Sumners' seat to remain unfilled until election

Friday, May 30, 2014

By Karen Hall


Applicants had been invited for the seat on the County Commission left vacant by the resignation of Tom Sumners. When it came time to choose one at this month's meeting, however, Commissioner Dean Delk moved not to fill the position, and the motion passed 14-2. (Commissioner Sheldon Davis was absent.)

Later Commission Chairman Nathan Johnson explained that because Sumners resigned within 120 days of the election, the commission was not required to fill the vacancy. Johnson thought it would be more fair to let the voters decide, rather than give one of the applicants an advantage by making him the incumbent.

Rules were suspended so that a resolution to re-appoint Catherine Brooks as budget director for another year could be voted on.

"Why is this on the fast track?" asked Commissioner Don Ledford.

"It's always been done at this (May) meeting," replied Johnson. "I'm not considering it fast track. We need it done before we meet again."

"The audit committee has some serious concerns," said Ledford, referring to the state audit in March, which had 20 "findings and recommendations."

"I thought the budget committee had the authority to hire and fire," said Commissioner Rocky Bowden.

"They made the recommendation, and the commission is required to vote on it each year," explained Johnson.

The vote to retain Brooks as budget director was 14-2, with Ledford and Commissioner Richard Hill casting the "No" votes.

In other business, Extension Agent Rick Skillington announced a tour for commissioners of the Nash family's new mega-dairy near Chapel Hill next month.

He said no one needed to worry about getting their shoes dirty since plastic boot covers will be provided as a bio-security measure.

"It's a pretty impressive operation they've got," said Skillington. "They will be milking 1,200 to 1,500 cows."

Also in the Chapel Hill area, Chris White and Tony Shankle were granted permission to re-zone another acre of their property on Highway 270 from agricultural to commercial for their Strategic Edge shooting range.

"We're very proud of it," Shankle told commissioners. "We're bringing 300 to 400 people to that end of the county every week. We've got lots of family memberships; people are really thrilled with it."

He went on to say that the state inspectors told him it was the best range they inspected, and the City of Murfreesboro had a contract with them to train their police officers.

A public hearing on the re-zoning request was held before the Commission meeting, but there were no negative comments heard.