Wed
May 27 2009
11:13 am

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."

continued...

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

206
like
SnM's picture

Re: pressure

Re: where the pressure is coming from - you might ask nine. he seems to have a pipeline: (link...)

But the Knox GOP might want to be careful, or what happened in Cumberland County could happen here.

knoxrebel's picture

So far, the applicants are

So far, the applicants are Steve Hall, Gary Drinnon, Cindy Butry, Kelvin Moxley, and MacKay. Bob Bowman's a good guy and he won't have any part of railroading Greg. Rather, he took the next logical step (that alot of Dems do not like) to see if there is anyone more qualified than Greg out there. There isn't as of yet. The only applicant who has a snowball's chance other than Greg is Cindy B, as she has let it be known she'd retain Greg if there was an open position on staff. On the other hand, the 3 GOP ECs do not care much for the Convenience Voting route Greg is taking, and that may hurt him in the end. Still, I think there's a fair shot he keeps his job, but it's getting more tenuous every week. If not, we need some good candidates next year and Greg would clean up the Trustee's office.

SnM's picture

Seems the GOP has imported

Seems the GOP has imported an elections commissioner from Florida to toss his hat in the ring. Mackay's in the mix and his lawyer is "exploring other legal options."

R. Neal's picture

They should post the resumes

They should post the resumes online public review.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

And more

Yes, and both Election Commissioners and media should undertake thorough background checks of all candidates.

No more pigs in pokes (i.e., Lockett's candidacy for Law Director, most recently).

Anonymously Nine's picture

The Emperor Wears no Clothes

The Emperor Wears no Clothes, again, Part 47.

Mackay should be removed for cause, not politics.

But the people who want Mackay to stay do so for politics and ignore the record. In fact, they deny with great fury that Mackay has ever made a mistake.

He has done much more than make mistakes. But in a town where there is only one daily paper, and that paper chooses advocacy journalism. People don't know what they don't know.

The record:

Mackay allowed term limited Knox County Commissioners on the ballot in 2006.

Mackay allowed unregistered voters to sign Charter Petitions in 2008.

Mackay allowed more time than allowed by State Law for the certification of Charter Amendment 3 in 2008.

Mackay allowed the one man one vote deal in South Knoxville.

Mackay had a charge in the Farragut Election of not supervising the polling place for campaign material within 100 feet of the voting machines.

Greg Mackay should be removed for cause. There is a problem with the number of complaints and the nature of the complaints.

Of equal concern is the Election Commissions refusal to acknowledged the complaints.

There have been two lawsuits on Mackay's actions on Charter Amendment 3 and a formal complaint in the last election in the Town of Farragut. The two lawsuits were dismissed via a unique interpretation of standing. So far no action has happened on the Farragut complaints.

The The Emperor Wears no Clothes. Again.

So no, Mackay is not being railroaded.

R. Neal's picture

Your unfounded allegations

Your unfounded allegations in this post have been removed once already.

When there's a controversy, the election administrator can only do what's prescribed by law or what they're told by the courts or the Attorney General. You assume to give way more power to the election administrator than state law does. No one person has the authority to "allow term limited" candidates on the ballot or "allow the one man one vote deal" etc.

We are all waiting for specific complaints, lawsuits, etc. that would suggest Mackay hasn't done a good job and/or isn't qualified. To date they haven't materialized, and even the Republican chair of the EC has praised Mackay's performance.

If you don't like the guy, or you think there should be a Republican election administrator, or whatever, just say so. Quit making stuff up.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Play fair R. Neal

Your unfounded allegations in this post have been removed once already.

Good grief R. Neal, I posted only one time in this post. That post is still up. One post. Got it? Like a few others you see me everywhere? I am not responsible for posts I don't make.

We are all waiting for specific complaints, lawsuits, etc. that would suggest Mackay hasn't done a good job and/or isn't qualified. To date they haven't materialized, and even the Republican chair of the EC has praised Mackay's performance.

Two lawsuits filed by respected local attorney David Buuck don't matter?

The Farragut Election complaint remains unanswered.

And yes R. Neal, the Charter Amendment complaints are real. Your point is that at each step State Election Commissioner Brooks Thompson always defended Mackay. Thompson is a Democrat. Thompson's track record speaks for itself.

Call them unfounded, but that is your opinion.

Why has the Farragut complaint gone unanswered? How responsible is that?

I see politics from both sides. The point is that the "deciders" keep saying Mackay has a perfect record. Who elected these deciders?

