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Wilson County Commission seeks to fill vacancy

District 17 Commissioner Gary Keith presented his resignation letter to the Wilson County Commission during the Sept. 16, 2019, County Commission meeting. Citing health reasons, the Commissioner’s resignation took effect immediately following the meeting.

State law requires the Wilson County Commission to fill the vacancy within 120 days provided there is no general election scheduled in the county and there is enough time for a vacancy to be placed on the ballot.

In accordance with the resignation letter, the first possible time to fill the vacancy will be during the Oct. 21, 2019, County Commission meeting. The appointment would be effective immediately and the appointee would serve until the next general election of Aug. 6, 2020.

Individuals interested in filling the vacancy must be residents of the 17th District. Contact the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216 for inquires about residency.

Registered voters of District 17 may submit names for consideration either in person during the County Commission meeting or in writing to the County Mayor prior to the October meeting.

The process, as outlined by state law, for selecting a person to fill the vacancy is specified in Rule 32A and 32B of the County Commission Rules of Order. The first order of business under the Elections and Appointments portion of the agenda will be to determine if the County Commission wants to fill the vacancy in the month of October. If the Commission chooses to appoint during the October meeting, the commission will go out of session to allow for public comments. During that time, the public will be allowed to submit names to the Commission regarding whom they would like to serve as the District 17 Commissioner.

Once the public comment period is over, the Commission will return to regular session and review the nominations presented during the public comment period. The Commission will then begin making their nominations. Though public comments will be accepted and considered, all official nominations must be made by County Commissioners. Commissioners may nominate an individual recommended by the public, providing the individual agrees, in writing, to serve if elected. Commissioners can, however, choose to nominate someone who was not discussed during the public comment period. Should a commissioner nominate an individual who is not present during the meeting, the commissioner making the nomination must present a signed statement by the nominee that he/she is willing to serve. There is no second required to the nominations.

After nominations cease from the floor, the nominated individuals will be given an opportunity to address the Commission. Nominees will be asked to make a brief statement about themselves and why they are seeking the position. Please note, only nominees nominated by a County Commissioner will be allowed to address the full commission. Only members of the County Commission may vote for an individual to fill the vacant seat. It will take a majority of 13 votes to be elected. In the event of a tie between two or more individuals, the nominee with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated and a second vote will be taken. This process will continue until one individual receives 13 votes. Once the vacancy is filled, the individual elected will serve until the next general election of Aug. 6, 2020.

To view the qualifications for this seat, see T.C.A. 5-5-102. For those with questions, contact the Wilson County Mayor’s Office.

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