400 petition against Smith's appointment to school board

Friday, February 25, 2011

As Marshall County commissioners are receiving petitions against a Cornersville farmer's bid to be appointed to the school board, the applicant is being philosophical about the vote set for Monday night in the County Courthouse Annex.

"I am looking forward to attending the commission meeting on the 28th" of February, Sam Smith of Cornersville said in an e-mail one week before the monthly commission meeting. "I hope it turns out well for me but if it doesn't it won't be the end of the world."

Nearly 400 people signed the petition circulated throughout Marshall County. A cursory review Thursday afternoon indicated that 300 signatures are from District 4 residents.

Smith is a former county commission chairman. He resigned to avoid a conflict of interest when he sold a landfill company an option to buy farmland for a new landfill that's not going to be developed at Cornersville.

Notable signatures on the petition against Smith returning to public service include Cornersville Alderwoman Doris Arthur, Commissioner Mickey King, former Commissioner Wilford "Spider" Wentzel and long-time notable Cornersville-area residents Tommy Upton and Buddy London.

Former School Board Chairman Jerry Campbell of McDaniel Hollow Road at Cornersville is the other prospective successor for Dee Dee Owens who's resigned from the board.

"Mr. Campbell is a friend of mine and well qualified," Smith said. "The main thing is the 4th District will be well represented by whomever is appointed."

Meanwhile, commissioners will be asked during their 6 p.m. Monday meeting to approve an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for repair of a bridge over Duck River on the Franklin Highway.

Several county officials had said the agreement included a requirement that the county pay for traffic signals required when the bridge is reduced to one lane for traffic.

"That's what they're asking, but we're not going to pay for it," Commission Chairman Tom Sumners said recently. "The state will. That's the way I understand it.

"It was discussed and then again and the state changed its mind," he said.

The bridge is on a U.S. highway and Sumners called it a "long stand bridge."

At least one observer looked under the bridge recently and saw that pieces had been falling off the bottom of the bridge, the commission chairman said.

"Plus, it needs widening," he said.

Work on that bridge might be likened to recently completed improvements for the bridge over the Duck River on the north side of Henry Horton State Park.

Staff writers Clint Confehr and Karen Hall collaborated on this story.