Claiborne commission to appoint replacement for newly elected commissioner

Published 1:30 pm Sunday, October 2, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The death of newly elected 2nd district county commissioner Ricky Lynn Barker leaves a vacant seat on the 21 member Claiborne Commission. Barker succumbed to cancer on Sept. 29, never having the chance to formally sit in session with his comrades. His seat was noticeably empty during the September meeting of the commission which occurred just over a week before his untimely death.

Barker garnered the highest vote during the Aug. 4 election with 606 in total, outranking all others vying for the three seats delegated to the district 2 commissioners.

Outside his political interests, Barker was a founding member of the South Claiborne Volunteer Fire Department and a lifetime member of the Union County Rescue Squad, having been associated with that organization since 1978.

Email newsletter signup

According to Tennessee law, the 20 members of the Claiborne Commission will have the authority to appoint a replacement by majority vote.

T.C.A. 2-1-104 states: “…The county legislative body shall be required to make an appointment to fill a vacancy within one hundred twenty (120) days of receiving notice of the vacancy unless during that time period there is a general election scheduled in the county and there is sufficient time for the vacancy to be placed on the ballot in accordance with this section. Any appointment to fill a vacancy by the county legislative body shall be made in accordance with chapter 5, part 1 of this title, and any person so appointed shall serve until a successor is elected at the next general election.”

Barker died just 40 days shy of the Nov 8 election, leaving the Claiborne Commission with the responsibility of finding his replacement.

According to T.C.A.5-5-111(e), the county commission as the legislative body must adopt rules of procedure for eliminating any nominees.

“… No secret balloting shall be permitted. Each member’s vote regarding the appointment process shall be recorded by the clerk and entered on the minutes of the county legislative body. A tie vote of the county legislative body regarding an appointment may be broken in the same manner that other tie votes of the body may be broken,” reads a portion of the code.

Section 8-48-108(a) of the Tennessee Codes Annotated specifies actions that must be taken prior to appointing a replacement.

“… the presiding officer of the county legislative body shall cause public notice to be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting of the body at which the office is to be filled, notifying the public of the vacancy or opening and specifying the office or offices to be filled at the meeting.”

The next section explains what must be done to allow registered voters the chance to submit names for consideration.

“Before the county legislative body votes or considers any motion or resolution regarding the office to be filled, the chair shall allow registered voters of the county an opportunity to submit names to the county legislative body for consideration. The names may be submitted in writing to the chair prior to the meeting or may be submitted in person at the meeting. In order for a name to be considered, a member of the county legislative body must subsequently nominate the person. Members of the county legislative body may also nominate a candidate or candidates to fill the office or vacancy without the name being submitted by a voter. Nominations do not require a second. If the person nominated is not present at the meeting, the person making the nomination shall submit a signed statement from the nominee that the nominee is willing to serve in the office if appointed,” reads the code, in part.