UPDATE: Open Meeting's Lawsuit

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) A couple of Knox County commissioners disagree as to whether pre-cut, backroom deals made a public vote a little more than a rubber stamp for replacing its termed limited sheriff, three other county-wide officers and eight county commissioners.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd has more on a week of testimony in the open meeting's lawsuit.

A citizen's group and the editor of the News Sentinel claimed that the public vote broke Tennessee's open meeting law in both letter and spirit.

Commissioner Mark Harmon agrees and told jurors that at least five times today in responding to leading questions.

He says his first hunch of fixed for a deal came when he found that he had been counted as signing onto a call for a special meeting.

He says he merely told commission staff he'd be available to attend.

He says he believes commission members gave short stick to having voters chose replacements in a special election or even to consider a straw poll.

And that he was surprised to learn that Josh Jordan hadn't even submitted a resume to fill his step-mother's commission seat.

He says he found a phone call from another commissioner that the vacant seat in his own district likely go to Chuck Bolus, the campaign treasurer for the commission chairman even though Bolus wasn't Harmon's first choice nor that of the man he would replace.

Commissioner Paul Pinkston and his term limited counterpart say the didn't want anybody outside their district determining who would fill the vacant seat but they devised their own method for giving voters a say.

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