By Ben Benton Staff Writer
DUNLAP, Tenn. — The District 7 constable post in Sequatchie County left open in February by a resignation will remain that way until voters cast ballots this summer, commissioners said this week.
"I’m sitting on a hot spot," Sequatchie County Commissioner Ray Hobbs said.
Mr. Hobbs said he lives between two of the three candidates running for District 7 constable. He made a motion at the County Commission meeting this week not to appoint anyone to the post.
"It wouldn’t be fair to the other two," he said.
Commissioners voted 11-4 to leave the decision to voters in the August election. Commissioners Claude Lewis, Brian Harmon, John Gamble and Will Zimmerman voted against the motion.
The constable post became vacant when the incumbent resigned amid complaints about conduct and training.
At the beginning of the discussion, County Executive David B. Barker told commissioners a replacement appointed Monday could attend April training at the Sequatchie County Sheriff’s Department to meet state requirements for the office. No one named the person being considered.
County Attorney Jennifer Mitchell recommended delaying action until April’s meeting, but Mr. Hobbs refused to withdraw his motion.
Mr. Zimmerman said nominations should have been opened to the public in attendance. He also gave an update on a new bill in the Tennessee General Assembly dubbed the Constable Accountability Act of 2006. The bill would require more training for constables and would take away county commissions’ authority over the post and put it in the hands of voters, he said.
But "it has not come out of committee and may die," Mr. Zimmerman said.
Versions of the bill have remained in House and Senate committees since February, according to records.
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