Ownby censure placed on May 28 meeting agenda

Ownby censure placed on May 28 meeting agenda


6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Commissioners voted to consider censuring one of their own at their next meeting.

On Monday afternoon, Commissioner Mike Hammond offered a motion for Commission to consider a censure of Jeff Ownby.

Commissioners voted to put the item on the agenda for its May 28 meeting.

Chairman Tony Norman voted "no," while Commissioners Amy Broyles and Dave Wright passed on the vote.

Ownby, 45, was arrested last May at Sharps Ridge Memorial Park during a police surveillance operation.

Officers say they saw Ownby having oral sex with another man at the park.  

Earlier this month, Ownby pleaded no contest and was ordered to make a public apology, which would be recorded in the county commission's minutes.

Hammond says he proposed the censure as a statement that commission did not approve of Ownby's actions.

Hammond added that since Ownby violated the law, he also violated the oath of office.

"It wasn't unanimous, but the majority of commission agreed that we needed to send a message to Commissioner Ownby that we did not approve of his action, and this censure will go on his permanent record as a county commissioner," said Commissioner Hammond.

Knox County Law Director Bud Armstrong says a censure has no legal significance, adding, "It's just saying that commission disapproved of his action."

The censure was requested after Ownby asked to enter his apology into the commission minutes for next week.

Ownby isn't legally obligated to read the apology to commission, since it is entered in commission minutes.

Ownby tells 6 News he will not plan on reading his apology next week.

Ownby wouldn't comment further on the censure.

In 2009, the Knox County Commission censured Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert for his behavior at meetings of the Ridge, Slope and Hillside Development Task Force.


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