By Gary Nelson
A resolution and recommendation for the county to join the Tennessee County Commissioner’s Association failed during September’s county commission meeting.
The county commission previously was a member of the association, but decided against renewing and paying its dues last year during budget talks.
Last month, members of the budget committee approved joining the association again and recommended it to the full county commission. Dues for membership in the association are $1,850 per year.
Roy Turner, 7th District commissioner, moved to approve resolution 09-2013-1 — a budget amendment of $1,850 for the county commission to join the TCCA. The motion was supported by Charles Seiber, 4th District, for discussion purposes and commissioners debated the subject.
Carmin Lynch, 9th Dsitrict commissioner, said, “During budget discussion and debate, consensus was that TCCA provided no unique product or service to the (county) commission over and above what the TCSA (which the commission belongs to) and CTAS (County Technical Assistance Service) provides. What caused the committee to reconsider and decide to take $1,850 out of the tax payers’ pocket so that the commission could join this duplicative association? Should commissioners who wish to join take the money out of their own pocket and not their constituents?”
Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner, said the TCCA discusses all legislative questions at its meetings and is the county commission’s lobbying arm.
“I think it’s a worthwhile organization,” Sabine said.
Joe Koester, 5th District commissioner, said he felt county commissioners should make themselves available to all information.
“I think it’s money well spent,” Koester said.
Lynch said that in past meetings, several questions and issues had been submitted by Cumberland County commissioners and “never made the list.”
“They haven’t lobbied for anything we’ve asked them to do. If any commissioner wants to join they can on their own,” Lynch said.
The motion then failed in a 9-7 vote.
Voting in favor were commissioners Sabine; Nancy Hyder and Caroline Knight, 2nd District; Johnny Presley, 3rd District; Allen Foster, 4th District; Koester; Terry Carter, 6th District; Turner; and John Kinnunen, 9th District.
Voting against joining the TCCA were commissioners David Hassler, 3rd District; Seiber; Jan McNeil, 5th District; Mike Harvel, 7th District; Jeff Brown and Sonya Rimmer, 8th District; and Lynch.
Although it was a 9-7 vote in favor, it would require 10 votes to pass.
Commissioners Brian Houston, 1st District; and Larry Allen, 6th District; did not attend the meeting.