Seven of the eight candidates who said they will support term limits if elected to a new charter commission lost in the Tuesday election, according to unofficial election results posted by the Anderson County Election Commission.
In District 1 (Claxton, Bull Run), V.L. Stonecipher, a former director of Anderson County Schools, defeated Floyd Grisham, the term-limit candidate, by 1,500 votes to 1,292. A third candidate, Tim Risden, had 412 votes.
In District 2 (Clinton), Anderson County Commissioner Mark Alderson beat Jim Cooper, the term-limit candidate, 1,954 to 1,340.
In District 3 (Andersonville, Norris), Steve Emert, the Anderson County Commission chair, earned about 300 votes more than former commissioner Dusty Irwin, the term-limit candidate. Emert had 2,157 votes to Irwin’s 1,846.
In District 4 (Briceville, Rocky Top), Tim Isbel, an Anderson County commissioner, defeated Dennis Hashbarger, the term-limit candidate, 1,567 to 1,024.
In District 5 (Dutch Valley, Marlow), Anderson County Commissioner Jerry White was the top vote-getter of three candidates, earning 1,200 votes, compared to 853 for another commissioner, Robert McKamey, and 849 for Howard Farmer, the term-limit candidate.
In District 6 in Oak Ridge (City Hall, Robertsville, West Hills), Anderson County Commissioner Steve Mead collected more than 800 votes more than Hugh Ward, the term-limit candidate, 1,842 to 995.
The one exception to the term-limit candidates being defeated occurred in District 7 in Oak Ridge (Glenwood, Highland View, Pine Valley). David Stanley, the term-limit candidate, finished with 1,357 votes. Anderson County Commissioner Theresa Scott received 984, and a third candidate, Marjorie Mott Lloyd, earned 639.
In District 8 in Oak Ridge (Emory Valley, Hendrix Creek, Woodland), former Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bob Smallridge had more than 1,000 votes more than former Oak Ridge Mayor Kathy Moore, the term-limit candidate, 2,533 to 1,502.
There are eight seats on the new Anderson County Charter Commission, one from each Anderson County Commission district.
Those who advocated for the Anderson County Charter Commission acquired the 1,776 signatures necessary to call for a charter commission, and they submitted them on July 1.
The successful petition drive meant Anderson County would have a charter commission elected November 8, although it’s not clear yet what the members might propose.
Term limits, primarily for the Anderson County mayor and county commissioners, were the primary issue discussed during the campaign, but they weren’t the only one. Support for term limits was the issue featured on campaign signs paid for by a political action committee that endorsed the term-limit candidates.
Other proposals that were discussed during the campaign included electing the law director, rather than appointing him or her, and reducing the number of county commissioners from 16 (two per district) to the state minimum of nine, with one per district and one at-large.
There have been other proposals discussed as well, including having commissioners elected in staggered four-year terms, making the law director a part-time position, and appointing a county executive, rather than electing a mayor.
But none of those proposals are official until they are proposed, debated, and recommended by the Charter Commission.
The charter commission is supposed to finish its work in nine months, and voters will get to say whether they approve or reject the proposed charter form of government in an election in November 2018. If changes are approved, they would become law in September 2019.
The proposed changes must be consistent with state law.
Knox County and Shelby County are the only two models for county charter governments now. If approved by voters two years from now, this would be the first charter for Anderson County.
The Anderson County Commission has to appropriate at least $50,000 for the Charter Commission, but the county can spend more.
The charter has to be drafted in nine months, but Anderson County Commission can extend that time.
Once the proposed charter is drafted, the current form of government stays in place if the proposed charter is rejected by voters.
See the Anderson County Election Commission results here.
You can see our previous story on the charter commission process here.
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