Randy Tyree says he plans to file a formal complaint with the Merit System Council regarding the "use of uniformed and classified employees on the campaign website of his opponent, J.J. Jones, the interim sheriff."

According to a press release, Tyree alleges that:

Jones has violated Knox County Ordinance No. O-90-9-111, as amended, which created and established a merit system for employees of the Knox County Sheriff’s Department and the Policies and Procedures of the Knox County Sheriff’s Merit System Council and has violated, caused to be violated or permitted the violation of Section 42-64 of the Knox County Code, as well as the Policies and Procedures of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Merit System Council.

The website contains the images of some 14 employees who are protected under the Merit System and are not to appear on behalf of a political candidate while in uniform and/or on duty.

Jones’ campaign website also features the use of Knox County Sheriff’s Department patrol cars, aircraft (helicopter) badges, logos and police radios.

Tyree asked his opponent on July 16 to remove the images that were a violation of Merit Council’s policies, and Jones’ response was to avoid the question of whether or not the images were allowed. He directed Tyree to file a complaint.

"It is instructive that the interim sheriff won’t do the right thing and maintains his political position," Tyree said. "These are the same tactics employed by Tim Hutchison, the man most responsible for Jones being appointed to the office.

"The employees of the sheriff’s department are to be protected from politics on the part of the sitting sheriff. They are not to be used or their images misconstrued for political activities."

Tyree will hold a press conference on Thursday at 11 a.m. in front of the City County Building to discuss the matter.


J.J. Jones website
Randy Tyree website

Observation: Jones certainly has a slick website. That must have cost a bundle. Good thing he's raising so much money from the local GOP elite. It also has a whole page dedicated to attacks on Tyree, based mainly on stuff dragged up from 25 years ago. Sounds like Jones is worried.

CBT's picture

"Good thing he's raising so

"Good thing he's raising so much money from the local GOP elite."

Gee Randy, don't limit Sheriff Jones. He's raised a lot of money from some of the Democrat elite too. Attorneys in the DA's office, support from Randy Nichols and other prominent Democrats. Jones popularity crosses party lines.

Photos on a website. Geez, sounds like grasping at straws and trying to 'earn' some media attention. My guess is Jones has a good bit left to spend and you'll see the evidence of it over the next few weeks.

Rachel's picture

So, CBT, do you think it's

So, CBT, do you think it's ok for Jones to use those pics? To tell the truth, I was thinking he was ok, but his use of those pics and then his refusal to remove them is making me think twice.

Knoxquerious's picture

Nitpicky or not, rules are

Nitpicky or not, merit system rules are there for a reason. I have yet to hear ANYONE, including JJ or Tim, deny that any rule was broken. How can you take politics out of the office if you rally a clan together to appear in a campaign commercials?

Nitpick or not. Is it legal, yes or no?

RayCapps's picture



No matter who you're backing for sherriff, you have to acknowledge that February's primary spoke volumes about the limited value of money in an election where people have their backs up. If you need a refresher on that, consult Lee Trammell.

Money, merit system, experience, name recognition, party affiliation... these are all factors in a normal election. This time around, though, it's all about whether or not the populace is still ticked off at county government. If the attitudes are the same as they were in February, Jones is toast. If folks have cooled off a little, he's a shoo-in. I don't know which way that wind is blowing. Do you?

I know Jones is the choice of all the Powers That Be (the local daily, televsion stations, elected officials, developers, and the well connected). But the last time the folks of Knox County went to the polling booths, they gave the Powers That Be the middle finger.

Anonymous's picture

Jones ain't desperate or skerred

he is going to give Tyree the butt whipping he deserves. The Jones campaign has to go back 25 years. That is the last time Tyree had legitimate work.

CBT's picture

There's no question this

There's no question this could be an election where all the traditional rules go out the window (money, name recog., etc.). The primary was certainly that. How else can you explain Vandergriff's pick by the Democrats? Jones can't take this election for granted (and apparently he isn't).

What I think is wrong-headed is choosing a person based on protest and not qualifications. There are a few races on the ballot where inexperienced and less qualified people could be elected. That would set county government back even further.

Term limits, more oversight of fee offices and (maybe) civil service protection will change the courthouse. Making change for the sake of change, without regard to qualifications, is not the answer.

Rachel, since it's Merit Council rules which are at issue, I'll let them decide if the photos are a violation.

Anonymous's picture

Maybe someone should go back

Maybe someone should go back 25 years into JJ's past and see what he is hiding. Word is he has a few felons and/or family of felons,on his contribution list. Seems that may have been passed down from the past.

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