Last Friday's meeting of the Knox County Election commission resulted in a decision to take resumes for the Election Administrator's job. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel report, the motion was made by recently appointed Republican Robert Bowman.
Earlier, Knox County Republican Party Chair Ray Jenkins circulated a letter to Knox County Republicans calling for the Election Commission to replace Election Administrator Greg Mackay. According to a WBIR report, the letter said "Elections have consequences. It's time the Republican majority in Nashville and Knox County begin to act like it. Also, urge them to ensure that whomever they appoint as Election Commissioners, a Republican must be appointed as the Knox County Administrator of Elections."
As a consequence (unintended, or not?), the controversy has also given pause to Knoxville City Council regarding the convenience voting pilot program, a project that has been in the works for a while and was approved by the state legislature last year. (City Council will have a public hearing on convenience voting Monday, June 1, 2009 immediately following the budget hearing which begins at 5:00 PM in the Main Assembly Room of the City/County Building).
The Election Commission has scheduled a meeting for Saturday, June 13th to review resumes for the Election Administrator position, time and place to be determined. Presumably there will be public notice of the meeting, including time and place. It is not clear if a hiring decision will be made at the meeting.
It is our understanding that resumes are coming in, but there has been no reporting of who has submitted a resume. In the interest of transparency, the Election Commission should post the resumes on their website as they receive them.
We understand that resumes are being forwarded to the Knox Co. Human Resources for processing. Presumably this would include review of qualifications for being a county employee and compliance with nondiscrimination policies.
Judging from the news reports of letters being circulated by Republican party officials and the reports of last Friday's meeting, it sounds as though a decision has already been made to replace Mackay. The News Sentinel report made references to pressure on Election Commission members but doesn't say where it's coming from. It is our understanding that a court reporter was present at last Friday's meeting and that a transcript was recorded. It would be interesting if the media or someone could get a copy of that so the public can get a better idea of the tone of the meeting and the decision making process.
At any rate, I guess it's been a long time since the GOP had a majority in the Tennessee House so the institutional memory is a little murky. It may turn out to be an interesting test of the Tennessee Constitution, Article I, Section 4, which says "That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this state, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state."
SEE ALSO: Shane Rhyne
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