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Farragut seat up for grabs


Fifth District commissioners Mike Hammond and Craig Leuthold are in favor of letting the people choose their county commissioners.

The law, however, might not be on their side.


The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Friday, Jan. 12, and upheld the Knox County Charter and its term-limits provision. This means eight commissioners, including Fifth District Commissioner John Griess, Sheriff Tim Hutchison, Trustee Mike Lowe, County Clerk Mike Padgett and Register of Deeds Steve Hall, will loose their positions.

County Law Director John Owings said the law reads the legislative body [Knox County Commission] shall fill any vacancies in county offices.

Hammond and Leuthold said they were in favor of a special election, but would follow the letter of the law.

“According to the ruling that came down from the state Supreme Court, they said they would allow the officeholders to remain in place until they were replaced according to state law,” Hammond said. “We’re trying to figure out exactly what that means. The county law director feels the law is clear in that the county legislative body must appoint any vacancies in county commission or in constitutional offices. If it is possible to have a special election, that is what I would like to do because I would like to see the people select the replacements. You’re talking about twelve very important offices in county government.”

Hammond said he didn’t know whether a special election would be feasible because it is not specifically addressed in state law. Appointments, however, are spelled out in the statute and couldn’t be challenged legally.

“I think we need to take a look at all our options and decide what we need to do,” Leuthold said. “If it says appoint, then I guess we would do what we were called to do. I always prefer that the people have a say in the

matter.”

Griess was unavailable for comment at press time.

 

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