By Gary Nelson
One member of the Cumberland County Election Commission resigned as of April 3 after deciding to run for county commission.
Tim Claflin, a Republican representative on the election commission, submitted his letter of resignation to the board in March.
"I have decided to run for the office of Cumberland County commissioner in the 8th District. As a result of this decision, and to have no appearance of conflict of interest, it is with deep regret that I tender my resignation to you, effective April 3, 2014," Claflin's letter states.
April 3 was the qualifying deadline for candidates to return their qualifying papers to the election commission for Cumberland County Commission.
"I have greatly enjoyed serving with you, your staff and my fellow commissioners. Although my term began during one of our most tumultuous times, I feel we have all worked together and have made great strides in bringing the election commission back to a well-run office," Claflin wrote.
A Republican representative replacement for Claflin will be recommended by state Representative Cameron Sexton to the state election commission. The state election commission will then appointment the replacement.
Claflin was appointed to the election commission in 2011.
Election commission members are appointed under state law.
According to state law under Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 2-12-101, "The state election commission shall appoint, on the first Monday in April of each odd-numbered year, five election commissioners for each county, for terms of two years and until their successors are appointed and qualified. The five commissioners shall be the county election commission."
The way the political party representation is made on county election commissions is also based on state law.
According to TCA 2-12-103, (a), "Three members shall be members of the majority party and two members shall be members of the minority party ... The members of the majority party on the state election commission shall appoint the persons who are required to be members of that party on county election commissions ... The members of the minority party on the state election commission shall appoint the persons who are required to be members of that party on county election commissions."
TCA 2-12-103 subsection b, 4 states, "Before appointing county election commissioners, the members of the state election commission shall consult with the members of the general assembly serving each of the counties as to the persons to be appointed to the county election commissions."
Cumberland County election commission members include Lisa Phillips and Bob Austin as Democrat representatives and Linda Baehr-Caldwell and Jim A. Petty as Republican representatives.
Cumberland County Administrator of Elections Suzanne Smith said she expected a replacement for Claflin would be named within the next month.
The Cumberland County Election Commission met Thursday, April 3, in order to certify candidates for the Aug. 7 Tennessee State Primary and Cumberland County General Election ballot.
The candidates were certified after a motion was made by Austin. Phillips supported the motion and it was unanimously approved.
Petty did not attend the meeting.