Lawmakers Push Special Elections to Avoid Knox Co. Problems

AP

NASHVILLE (AP) - Legislators hoping other local governments can avoid recent chaos experienced by Knox County want to require special elections rather than appointments for filling multiple vacancies on a county commission.

Sen. Tim Burchett, a Knoxville Republican, says he doesn't want other counties to go through the same trouble.

A dozen appointments by the Knox County Commission to fill term-limited vacancies were thrown out last fall for backroom deal-making and violations of the state Open Meetings Act.

Under a bill sponsored by Burchett and proposed by Knox County Commissioner Mark Harmon, a special election would be required when two or more vacancies occur simultaneously on a county commission and the next general election is more than 12 months away.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee unanimously approved the bill on Tuesday and sent it to full Senate for consideration. A House version sponsored by Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, is pending.

The Senate bill is SB3893 and the House bill is HB3969.

Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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