State AG to ‘intervene’ in Charter Commission lawsuit

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Tennessee Attorney General

The State of Tennessee has issued notice that they intend to intervene in a lawsuit filed last year over the actions, or non-actions, of the Anderson County Charter Commission.

Eight people were elected in November of 2016 to serve on the Charter Commission, which was charged with examining the structure of county government, drafting a charter and then submitting it to the citizens through a referendum to determine if the voters wanted to adopt it.

The Charter Commission concluded its work in February of last year, voting unanimously in its final meeting to recommend no changes to the current form of government and that no charter be drafted.

The Charter Commission, chaired by former Schools Director V.L. Stonecipher, heard reports from all county department heads and elected officials and sought input from the public as it worked to determine if a charter form of government was needed.

In a supporting document explaining the Charter Commission’s recommendation–or lack thereof–member Steve Mead wrote that “while possible advantages of changing to a Charter form of government have been discussed in some detail, not a single person (including those who spearheaded the petition drive) have appeared (or written) [who] supported changing from the existing constitutional form of county government.”

Mead also wrote that “It is recognized that this action is breaking new ground in Tennessee law and that the State (or the Courts) could require further response by this Commission.”

Last fall, one of the people who spearheaded the effort for a charter form of government, Mark DeVol, and a former member of the Charter Commission David Stanley, sued the Charter Commission as a whole as well as its individual members, arguing that the panel had neglected its duty by not drafting a charter for voters to decide upon. That case is still pending in Anderson County Chancery Court.

DeVol’s lawsuit states that the Charter Commission violated state law, stating that, “Tennessee Code Annotated 5-1-201 requires charter commissions to ‘prepare and file a charter proposed by it within nine months after the date of its initial meeting or within such extended period of time as may be authorized by resolution of the legislative body of the county.”

The county has filed a response challenging the constitutionality of that statute. WYSH has reached out to County Law Director Jay Yeager to see exactly which part of the statute is allegedly unconstitutional and will update you when we receive an answer to that question.

Late last month, March 27th, the state Attorney General served notice to the county that the AG will “intervene” in the case to defend the constitutionality of the law.

We will continue to follow this story for you and update you as we get answers to our various questions.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

Check Also

The Kingston Police Department Joins Statewide “Click It or Ticket” Campaign

As summer begins and families set out on vacations, the Kingston Police Department is teaming …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.