By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Caroline E. Knight was elected out of four candidates Monday night to fill the vacant 2nd District county commission seat during March's monthly county commission meeting.
Knight received a total of 12 votes from commissioners. To win the seat required a candidate to receive 9 votes.
Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner, nominated all four candidates who had submitted their names for consideration. All candidates who lived in the 2nd District and who wished to be considered for the seat were to submit their name and resume to the county mayor by the deadline date of March 5. However, an open call was also issued at Monday night's county commission meeting to see if there were any other candidates who wished to be considered. There were no others.
"This is one of the hardest decisions. We have four good candidates and we have a difficult task here tonight," said Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner.
The vacancy was created after 2nd District County Commissioner Robert Safdie turned in his resignation effective Jan. 31, 2013 for health reasons. Knight will fill the seat for the remainder of the term until August 2014.
Hyder said she spoke with Safdie after the candidates' names had been released and said her vote would reflect the wishes of Safdie.
Each candidate was allowed to address the commission for a maximum of 10 minutes before a paper ballot vote was taken.
The name of the commissioner was read and the candidate they voted for.
Other candidates were Roy K. (Tom) Isham, Joseph B. Patton and Jack E. Miller.
Kenneth Carey Jr., Cumberland County mayor, administered the oath of office after Knight won, she signed her paperwork and took her seat on the county commission for the remainder of the meeting.
Voting for Knight were commissioners Sabine and Brian Houston, 1st District; Hyder; Allen Foster, 4th District; Joe Koester and Jan McNeil, 5th District; Larry Allen and Terry Carter, 6th District; Roy Turner, 7th District; Jeff Brown and Sonya Rimmer, 8th District; and John Kinnunen, 9th District.
Voting for Isham were David Hassler and Johnny Presley, 3rd District; and Mike Harvel, 7th District.
Voting for Patton was Charles Seiber, 4th District.
Voting for Miller was Carmin Lynch, 9th District.
Prior to being chosen by the commissioners, Knight said she grew up in a rural community in Bledsoe County and was aware of the challenges and uniqueness of living in a rural community.
After moving to New York and graduating with a law degree, Knight said she came to Crossville and started her law practice in 2008. She currently works with District Attorney General Randy York's office in the 13th Judicial District in Crossville.
Knight said she spoke with York prior to submitting her name for the candidacy to be sure there would be no conflict of interest by serving on the county commission.
She said any cases she is assigned to would not be in conflict with any county commission business.
"I would be screened away from any of those cases," Knight said.
Knight said she has a background in environmental law.
Knight said she has priority subjects of security in schools, unemployment and creating jobs and is interested in the Gateway to the Big South Fork Visitor's Center project.
"I feel it's a welcome time for me to be able to give my services back to the community," Knight said.
Sabine later made a motion for Knight to serve on the same committees Safdie served on during his time as a commissioner. Those committees include the environmental committee, schools and education, debt management, building and grounds and rules committee. The motion was approved unanimously.