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.
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.
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