Knox County puts backroom deals in past

Knox County Seal

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Maybe it was the expensive lobster lunch. The questionable federal grants. The collective amnesia about term limits. The blatant nepotism.

Knox County voters turned out in record numbers -- more than any other county in Tennessee -- in the Super Tuesday primaries on Feb. 5, and it had little to do with the presidential race. The issue was county government, and the public was growing weary of business as usual in this eastern Tennessee county of 400,000.

The primaries and last week's temporary appointments of eight new faces to the Knox County Commission may mark the end of that perception.

Still, the turnaround may not be fully realized until the August general election when full-term commissioners will be chosen and a nine-question referendum may be on the ballot to ban nepotism, cronyism and self-interest in county government that has run rampant in Knox County.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)