Jun 9 2006
03:21 pm

Michael Silence reports at his blog that the term limits decision has been released and a report will be on KNS soon.

This is also being reported at WVLT, who says local media is digesting the 60 page ruling and will have updates shortly.

UPDATE: WBIR reports the Knox County Charter has been ruled invalid. Developing...

UPDATE: The KNS has just filed this report:

A chancellor ruled today that Knox County’s charter is "invalid and ineffective," meaning the county would revert to the form of government outlined in the state constitution.

The ruling also invalidates term limits, which restricts the number of terms an elected official may serve.

The article says appeals are expected.

Oh my!

UPDATE: The full text of the ruling (PDF format).

UPDATE: Knox County Elections Administrator Greg Mackay advises that the full text of the ruling is also available here at the Election Commission website.

UPDATE: Excerpt from the blockbuster ruling after the jump...

When the voters approved a charter form of government, it was reasonable for them to assume that Knox County had a charter that covered its government, not part of its government. When the voters of Knox County were presented with a ballot in 1994 imposing term limits upon individuals holding an “elected office of Knox County government,” it was reasonable for those voters to assume that term limits would apply to all of the elected office holders in the Knox County government, not part of it. Similarly, when the voters of Knox County voted for the offices of Trustee, Register and County Clerk in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002, and for the office of Assessor in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004, it was reasonable for those voters to assume that those offices existed. As the residents of Knox County have obtained marriage licenses from the County Clerk, registered their deeds with the Register, and paid their taxes to the Trustee, based upon the appraisals of the Assessor, it has been reasonable for those residents to assume that those offices existed as part of their government. However, contrary to the reasonable reliance and assumptions of the public, no one in this case says that these offices are covered by the Knox County Charter.

In summation, the charter document has never existed as a complete charter as required by the charter enabling legislation. The charter document has never been registered as required by the state enabling legislation or the Knox County Charter itself. This is not a case of insubstantial noncompliance with the enabling legislation. This is a case where the charter was, for whatever reason, never designed to be in compliance with the enabling legislation. This is a case where the procedural steps for registration of the charter document have not been taken. This is a case of substantial, substantive and procedural, failure to comply with the enabling legislation. Thus, the Knox County Charter document has never been valid or effective as a county charter.

This Court cannot write the omitted portions of the charter. This Court cannot cure the failure to properly register the charter. Accordingly, this Court must declare the Knox County Charter to be incomplete, invalid, and ineffective.

OK, then.

Factchecker's picture

Does this mean it's safe to

Does this mean it's safe to say Good Riddance to some dead wood commissioners?  Tongue out

EDIT:  OH, CRAP!!!  The "MORANS"!!!  What a damned surprise. 


Never has the left been so right.

R. Neal's picture

Unfortunately, the opposite.

Unfortunately, the opposite. The KNOXGOBs won. Term-limited incumbents will stay on the ballot.

Factchecker's picture

Yeah, reality just hit me

Yeah, reality just hit me when I hit the button.  Darn double-negatives.

Anonymous's picture

charter invalid & wheel tax?

This basically voids anything done by referendum since the charter took effect.  Therefore voiding out the term limits.  Does it also mean the wheel tax is void?

Paul Witt's picture

Maybe.  I'm sure there will

Maybe.  I'm sure there will be a lawsuit soon to determine just that.

Rachel's picture

This basically voids

This basically voids anything done by referendum since the charter took effect.  Therefore voiding out the term limits.  Does it also mean the wheel tax is void?

Hell, at this point I'm not sure my 1996 Knox County marriage license is valid.

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

"Valid" Questions

Gemini, I told Eleanor that, if need be, I'd marry her again and every week if necessary. Of course, if post-charter marriages aren't valid, then there sure are a lot more bastards in Knox County than anyone could have imagined. Heh.

Paul Witt's picture


These assholes really are desperate to stay in power aren't they?  Let's all pray for the state Supreme Court to reach down and issue a quick reversal on this one.

Oren Incandenza's picture

Reversal? A toss-up.

I've just skimmed the 60-page opinion so this is hardly a definitive take.  But like most opinions from Chancellor Weaver, it appears thorough and thoughtful.  And it pretty clearly explains that the county charter's preparation, adoption, filing, and administration were all deeply flawed enterprises.  The statutes are reasonably clear but those charged with creating the charter seem to have found a way (actually, multiple ways) not to follow them.  Reversal appears a toss-up at best, and if compelled to bet I'd bet against it.

It gives me zero joy to say any of this, as I'd like to see the voters' will respected and enforced and term limits imposed.  But it looks like, if you want term limits, you're going to have to start all over again.

R. Neal's picture

Or, show them the door on

Or, show them the door on election day!

