By Randall Higgins Cleveland Bureau
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Tim Gobble resigned as Bradley County Emergency Management Agency director Monday to continue his campaign for sheriff in the May 2 Republican primary.
Mr. Gobble is challenging incumbent Sheriff Dan Gilley in the GOP primary. The winner will face Democrat Chris Watson in the Aug. 3 general election.
In his resignation letter, Mr. Gobble said he received notice Friday from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel that his campaign could violate the Hatch Act, which governs political candidates in some positions that accept federal funds.
County Commissioner Lisa Stanbery and others had questioned whether the campaign conflicted with the Hatch Act because the Emergency Management Agency receives federal funds.
The resignation is effective March 28. Mr. Gobble wrote in the letter that he chose to resign by the date the OSC set to avoid penalties to the county.
County Mayor D. Gary Davis said Monday he accepted the resignation in the best interest of the county.
Mr. Davis said the Office of Special Counsel ruled that three other county employees are eligible to seek office. They are Gloria Hayes, a Road Department employee running in the GOP primary for the District 1 County Commission seat; Johnny Mull, a Bradley County Schools employee seeking the Republican nomination for county mayor and Veterans Affairs Director Gary Benefield, who is running in the Republican primary for the District 9 state Senate seat.
In all, nine county employees and three Cleveland city employees are seeking elective office, according to Election Commission records.
In his letter, Mr. Gobble praised the EMA staff and county emergency responders.
"I am hopeful that my departure from local public service will be short and I will return again to serve them (Bradley County voters) as their next elected sheriff," Mr. Gobble said in his letter.
He did not comment during the County Commission meeting Monday when Mr. Davis made the announcement. He spoke with reporters after the meeting, as did Mr. Davis.
"There is no decision yet on filling the EMA vacancy," Mr. Davis said. "I will have more information on that for the commission when they meet next Monday."
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