Word is local attorney Dennis Francis stands ready to file a Federal Lawsuit if Mackay is removed. Again, it is about Mackay's actions, not a letter from the GOP.

I fail to see the difference between Mackay, Ragsdale, or Lockett. Seems that everything is "self-clearing" around here. A lot of people are walking naked.

We clearly see it differently.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Narrate 'em verbatim

Good grief R. Neal, I posted only one time in this post. That post is still up. One post. Got it? Like a few others you see me everywhere? I am not responsible for posts I don't make.

No, Nine. On this thread started 5/21 (below), you posted the exact same list of allegations on 5/24 (just prior to 5:15 pm). Your post is gone, like Randy says, but Scott's 5:15 pm response to your list is still up.

In that response, Scott suggests that all but two of your allegations have already been answered (some in courtrooms), but that you didn't like the answers, so you just keep repeating the accusations.

I suggested essentially as much to you when you tried the same crap at the KNS site. It's what you do.

See--
(link...)

StaceyDiamond's picture

elections

Thinking on this, it should be required to have an even # of Dems and Republicans always instead of the majority gets more on election commissions. Fair elections shouldn't have a partisan majority, and choose the administrator like choosing the head of schools or police. Greg has done a good job. But all that said, do you think if the Dems had been on the outs for 200 years under this system that they wouldn't want to put their guys in. This is another fake outrage, partisan Dems would or would be under pressure to get their guys in just like this.

Rigsby Werner's picture

I hope Mackay has talked to Moncier already, this is right up

his alley and Herb has been around and around with the Election Commission already as they could have prevented a lot of these issues on term limits if they had gone ahead and prevented the term limited people from getting on the ballot.

With the lawyers on the commission, they run the risk of ending up like Billy Lockett being investigated if they violate this man's civil rights and terminate him solely on account of his political affiliation, his age, or his sex as look at the resumes they will receive for this position and their qualifications or their lack of qualifications. I suspect that it will be the same pile of republican resumes they shuffled for a general sessions judgeship and the criminal court clerk's job that were recently filled. Nothing really changes, just the job opening, the salary, the benefits, and the possibilities of a car, maybe.

SnM's picture

"...they run the risk

"...they run the risk of...being investigated if they violate this man's civil rights and terminate him solely on account of his political affiliation..."

seems to be why the specious "for cause" ploy keeps getting trotted out. not that true believers would think it specious.

Anonymously Nine's picture

the partisan snark

seems to be why the specious "for cause" ploy keeps getting trotted out. not that true believers would think it specious.

Who elected you? When did you become the decider?

Did some mouth breathers say something you didn't like?

SnM's picture

Thanks for the sobriquet...

...but I think that gossamer raiment belongs to he who decided Mike Ragsdale and various others weren't GOP enough for the Republican Party. Who made Ray Jenkins and you the GOP Purger and Purifier?

Anonymously Nine's picture

Utoh

Put your cape on Snarkman, there is evil in this world. Partisan evil. Fly thee to Nashville and save the day.

(link...)

Avenge them with your mighty snark.

That was a little snarky wasn't it? Want me to pinch hit for you when you go on summer vacation? Jack won't mind.

metulj's picture

"Want me to pinch hit for

"Want me to pinch hit for you when you go on summer vacation? "

You have to be funny, coherent, and a good writer. So, I am guessing ... no.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

SnM's picture

Thanks for the offer.

If Snarkman ever desires a sidekick, your offer to be Little Snarky will be duly considered.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Hmmm

Would that be Snarkboy or Robin?

There are costume considerations to be considered.

Rigsby Werner's picture

What if Mackay went Specter and joined the GOP? Issues solved?

Not that I would recommend it, but what if Mackay boned up and joined the local GOP, registered as a 'Publican, donated to the Haslam for guvnuh campaign, and dropped a contribution to some Repubican PAC administered by Fred Thompson? Do the wolves continue to howl, they've got their 'Publican election commish, exactly what they wanted.

Somebody's probably already wearing a wire and every meeting will be taped and transcribed for future proceedings.

I doubt there is an identified reason for replacing Mackay other than the fact that he is a D'crat, otherwise he would have been written up time and time again.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

We don't register as such

But we don't register by political party here in TN, Rigsby. Our party leanings are evident only through our voting history, especially in primary elections.

Too late for Greg to quickly alter that record--even if he cared to.