Factchecker's picture

David Kiger spent a small

David Kiger spent a small fortune and got just a handful or votes in the primary.  If you're not an incumbent, you're pretty much screwed here in Cleetus-ville.


Never has the left been so right.

R. Neal's picture

Unfortunately, there's that.

Unfortunately, there's that. Good point. When only 15% of voters turn out for local elections, it's a pretty good sign they are happy with the status quo, for whatever reason.

cafkia's picture

What about...?

 Is there some reason we should not sue the sitting commissioners and those of the recent past for fraud or dereliction of duty or some such?  If in fact the charter is invalid then was it not their responsibility?  Was it not incumbent on our elected representatives to insure that the county was in good legal standing?  Seems to me that it is time for some good old fashioned open revolt.



It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
  - William G. McAdoo

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture


Well, in addition to CAFKIA's suggested lawsuit for dereliction of duty against current and former commissioners and county executives/mayors/potentates, I would suggest that we, as the citizenry who may or may not exist, follow up on some of the following items:

  • Can we sue for refunds from "unauthorized" tax increases since the formation of the invalid charter? (Since, after all, any and every vote by the county commission since the charter was "enacted" must be considered "unauthorized.")
  • Can we require any pay and/or pension increases voted upon by the county commissioners for themselves since the inception of the invalid charter be repaid back to the county's treasury?
  • Can we go ahead and just start a unified government movement right now?

Congratulations to the idiots who filed this lawsuit. I hope it was worth it to you to keep your sticky little fingers firmly grasping the reins of your fiefdoms. Now, let's make sure the hold you have is brief at best.

Rachel's picture

Oh geez, when the spouse

Oh geez, when the spouse sees this I'll have to listen to at least a week of "I just can't live in this stupid place anymore - we're moving to the Pacific NW."

Seriously, how screwed is this?

 If the charter is invalid, then are all the ordinances, etc. passed under it also invalid?

Anonymous's picture

Poor Diane Jordan

was ousted by Paul Witt, Steve Mule, Jim Gray and gang for Helene Diane Lewis, the 1st district demos selected Lewis Logan and in fact Diane Jordan is still qualified to be on the ballot. The democrats jumped the gun by palcing it in their mouths and disrupting the 1st district democrats.

Man, Chairman Hornback looks brilliant in not jumping to any conclusion and not filing lawsuits to remove Jim Gray's boss from the ballot.

Tess's picture

So the PEOPLE were over-ruled

When the people voted for term limits, apparently the good ole boys never filed that with the state to make it legal-- Thinking that the sheeple would forget, or something. 

 God save America.   Cry

RINO's picture

Term Limits

Who was on the election commission which failed to finish the charter process?  Who was chairperson? ??????????This will come out, and it won't be pretty.  The next step is to throw the rascals out of office (not voting for them)  in retribution for this mockery of democracy. 

Knoxquerious's picture

GOD!!! WHY!!!

This is BS! What kind of good ole boy s@#t is this. I thought it was over for the commissioners but he would rule sheriff...reg of deeds valid. Same ole stuff different day. I am starting a new party called "Democrats against Diane" She is as bad as everyone. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Scott1202's picture

Did this really surprise anyone?

Chancellor Weaver has been dragging this out as long as he could. At an earlier hearing (that had zero to to with the issue), he veered off on a tangent and rambled that he doubted the charter was valid. This was a setup to keep the good ole boys in office, plain and simple.

lotta's picture

biznes as usual in knox county

One of the term-limited commissioners told me when all this started that there was nothing to worry about - weaver would rule in favor of dropping the term limits and it was all wrapped up. I was stunned that anyone would actually tell me this but I  assumed this commissioner was an optimistic fool and the pressure was the cause of this remark. Sadly, I was the optimistic fool. I was foolish enough to think that we were going to get our government back.  I'm going to have to move......

SteveMule's picture


It looks like Hornbut (AKA "Anonymous") is back!  What a fat ass putz.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


Old Hickory's picture

Can wheel tax be abolished now?

If they had no authority to exist, then they had no authority to pass a wheel tax, which should be the subject of the next complaint.

Guess Moncier was right, just too right for his own good.  He's cried wolf, foul, and conspiracy for 20 years now, don't think he even took himself serious on this one.

Knoxquerious's picture

Term limit

Well, It’s 3:15 in the morning and I don’t know if it’s the pork tip indigestion or the fact that the dark ages have fallen upon Knox County political scene, but something is making me feel nauseous. Time for the sweet sweet smell of good ole boy politicin. As a district 1 demo, am I supposed to vote for Diane Jordan? God, I have voted Republican before but what is the point to voting for one in this district. Time for some Pepto Bismol. I know one thing, I am voting Tyree for sheriff and Andrews in hopes that some justice can be done. Good night.

