By Angie Herrington Staff Writer
Quenston Coleman, a candidate in the Chattanooga City Council District 9 race, said he would quit his job with the state, if necessary, to comply with a City Charter provision.
The charter states that "no person, while holding any office or employment under the federal, state or county government, except the office of notary public, shall be eligible to any office under ... city government."
Mr. Coleman is a probation officer for Tennessee.
"I will do whatever is necessary to serve the seat," he said. "If that means I have to quit my job, I will."
But Mr. Coleman said he believes a ruling in Chancery Court last June could allow him to keep his job and seek city office.
In that case, Judge Howell Peoples' opinion stated that Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Beck could keep his job as City Court officer because his assigned duties made him a city employee and not an officer.
Mr. Coleman said the city decided in that case not to file an appeal, which he thinks increases the likelihood of his being allowed to keep his current job.
A court case in the 1990s upheld the City Charter provision, City Attorney Randy Nelson said.
Mr. Coleman said attorneys have said the provision could be challenged successfully.
District 9 candidate Eric A. Colen said the City Charter provision should be enforced.
There were other qualified people who wanted to run for the race but bowed out because of the rule, he said.
"It's just not fair to the rest of the voting community," Mr. Colen said.
Other candidates in the race, Debbie Gaines and Edward L. Willliams Sr., could not be reached for comment Thursday.
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