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Leuthold back on commission

This isn’t Frank Leuthold’s first rodeo.

Frank Leuthold, father of current Knox County Commissioner Craig Leuthold, was appointed last week to fill out the term of John Griess, Knox County Commissioner seat District 5C.

Leuthold served as a member of Knox County Commission for 22 years and was chairman of the Finance Committee for many years before getting out of Knox County politics. Now he’s back in the saddle again.

“I don’t know if my priorities would be any different than they were before,” he said. “I want to see that education is funded sufficiently. Libraries, zoning and road conditions are always top issues.”

Leuthold said he believed he was responsible for getting libraries along Campbell Station Road and one in the Cedar Bluff area, which bears his name.

“The need was there for not one, but two,” he said.

The new 5C commissioner said he has no plans to get out and get to know his constituents, but rather rely on his day-to-day activities to keep abreast of district situations.

“I’ve served the citizens of this district for umpteen years,” Leuthold said. “I have not disappeared from the community. I chair at my church, Concord United Methodist Church, the program for our daycare services. I attend a lot of functions and events.”

Leuthold said he is aware the appointment of commissioners has created considerable controversy in the Knox County community. In his 22 years as a commissioner, he said it is a situation he has dealt with several times, although not so many at one time.

“I’ve had to make some appointments,” he said. “There are some Sessions Court judges that were appointed and then went on to win the election. The most dreaded thing a commissioner has to do is to make appointments.”

Leuthold said the reason it is so dreaded is because there are many people in the community who are qualified and believe they would do a good job. It becomes a case of not pleasing all of the people all of the time.

“The job is to make sure you have good people in the position,” he said. “It’s always a tough thing to deal with.”

The current Knox County situation, he said, is highly unusual.

Eight Knox County Commissioners and four constitutional positions required replacement employees as a result of the State Supreme Court upholding a 1994 Knox County Charter amendment calling for term limits. State law required Knox County Commission to appoint for these positions.

Controversy exists over the process and one lawsuit has been filed by Knoxville attorney Herb Moncier, citing commissioners’ alleged violations of the State Sunshine Law in determining commission appointments. Some commissioners accused the county mayor of strong-arm tactics in influencing the vote.


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