Rachel's picture

I'm not at all sure

I'm not at all sure "railroading" is involved. The County GOP seems to be divided. Reviewing resumes might be a way to find somebody to replace Mackay. It might also be a way for the Rs on the EC to say "we looked at others but Greg is most qualified."

We'll just have to wait for developments.

And #9, are you actually suggesting that you'd like to run around Knox County in a Robin costume? Cause if so, I'll be happy to pay for the costume.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Cumberland County

I imagine MacKay's lawyer and the Election commission are paying attention to the situation in Cumberland County where the ousted commissioner is suing for $4 million based on the TN constitution and violation of sunshine laws.

(link...)

_______________________________________
There MUST be a pony in here somewhere!

KC's picture

who decided Mike Ragsdale

who decided Mike Ragsdale and various others weren't GOP enough for the Republican Party

Yeah, or it could be based on those old political values of revenge and payback for some who have sent in their resumes.

While politics always plays a role in elected offices, a question that should be asked is why someone who is as partisan as Hall or Moxley should be even considered for such an objective and critical position such as this one.

Mackay hasn't done a good job, he's done a great job in light of all the nonsense that has taken place in this county.

smalc's picture

A similar thing happened in

A similar thing happened in Loudon County. After the election commission went to 3 repubs/2 dems their first order of business was to remove the administrator and replace her with a republican. When I say first order of business, I mean immediately after being sworn in.

Anonymously Ate Nine's picture

Interesting info

I really don't understand how the GOP isn't setting themselves up for a McKay lawsuit? When they are dumb enough to put it in a letter to the entire party spelling out exactly what the AG's opinion advised against doing (kicking someone out based on party) then saying 'must have consequences'. Personally, I'm sick of my tax dollars paying for these idiots stupid lawsuits. I consider myself bi-partisian. In the last election, I voted for both democrats and republicans. I tend to vote in the republican primaries, because there's not as many heated races in the dem primaries, but I always vote for the candidate. Personally, I think McKay has done a fine job. I don't agree with everything 100%, but I don't think I can find a single elected or appointed official where I 100% agree. In that office, I couldn't really care less if he's a republican or a democrat as long as the guy is fair and honest and doing a good job. I don't have a heartfelt mission to keep him either. If there is someone more qualified,so be it. But this whole back and forth thing between the two parties and really the 2 factions of the GOP is just ridiculous. and if the idiots do kick him out based on that dumbass letter and he brings a lawsuit that costs the county more of my tax-dollars, I am personally finding the head of the GOP party chairman's house and taking a shit on his front porch.

B Harmon's picture

Okay, I'll bite...

I consider myself bi-partisian. In the last election, I voted for both democrats and republicans.

Forgive me, but I find this hard to believe. Please tell us which democrat(s) you voted for in the last election.

Ate Nine's picture

democrat

tyree over jones. Anyday. and Finbarr Saunders.

Nobody's picture

Where is this letter? I

Where is this letter? I have heard about it, but didn't receive one. Does anyone know where it is posted?

R. Neal's picture

If you're talking about the

If you're talking about the KNOXGOP letter, here's some stuff about it at the KNOXGOP website:

(link...)

knoxrebel's picture

As far as MacKay being

As far as MacKay being legitimately removed "for cause," that's pretty stupid. I sued the guy in 2008 because he refused to put a candidate on the ballot. The Tennessee Supreme Court had held in a recent case that Election Administrators cannot perform discretionary duties. They are ministerial officers and all they can really do is just that, administer an election. They can't "investigate" and they can't exclude an otherwise qualified person or measure from the ballot. So, the court issued a bench opinion explaining that reasoning and reversed Greg, forcing him to put the candidate (a Democrat, by the way) on the ballot. But even though I was forced to file the lawsuit, I still think Greg has been a solid Administrator and it appears no one as qualified, much less more qualified, has stepped up. The majority of these things 9 has accused Greg of doing he had absolutely no control over, whether they occurred or not.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Just a thought...

The Tennessee Supreme Court had held in a recent case that Election Administrators cannot perform discretionary duties. They are ministerial officers and all they can really do is just that, administer an election. They can't "investigate" and they can't exclude an otherwise qualified person or measure from the ballot.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has also defined residency, right down to where a candidate showers.

The only reason no one chose to pick up copies of your brother's water bills is because that was the SECOND time you and he had pulled that stunt, so neither of you had a shred of credibility left going into the race, anyway.

