To the Editor:
Choose your charter commissioner wisely.
As noted in a recent Knoxville News Sentinel editorial “Voters must take care with charter commission picks” in the upcoming Anderson County election. They note further that a home rule charter has “options for improving county government, but also ample opportunity to make government worse.”
A charter abolishes and replaces the constitutional form of government. The charter form of county government is an option that completely restructures county government in a way that could affect almost every elected office and the citizens they serve.
It is important that we elect members to the charter commission that will take on this important task with an open mind and willingness to study the options carefully in a way that looks out for the long term interests of Anderson County. It is important that those selected have a proven history of successful experience in county and city government.
I am concerned that we have a slate of candidates that are running on an agenda that they have already made up their minds on—without having given the public an opportunity to provide input. Instead, proposed changes should be thoroughly and publicly debated during the nine months allowed for preparing the charter proposal.
I am also concerned that several of the candidates recruited for this slate have no experience in city or county government. Yet they are running for a commission that can completely and permanently restructure county government.
Some have expressed other concerns regarding those backing this slate of candidates. Jack Mitchell, publisher and editor or the Norris Bulletin, in a recent editorial made this observation regarding the Charter Commission vote: “I find it difficult to find any logical reason why such a divisive and unnecessary measure should be proposed, other than the fact that it is a backdoor attempt by a vocal, obstructionist cabal whose sole intent is to disrupt the orderly administration of county governmental affairs.”
County Commission has built a solid working relationship with the City of Oak Ridge that has us working together on key issues such as the Main Street mall redevelopment, relocating the General Sessions court in Oak Ridge, computers for our schools, and a new city senior center. In the recent City Council candidate forum, several candidates expressed concern with the impact this charter could have on the City of Oak Ridge and Anderson County.
Bob Smallridge offers extensive government experience and clear, open minded thinking. He would be a wise choice for the charter commissioner representing District 8.
Anderson County Commissioner