Wilkerson risks school board ouster

Friday, December 12, 2008

If convicted, an elected county official -- who's due in court next week on a DUI charge -- could face ouster proceedings and possibly loss of his seat on the school board.

Mark E. Wilkerson, 43, of Caney Creek Lane, Chapel Hill, was arrested at about 1 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, by Sheriff's Deputy Tony Nichols who charged him with driving under the influence of an intoxicant and violation of the implied consent law, according to public records.

Wilkerson, who's scheduled to face Marshall County General Sessions Court Judge Steve Bowden on Tuesday, Dec. 16, was charged after performing poorly on field sobriety tests administered by Nichols and refusing to permit a blood alcohol test, the arrest report states.

Since Wilkerson was charged, the Marshall County Tribune has been advised of a state law that would appear to apply to him in this situation.

"Any county officialůmay be ousted forůvoluntary intoxication in a public place," Tennessee Code Annotated 8-47-101 states.

However, application of the law requires a decision by some other officials or a minimum number of "citizens," according to the state law.

It specifies that an ouster proceeding may be instigated by the district attorney or the county attorney, or a petition for an ouster may be filed by 10 or more citizens.

"Upon request of the citizens, the ů district attorney or the county attorney must assist the citizens in prosecuting the proceedings," T.C.A. 8-47-111 states.

Sheriff's Deputy Tony Nichols stopped Wilkerson's white Cadillac after he observed Wilkerson driving in an erratic manner on U.S. Highway 431.

Wilkerson won a three-way race for the District 2 School Board seat in the August election with nearly 48 percent of the vote.

Six years earlier, Wilkerson won a seat to represent District 2 on the County Commission, but lost his campaign for re-election in 2006, when he received 193 votes, compared to winners Ernest W. Hill (315) and Rocky Bowden (236) in a race with five candidates.