Knox Co. citizen wants commissioners to make appointments now

By: Rob Pratt
By: Rob Pratt

Knoxville (WVLT) - Do you have the same representation on Knox County Commission as your friends and neighbors? Some citizens say not everyone does, and they're asking a county judge to change that right away. Since a ruling in October, 12, commission seats have been vacant, leaving district four without any representation at all.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt has the latest on what the citizens are trying to do.

One of the citizens, who happens to be a lawyer, filed this motion, asking Chancellor Daryl Fansler to order the commission to act now to make appointments.

Waiting is a part of life for all of us, but when you live in a democracy, you expect to have representation.

"We want the process to start moving now," attorney Christopher Cain said.

Attorney Christopher Cain, a fourth district resident with no commissioner to call his own, is one of three citizens who filed a motion. He's asking the judge who ordered the previous appointments invalid because of Sunshine Law violations to order the eleven remaining commissioners to appoint more commissioners now.

"I am just concerned with the idea that we're waiting until at least February as it is now, and what's to say when February rolls around, the county commissioners doesn't say let's just put this off again and we'll just have elections in August," Cain said.

"We're uncertain of the impact of this motion," Knox County Law Director John Owings said.

County Law Director John Owings says the commission has a plan to appoint commissioners February 20th. They would serve until the general election in August. He says that plan may be the quickest option. Still, he says he understands the frustration.

"I've heard some persons in the fourth district suggest if they have concerns they'll come to the meeting, but they can certainly express their concerns to any official, to any county commissioner," Owings said.

"I don't think most commissioners from other districts are receptive to calls from their non-constituents," Cain said.

Either way, the waiting will eventually end. Though most agree it feels like there's no end in sight.

Chancellor Fansler has not yet set a date for a hearing on this motion. Those who filed the motion want to make it clear that they still want the public to have input, no matter when the commission does the appointments.


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