Anonymous's picture

Give serious consideration

Give serious consideration to the 1st District Republican, Nick DellaVolpe. He is smart, honest and as an environmental lawyer representing clients trying to preserve the scenic highways, he has been severely burned by the good ole boys (and girls) who sell their votes to developers. He wrote one of the strongest letters to the editor denouncing county commission corruption that the KNS has ever published.


JustJohnny's picture

1st dist

[to anonymous] ....perhaps this fellow should run as a Democrat then. Especially if he wants my vote. I'm tired of voting Republican 'because he's a good guy'. If he's that good, and that good for me, then he'd be true to himself and run as a Democrat. It sickens me to see good people run as Republicans because they think it'll help them get elected. What do you call those people? ah --RINO's. Much like our DINO's -- politicians who care more about getting elected than they do the people they will be working for.

People have played up the 1st district woes way too much. There were a lot of write in candidates, and one of them done really well. I think in the end, the people of the 1st district will have a good person in the position who will actually represent them.

lotta's picture

Della Volpe endoresement

Ditto on Della Volpe.  He is sharp and passionate about  doing the right thing for the community.  Knox county could use someone interested in the environmental issues - Knox County Eng. & Pub works is doing a dismal job of protecting our natural resources and the developers are enjoying the low cost of developing with virtually NO enforcement of env. regs.

lotta's picture

wowza - hostility at first post

My first post on this board and I'm zinged within the hour with a hostile comment!  What a town!

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture


Lotta, I believe the zing was aimed at the post directly before yours. Have fun.

Number9's picture

Earlier this year the

Earlier this year the question was asked, "Who do you want to take the government back from?"

Now you know.

SteveMule's picture



The zing was indeed aimed at the post just before yours. You're cool.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

Well, in the cold light of

Well, in the cold light of morning I still don't feel any better about this. I am struck by the realization that the five who filed this lawsuit essentially made the argument that "We should be entitled to keep our job as commissioners specifically because we did not do our job as commissioners to ensure the proper compliance and registration of the county charter."

Yes, I'm looking at you, Billy Tindell. As a lifelong Democrat who resides in the 2nd district, you should note that you will not receive my vote any more. I doubt you care since you have already shown such complete disregard for the thoughts of your constituents, but I thought you should know. As for David Collins, I've never thought he needed two government paychecks anyway.

I'm voting for Mark Harmon (D) for the Collins seat and if the County Dems won't do the right thing about the Tindell situation then I'm voting for whoever the GOP has put up for that seat. And, I will be happy to canvass my neighborhood to encourage my neighbors to do the same.

Paul Witt's picture

Billy Tindell is running

Billy Tindell is running unopposed.  The Republican that attempted a write-in campaign on May 2 did not get the 5%.  From what I hear, she didn't even know she needed the 5% but just 25 votes.

Number9's picture

If this was not treason then what was it?

I'm voting for Mark Harmon (D) for the Collins seat and if the County Dems won't do the right thing about the Tindell situation then I'm voting for whoever the GOP has put up for that seat. And, I will be happy to canvass my neighborhood to encourage my neighbors to do the same.

A Republican may not run as a write-in candidate because of the primary. There is still a solution to keep Billy Tindell or any of the "hell no we won't go five" from taking office.

An Independent write-in candidate may still run in the August General Election. They have until June 23rd to fill out a form at the Election Commission office. They do not need 25 signatures.

This would allow the public a candidate to vote for as a protest or a replacement for any of the five incumbents that placed their own personal greed and agenda over the welfare of the entire county.

If this was not treason then what was it?

SteveMule's picture

Write-In Amy


Consider giving Amy Broyles a ring and encourge her to run another write-in race. Many in the local Dem party are throughly disgusted with Billy Tindell and Diane Jordan both.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


Anonymous's picture


Amy can get as many votes as stacey diamond got (12). SteveMule endorsed Diamond and got a whopping 12.

SteveMule's picture

Anonymous is BACK!!

Dear Anonymous (AKA Brian Hornack; AKA Hornbutt, AKA fat assed putz),

I didn't endorse anyone for 1st District. I was aware of the feelings that at play and decided to wait until after the primary. You Anonymous, are the only one to have stated that I endorsed Stacey Diamond. Which is why I know it's you, dumbass. 

Folks check it out:

This is when and where it started. Be sure and read the comments. For awhile Brian never missed an oppertunity to "zing" me with the Stacey Diamond candicacy. Why, I have no idea. Perhaps he thought it would upset me, whatever.

As for his thoughts on the term-limits and all check this out (the pertinent part is toward the end of comments):

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


StaceyDiamond's picture

my votes

I'm proud of my 12 votes, I'd still like to know who they all were. I'm also proud Hornback got voted out in 2004. Stacey

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