The Wilson County Commission will be filling the vacant County Commission seat for District 3 at their meeting Feb. 24.
Commissioner Fred Weston passed away earlier this year on Jan. 20, after fighting a long battle with cancer. He had served as County Commissioner for District 3 since September of 2010. The individual selected will serve for the un-expired term, which runs through Aug. 31.
“We were saddened by Mr. Weston’s death. He served his constituents and Wilson County honorably for several years, even in recent years while battling cancer. Wilson County has lost a great public servant.” Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto stated.
Any time a vacancy occurs in an elected official’s position the County Commission is responsible for filling the vacancy. The process is outlined in state law.
Any individual interested in the position must meet the qualifications outlined for holding public office in state law. They must be 18 years old or older, a resident and qualified voter of District 3, and not have been convicted of a felony. The district lines used in the 2010 elections will be used in determining eligibility for this vacancy per state law. The old lines are drastically different from the new District 3 lines, which will be used for the 2014 elections. Therefore, it is extremely important that individuals interested in serving in this position check with the Election Commission to ensure that they were District 3 as it appeared in 2010. Current voter registration cards now reflect the new district lines and should not be considered in determining eligibility for this selection. For more details on qualifications, individuals should check with the Wilson County Election Commission at (615)444-0216.
The individual selected to fill the vacancy must receive the majority of a vote from the Wilson County Commission. Anyone interested should contact the current County Commissioners to let them know of their desire and solicit support, since they will be electing the individual to fill the vacancy.
Names may be submitted in writing to the Wilson County Mayor in advance of the Commission meeting, but is not a requirement. Before the County Commission considers this issue, voters of District 3 will be allowed to recommend individuals to be considered for the position. Once all recommendations from the public have been made, the Commission will then begin the nomination and selection process. A County Commissioner must nominate an individual on the floor, after the time for public input has ended, for that person to be considered. The public is not allowed to nominate only recommend candidates. A County Commissioner may also nominate an individual who did not receive a recommendation from the public. Seconds are not required for nominations.
Once nominations by the County Commission are complete, the individuals nominated will be given approximately three to five minutes to briefly address the Commission to share information about themselves and their desire for the position. Handouts may be passed out prior to the Commission meeting.
Voting will take place on paper ballots. Commissioners will be provided with blank ballots and must sign the ballot for their vote to be considered. Votes will be read aloud once all ballots have been collected. If one person receives the majority vote, which must be at least 13 votes, at that time voting is complete. If no one receives 13 votes, the candidate with the lowest vote total shall have their name, or names should there be a tie, removed. Balloting will continue using the same process with the revised list of candidates being considered. This process will continue until an individual is selected. The successful candidate may be sworn into office that night, and will begin serving immediately to fill the unexpired term.
“The process used to fill a vacancy of an elected official is very specific. We want to make certain our citizens, and especially individuals interested in seeking the position, are aware of how the process works,” Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto stated.
All County Commission seats will be up for election during the General Election to be held on Aug. 7. The new term will begin Sept. 1.
Should you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact the Wilson County Mayor’s office at (615)444-1383 during regular office hours, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.