By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Second District County Commissioner Robert Safdie has turned in his resignation and as of Jan. 31 will no longer hold a seat on the Cumberland County Commission.
Safdie submitted his resignation letter to Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. earlier this week, citing health concerns as his reason for resigning. Safdie has held one of the 2nd District county commission seats since 2006. Prior to that he served on the Cumberland County Board of Education.
In his letter to Mayor Carey, Safdie wrote, "As a result of health concerns, I feel I must dedicate my time and energy to focus on improving my health. As a responsible member of the community and an elected official, this decision does not come easy..."
Safdie continued by saying that being "distracted by my health concerns, I am unable to dedicate the weekly hours of hard work required to be the best representative to District 2. As a consequence, I am submitting my resignation from the board of commissioners effective Jan. 31, 2013."
In a statement to the Crossville Chronicle, Safdie said, "Given the retirement age of our community, over 30 percent of Cumberland County will clearly understand my action. Over the past several years I have had prostate cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, loss of hearing, a cataract, arthritis, back issues, and a few other ailments I won’t bother to mention. For you younger folks reading this, it's not the plague…it's just what frequently happens when getting older. As a result of dealing with these health issues, it has become difficult for me to perform my job representing the community and working with the other commissioners, like I did a few years back. I'll never be satisfied if I do a job half right."
Safdie said he had high regards for his colleagues on the county commission.
"I observe that our Cumberland County Commission is filled with hard working individuals. They have my highest respect and regards. One quote that comes to my mind in this situation is from a song written by Kenny Rogers, the Gambler, 'If you're gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right. You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, When to walk away ...' I don’t want to let either my district down nor my colleagues on the commission, consequently I have chosen to resign, rest a little bit, reduce the stress; giving myself time to heal and time to regain my focus and strength. It has been an honor to work with so many great commissioners, city councilmen, our mayors, other public officials and the concerned citizens and volunteers in our county. Thank you for allowing me to give back to the community."
According to Tennessee Code Anotated (TCA) 5-1-104, “The county legislative body shall be required to make an appointment to fill a vacancy within 120 days of recieving 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 ...”
The next general election isn't until 2014.
According to 1st District Commissioner and County Parliamentarian Harry Sabine, the county commission will discuss the issue during its February meeting.
The county will first have to declare the vacancy in the 2nd District and will then allow those who are interested who reside in the 2nd District a specified amount of time to submit their name to the county for consideration.
The county commission will then review the names submitted and elect one of those people and appoint them to fill the remainder of the term.
The subject will be discussed during the February county commission meeting.