Tuesday, April 5, 2011

District 4 Vacancy

As discussed previously, Commissioner Polen has resigned.
District 4 now has one vacancy. Many folks have asked how and when the processes will take place to fill this vacancy.
The Robertson County Commission received the following letter from County Clerk Susan Atchley to County Mayor Bradley. Mayor Bradley had requested a letter detailing the processes for announcement to the public. For your consideration, here it is pertinent part:
Shannon Polen has resigned his seat as Robertson County Commissioner of the 4th district as of Monday, April 4th.   Polen resignation was received at the County Mayor’s Office on April 4, 2011 via fax at 4:15 P.M. (Please fax copy to file)
The procedure to fill the vacancy per Tennessee County government handbook 2010 are: “Should any office need to be filled, or a vacancy occur in any office required to be filled by the county legislative body, the county clerk, or if there is no county clerk, the county clerk’s deputy, or if there is no county clerk or deputy county clerk, the acting chair of the county legislative body to assemble at the courthouse in order to fill the office or vacancy. T.C.A. § 5-5-113. This notice to inform county commissioners for the purpose of filling an office or vacancy may be for a special meeting or for action to fill an office to be help in conjunction with a regular meeting. When a meeting is to be held to fill an office or vacancy, the chair of the county legislative body is required to give public notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least one week before the meeting, specifying the offices to be filled at that meeting.  T.C.A. § 5-5-114.”
Each Commissioner will receive a letter that Commissioner Polen has resigned at the April 18th Commission meeting. For any Commissioner that is absent, a letter will be sent by mail.
 The Mayor’s Office is to send public notice to the Robertson County Times to be published in the May 4, 2011 issue. The notice should contain information regarding the special election to be held at the May 16th Commission.
The procedure for name submission is as thus:  “When electing county officers or filling vacancies in offices required to be filled by the county legislative body, after giving the notices discussed above, the county legislative body will meet to make the election or fill the vacancy.  At such a meeting, the chair will announce the office to be filled and ask the members of the public in attendance if anyone is offering himself or herself as a candidate.  T.C.A.§ 5-5-115.  Some counties have adopted local procedures to determine interested candidates prior to the meeting. This is an informational stage of the proceeding and does not necessarily make any candidate a nominee.  It is important that the county legislative body establish rules of procedure to deal with the manner of voting and the paring of nominees when no one person receives a majority vote.  The state law requires that the voting by the county commissioners be public; secret ballots are prohibited.  The county clerk records that vote of each member and gives the result to the chair.  Although T.C.A § 5-5-116 appears to call for a method of voting whereby each member votes aye or nay for each nominee as the name is given, this method has been held to be merely directory by Tennessee Supreme Court.  State ex rel. Wolfe v. Henegar, 180 Tenn. 425,175 S. W. 2d 533 (1943).  Therefore, a county legislative body is not required to follow this method and may use the more common method of the clerk calling the county commissioner’s name and the county commissioner then by voice vote tell the clerk and chair the name of the person that is receiving the commissioner’s vote.  Whatever method is used, an office is not filled until someone receives a majority vote of the actual membership.”  (TN Government Handbook 2010)


  1. I feel that this will be best for our county as well as for that district. He has disappointed many people. My sincere wish that they can find good and honest representation soon.