Knox County commissioners file suit to stay on ballot

Knox County commissioners file suit to stay on ballot

April 19, 2006

By JEFF LENNOX
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Five Knox County commissioners filed suit Wednesday to stay on the August general election ballot.

The suit was filed on behalf of Diane Jordan, David Collins, Billy Tindell, Phil Guthe and John Griess. Each has served at least two four year terms since 1994.

Almost 80 percent of voters were voted in favor of the charter change creating term limits in 1990.

The commissioners' lawsuit challenges the validity of the Knox County charter.

That charter gives Knox County voters the authority to limit elected officials to two terms, under a ruling by the state Supreme Court in March.

The five commissioners argue Knox County did not properly enact the charter approved in 1990 that led to the term limits vote. So, they argue, it's now invalid.

The commissioners are concerned if the issue isn't clarified, the county will remove their names from the August ballot. If that happens, their political parties would choose new candidates to run.

Commissioner David Collins says this disenfranchises the voters. "All that we are trying to do is understand what the law is and make sure that everything that the voters have passed in the past is in compliance with the law."

"What we hope the voters understand is, we are trying to make this whole process clearer and bring some final closure to this whole issue," he adds. "If the final outcome is yes the term limits uphold and the charter is valid, then I am fine with that. And if that means I can't serve anymore, then I'm fine with that."

Twelve Knox County commissioners, currently on the May 2 primary ballot, are ineligible for office again.

The general election is on August 3.

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