If you had any service ethic at all, you'd be working to correct this shortcoming in the statute rather than trying to work it to your advantage.

And if you had an ounce of sense, you'd shut up about it altogether.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Yeah, right...

And if you had an ounce of sense, you'd shut up about it altogether.

So spoke the partisan apologist.

Dwight's job is still safe. You lack the fine nuances.

knoxrebel's picture

Tamara, you don't know what you're talking about

Tamara, first of all, I don't even know you. Second, you pretend to know what you're talking about, but our argument was actually that the Charter residency requirement was trumped by the state statute which provides that county commission candidates do not need to meet a one-year residency requirement. We also argued that the requirement was unconstitutional anyway. And someone DID pick up copies of Leon's utility bills. If you had attended either hearing, as I did, you'd have known that. And my point was that Greg can't be held responsible for something for which he legally is not responsible. As to why you went off subject . . . . And the STUNT, as you call it, was that the law was actually on our side and that's why both times the courts - first a Republican judge and then a Democrat judge - ruled in our favor. Credibility? Let's not get personal or we'll start discussing your own past habits. Shall we? And it's been argued many times, by family and friends and enemies alike, that I don't have a half-ounce of sense, that's why I ran for Democratic Party Chair.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

I can't hear you

Your arguments were never heard by the chancellor, so you need not tout them to me, either.

Instead, your issue was decided solely on the basis of this inconsistent verbiage I reference, between the statute outlining the State Election Coordinator's duties and the statute outlining the Local Election Administrator's duties. In your case, as in some others preceding it, you successfully played on an omission in the statute pertaining to the latter.

Here is the statute outlining the State Election Coordinator's duties (emphasis mine):

TCA 2-11-202. Duties of coordinator — Examination and certification of administrators of elections—
(12) Ensure that all election commissions within the state shall prohibit any person from becoming qualified to have such person's name placed on any ballot wherein such person is seeking to be nominated or elected to an office for which such person is ineligible or to more than one (1) state legislative office, as described in § 2-13-202, voted on by voters during any primary or general election.

However, an error of omission exists in the parallel statute outlining the Local Election Administrator’s duties, TCA 2-12-201. It does not repeat this duty of the LEA to prohibit ineligible persons like your brother from becoming qualified.

You might have worked to advance that concern to our legislators (especially since it enabled the recent "one-man-one-vote" measure on our local ballot), but you chose to use the glitch to your personal benefit, instead. You passed the cost of your legal frivolity on to the taxpayers, too.

This is the penalty in statute for what your brother did, as indicated just below the line he signed on his qualifying petition:

TCA 2-19-105 False swearing or affirming—
A person to whom an oath is legally administered under this title commits perjury if such person knowingly and willfully swears or affirms falsely touching a matter material to the point in question.

This is the penalty in statute for what you did:

TCA 2-19-106 Procurement or inducement to violate ss 2-19-104 or ss 2-19-105—
A person who procures or induces another to violate either ss 2-19-104 or ss 2-19-105 commits a Class D felony.

I know quite a bit on this subject, but feel free to check me here:

(link...)

The only reason that someone who picked up your brother's water bill wasn't effective is because s/he didn't attach it to a lawsuit against you on the above grounds.

If you ever try this same crap in my district, you’ll meet me in a courtroom. And I know to what I should attach that bill.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Tutorial

Should knoxrebel and his band of roving politicians transgress on your district, here is some brief instruction on how to counter them:

Your lawsuit should take a quo warranto form, naming knox's nomadic candidate specifically and not naming the Election Commission, and applying that first statute above. (See a fuller definition of terminology here (link...).)

This form causes knox's nomadic candidate to have to answer personally as to why s/he claims any authority to hold the office in question.

This form also circumvents the need for you to make any assertion that the Local Election Administrator failed to qualify knox's nomadic candidate, as you're aware of the glitch in statute there. Just don't go there.

And, because you neither name nor blame the Election Commission for knox's nomadic candidate, this form also causes legal costs to be born by that candidate, as s/he should bear them, and not by the Election Commission.

You should also present yourself in the lawsuit as a "relater to the state," or a messenger of sorts.

In doing so, the state's legal representative, namely the local District Attorney General, becomes your co-plaintiff. S/he appears as such on your complaint and, more importantly, at your side in the courtroom.

S/he can't escape appearing at your side in the courtroom. If your lawsuit has merit, and it will, the local District Attorney is obligated to help you advance your protest against knox's nomadic candidate's presumptive claim to office.

