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County to mull slashing commission

It looks as though some on the Claiborne Commission are ‘stealing’ a page from the proposed Home Rule Charter to reduce the number of county commissioners from its current 21 to just 11 individuals. If Resolution 2020-024 is adopted, the Commission will be made up of one member from each of the electoral districts plus 2 “at-large” members, elected from qualified residents throughout the county.

Sponsored by commissioners Nathan Epperson and Whitt Shuford, the resolution cites a more efficient government and cuts in operational costs as two major reasons for proposing the document.

The resolution also states that there is a growing desire among the county residents to reduce the Commission head count, due to an outdated methods that create governmental inefficiency and a ballooning budget.

“…Any resident of any such district desiring to stand for election and qualified to do so pursuant to the requirements of the state, shall qualify in accordance with applicable law for the specific seat representing such Commission District. The nine (9) district seats shall be referred to Commission Seats one (1) through nine (9) respectively…Any resident of Claiborne County desiring to stand for election to the Commission as an at-large representative and qualified to do so pursuant to the requirements of the state shall qualify in accordance with applicable law for one (1) of the specific at large seats elected through county-wide vote. The two (2) at-large seats shall be referred to as Commission Seats ten (10) and eleven (11). Any qualified voter in any Commission District may vote for one (1) candidate for each Commission Seat representing such district, one (1) candidate for at-large District Commission Seat ten (10) and one (1) candidate for at-large District Commission Seat eleven (11),” reads the resolution, in part.

If adopted, the resolution will require regular terms of 4 years with the understanding that the service terms for odd-numbered seats – 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 – will initially run for 6 years before settling into 4 year terms thereafter.

Those commissioners who hold seats in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th districts will begin serving four year terms. This will allow to play out the staggered terms of service currently in place.

The matter will be decided during the 2022 general election and will become effective on Sept. 1 of 2022, according to the resolution.

The next Commission meeting will occur on Feb. 24, beginning at 6:30 p.m., inside the large courtroom of the Claiborne Courthouse. The public is encouraged to attend these monthly meetings.

The Claiborne Progress is following this story and will have more information on our website at: www.claiborneprogress.net and in the March 4 edition of the newspaper.