This week, the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a summary judgement in
the lawsuit filed by Ron Young against Clinton City Councilman ET Stamey
challenging the results of the November 2018 election.
Young’s lawsuit, filed in November of 2018–after the election had been held–alleged that because Stamey, who is employed as the Athletic Director for the Clinton City school system, was ineligible to serve on the Council because the city charter stipulates that city employees cannot serve on the City Council due to potential conflicts of interest. Stamey has been on the City Council since 2010 and was hired by the schools as an “at-will” employee in 2017.
Stamey argued that because the city school system approves and manages its own budget, without the need for Council approval, that he is in fact, not an employee of the city of Clinton.
After hearing oral
arguments from both sides and reviewing the material
submitted by the attorneys in the case, Chancellor Nichole Cantrell in April of
2019 ruled that, based upon statutes and case law that while the city’s
legislative body may have established the school system, it is run
autonomously and separately from the rest of the city government–complete
with its own legislative body (the Board of Education) and director.
With that, Chancellor
Cantrell ruled in favor of Stamey, dismissing Young’s
claim against not only the Councilman, but also his claim against the
Anderson County Election Commission, as the summary judgement granted
last year covered all aspects of the complaint. The suit had also asked the
court to issue an order to permanently prevent the Election Commission
from approving any ballot for the city of Clinton that includes municipal
The Appeals Court also
rejected Young’s assertion that the Election
Commission should have waited to certify the results of the election until the
matter was decided in the courts, with Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
writing, “Our General Assembly has not seen fit to bestow upon election
commissions the discretion to refrain from certifying election winners on the
basis of tardy challenges in the candidate’s qualifications.” The ruling also
states that “this is true irrespective of when—after the election the
Commission received notice of a potential issue with Stamey’s