You know, of course, that our charter's residency requirement is not trumped by statute--and any local chancellor suffering knox's argument to the contrary will certainly be familiar with both the Bailey and the Jordan decisions, too, so don't sweat it.

This claim of knox's that our charter's length of residency requirement is somehow unconstitutional is a secret known only to him, or else he just missed a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that not only upholds it, but defines it, as well.

I'm afraid you'll have to go after knox separately, applying that second statute above. With any luck, though, he will have run another relative for whom he also formed a PAC. Your task of proving him a Class D felon will be all the simpler if he again supplies for you all the materials you will need to lock him away.

You're fairly well-armed already, then, and feeling more confident that you don't need to put up with his crap.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Interpretation, is not law

The majority of these things 9 has accused Greg of doing he had absolutely no control over, whether they occurred or not.

Mackay had absolute control over the compliant in the Farragut Election.

He had control over the decision to allow unregistered voters to sign Charter Petitions.

He had control over the decision to allow extra time on the Charter Amendment 3.

Mackay did ask for an opinion from Brooks Thompson on:

Allowing term limited Knox County Commissioners on the ballot in 2006.

Allowing the one man one vote deal in South Knoxville.

I had forgotten about your complaint KnoxRebel. It was significant. There is another complaint I cannot remember also.

What gets me is the defense of Mackay. It seems more partisan than the alleged partisan charges about the Republicans.

I do believe this should be about his record not his party affiliation.

His record requires inspection.

adanovi's picture

Petitions and Voters

You have made at least one completely uneducated and inexperienced comment on here.

ANYONE can sign a petition. Then once the petition is turned in, those signatures are cross referenced against the voter file. Yes, there are always people who sign petitions who: 1) don't live in the district where the petition is applicable or 2) are not registered to vote in the district where the petition is applicable.

Volunteers collect petition signatures for issues, candidates and referendums and the election commission cross checks each signature for a valid voter that lives where the petition is applicable.

It was not the job of the petition volunteers for the charter amendment (or any other petition) to verify registration eligibility but if they come across someone who CLAIMS to be a registered voter, they can aquire their signature and verify it later. THAT is how petitions work and that is why you get more signatures than are required! So, why don't you stop using that ignorant argument against Greg McKay.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Registering voters concurrent w/ collecting sigs on petitions

Adonavi, the controversy Nine referred to was that KCP volunteers were registering voters concurrent with collecting their sigs on petitions.

If I remember correctly, Jim Murphy, the State Election Commission's counsel, advised against allowing KCP to do this, but Greg made a determination that other organizations previously involved in local petition drives had done it, so he allowed KCP to do it, too. (It seems like there was some other rationale for Greg allowing this, as well, but I can't recall what it was...)

Anyway, that's what Nine was talking about.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Really?

You have made at least one completely uneducated and inexperienced comment on here.

(link...)

What do these words mean to you?

YOU ARE NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE UNTIL YOU RECEIVE A VOTER REGISTRATION CARD.

It means what it says. Mackay did not have the authority to over ride State Law. There is no "instant" voter registration in Tennessee. Two law suits were filed over this. Each dismissed by an obscure interpretation of standing which said only one person in Knox County had standing.

The idea it was done in the past makes it that much worse. Bad enough to be wrong once, Mackay was wrong twice.

adanovi's picture

stand corrected

Okay, I stand corrected. I thought you were talking about people who were thought to be eligible voters already registered but turned out to be inelgible, but you were talking about something else. I don't know enough about it to have an opinion on that particular subject.

Bbeanster's picture

Resume inflation?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Not quite

Absentee Ballot Coordinator Bob Bartelsmeyer said the idea is to give voters a chance to deliver their absentee ballots after regular hours.

Sounds to me like he's a promotion or two away from Local Election Administrator...

KC's picture

Removing someone who's on

Removing someone who's on the other side is always for cause and removing someone from your side is always politics.

We all know this. Has Mackay done a perfect job? Has anyone? Ever?

Again I think Mackay has done a great job in a turbulent political sea of hurricane proportions.

Pleasing to everyone? No. But in politics and government, I don't think that's grounds for removal.

SnM's picture

bbeanster makes a case

The case for Greg Mackay

It’s not like the Democrats did a great job of running the Knox County Election Commission. When I started covering county government for the daily Knoxville Journal in 1987, trying to figure out how the election commission worked was one of the hardest things about my new job. Figuring out why was even harder.

(link...)

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