential interim successors to state Sen. Jamie Woodson, reports Mike Donilla. They’ll make a final selection next week during their regularly scheduled meeting.
Under state law, the Knox County Commission will choose a temporary successor who will serve until a special election is scheduled by the governor.
It’s anticipated to coincide with Knoxville city elections Sept. 27 and Nov. 8.
Five candidates applied for the spot before last week’s deadline. One — Janie Vega, a long-time legal secretary — did not attend the interview process. Neither she nor the others plan to run for the seat on a permanent basis.
Commissioners gave the other four candidates roughly five minutes Monday to say why they were qualified for the seat, which isn’t expected to be more than a caretaker position, because the General Assembly is not in session.
…Here’s a snapshot of their comments:

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