Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tennessee Judge removes 12 Elected Officials from Office

The Open Meetings Act requires elected officials to conduct government business openly, in front of the people. Over the years, government officials meeting in secret has caused numerous problems across the nation.

For instance, in Knox County Tennessee, The Knoxville Sentinel sued Knox County Commissioners when they filled 12 positions, including vacancies for eight commissioners and four countywide officers, (including the sheriff) behind closed doors. Tennessee sunshine laws require that political appointments be made in public.

Author Duncan Mansfield tells readers, "The vacancies arose because of a Jan. 12 ruling by the state Supreme Court, which upheld term limits prohibiting county officeholders from serving more than two consecutive four-year terms. All 12 of the officials had exceeded that, including some re-elected only a few months before."

Based on the jury verdict, Judge Daryl Fansler threw all 12 appointed officials out of office on Oct. 5, 2007. "The judge didn't tell commissioners how to fill the vacancies, but he warned that they could be jailed up to 10 days for each violation if they break the law again."

Duncan Mansfield's article:
State of Tennessee Open Meetings Act:

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