Commissioners are faced with addressing the issue of a vacant seat on the Cumberland County Commission after the death of one of their own last week.
Clyde “Catfish” Cramer, who represented the 9th Civil District, passed away last Tuesday evening after an illness.
Cramer, who was a member of several county committees, also served as chairman of the Cumberland County Regional Planning Commission, scheduled to meet Thursday, May 17, at 5:15 p.m.
According to Cumberland County Election Commission Administrator of Elections Suzanne Smith, state law mandates the vacancy be filled in the next county general election, which is August 2.
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 ...”
Smith said the qualifying deadline for the seat in the 9th Civil District will be June 8 at noon, according to timetables in TCA.
Confusing the issue, though, is the matter of redistricting which just took place and was approved by the county commission in September of 2011.
“The new district lines have been implemented by the Election Commission,” Smith said.
The county will decide which civil District lines to follow, new or old. According to the new lines, a portion of Fairfield Glade in the 9th Civil District, which elected Cramer to the seat, is moved into the 6th Civil District. Therefore, those voters in that section would not be eligible to vote for the replacement candidate.
Smith said it would be difficult or confusing for voters to use the old lines for this seat.
If the old lines were used, the voters in the moved section would not be eligible to vote for the 6th District Board of Education seat, which is up for election in the August 2 county general election.
The county commission, will have the authority to determine which lines to use for the 9th District vacancy.