Lame Duck Session?

It’s not just the defeated Democrats in the US Congress that might try to leave us a parting gift – the Wilson County Commission may try the same maneuver.

The newly elected County Commissioners will be sworn in some time after September 1st, presumably before the Commission meets on the 20th. But the old county commission, including 10 members who will be leaving office, has one more meeting – a week from today on Monday, August 23rd.

Rumor has reached RFMJ that there may be an attempt to have the lame duck commission elect two new members to the county road commission to replace Billy Patton and Gilbert Graves, who were both defeated in the August election. Patton and Graves would resign from the Road Commission, the lame duck County Commission would elect replacements, and when the new County Commissioners are sworn in for their first meeting in September, they would discover that they had no say in the matter.

From the county website, here’s the current makeup of the road commission:

Elected to 4 year terms by County Commission
See Private Act

Robert Dedman, Chr.                                       444-1383

Steve Armistead, Road Supt.                            444-9022

Zone 1: Kenny Reich  443-1216  July 2010
Voting Districts 5,6,15,17,19,25

Zone 2: Bill Patton 754-2829  July 2012
Voting Districts 1,2,4,8,10,18,22

Zone 3: Billy Rowland  286-2217  July 2011
Voting Districts 7,9,12,20,21,24

Zone 4: Gilbert Graves  758-2704/351-3342  July 2013
Voting Districts 3,11,13,14,16,23

Wonder if anyone will notice? Will any Wilson County newspapers actually do some reporting on the County Commission?



Filed under Wilson County Commission

9 responses to “Lame Duck Session?

  1. Concerned Citizen

    That would be a shame to deny Armistead’s daughter the ability to server on the road commission. Isn’t that why she ran?

  2. Butch Huber

    Would the make-up of the county road commission be set in stone or could the next commission vote to replace those who are appointed?

  3. Southsider

    The members are elected to four year terms.

  4. Butch Huber

    Southsider, they are elected by the commission, can’t the commission recall or remove them? This isn’t like the voters putting someone into place, this is elected officials electing people into position, right? Or did I miss something? Seems like the new commission could undo this, or should be able to anyway.

  5. According to Luther (the sage repository of political lore), it’s been done before. A lawsuit was threatened, but never pursued. The then-county attorney’s position was that, once elected to the County Road Commission, the County Commission does not have the right to remove or recall a Commissioner from the Road Commission. Unclear whether they are elected to new 4 year terms or simply the remainder of the term for whatever vacancy they are appointed to fill. I suspect the latter is the case.

  6. Southsider

    It would seem to me that the present Road Commission members were appointed less than 4 years ago and have time left to serve.

    Some event would have to create a vacancy for the full Commission to appoint a mid-term replacement. A member could quit, move away, or die I suppose.

    Any mid-term appointment should be limited to the appointed replacement serving only the remainder of that vacated term.

    Now that people are watching this the county boys should behave. Some are already planning to get elected again in four years.

  7. Paul Deyo

    Just to clarify, replacements for these good ol’ boys would have to come from the voting districts listed under their zones, correct? So for example Fred Weston could replace Gilbert but Annette Stafford could not. Or do they just rearrange the zones to suit their needs?

    Increased scrutiny of the county commission should be even more important when this side of the county picks up a few more commission seats.

  8. Concerned Citizen

    Who will redraw and approve the redistricting?

  9. The county commission must ultimately approve the newly drawn districts. By law, they must have “substantially” equal populations.

    Here’s the relevant TCA:

    5-1-111. County legislative bodies — Reapportionment. —
    (a) Prior to January 1, 1982, and at least every ten (10) years thereafter, county legislative bodies of the different counties shall meet and, a majority of the members being present and concurring, shall change the boundaries of districts or redistrict a county entirely if necessary to apportion the county legislative body so that the members represent substantially equal populations.
    (b) The county legislative body may increase or decrease the number of districts when the reapportionments are made.
    (c) A county legislative body may reapportion at any time if the county legislative body deems such action necessary to maintain substantially equal representation based on population.
    (d) The county legislative body must use the latest federal census data whenever a reapportionment is made.
    (e) Districts shall be reasonably compact and contiguous and shall not overlap.
    (f) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (f)(2), in the establishment of boundaries for districts, no precinct shall be split.
    (2) Upon written certification by the coordinator of elections, a county election commission may establish a precinct that encompasses two (2) or more districts in any county that has twenty (20) or more county legislative body districts. In making this determination the coordinator of elections shall consider, among other things, the type of voting equipment used in the county, as well as the racial makeup of the districts and the cost savings to the county.
    (g) Upon application of any citizen of the county affected, the chancery court of such county shall have original jurisdiction to review the county legislative body’s apportionment, and shall have jurisdiction to make such orders and decrees amending the apportionment to comply with this section, or if the county legislative body fails to make apportionment, shall make a decree ordering an apportionment.
    [Acts 1968, ch. 599, §§ 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12; 1972, ch. 615, § 1; 1978, ch. 934, § 4; T.C.A., § 5-111; Acts 2002, ch. 653, § 1.]

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