Changes in city charter, make-up of council
possible in next general election
Our Justice Center masked man has his ear
to the ground
By LAWYER X
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- In
previous columns we've explored the methods that Cookeville electors could
employ to amend the city charter to allow for reduction of ugly local political
However, it would take an amendment
to the Tennessee constitution to establish a provision allowing for recall
of a state or county official whose office is established by the
state constitution. Boy, talk about a long and time-consuming process.
It would take a proposal adopted by the state legislature in two sessions,
or passage by a convention called by the legislature and submitted to and
passed by the voters. Honestly, do you think incumbents would support
or fight a populist measure like that unless it was somehow rigged, tied
to something that benefited them immediately or exempted them from its
Back to the City of Cookeville.
A member of the city council and a potential candidate for council tell
your guerrilla lawyer that a local attorney is looking into a "model
recall provision" to be proposed to the voters in the next general
election. It is but one of the changes to the charter being discussed.
Your guerrilla lawyer has spoken with
incumbents and wannabes and learned that a potential provision on the next
general election ballot might increase the number of persons on the council
to reflect the increased population. One or more members might be elected
from each precinct and an additional one or more might be elected from
the city at large.
Another possible change would provide
for the popular election of the mayor, as most Tennessee cities do,
instead of the local practice of the council choosing from among its own
ranks. In fact, some Tennessee cities provide for a full-time, salaried
mayor, and others have part-time mayors who receive a corresponding salary.
It's likely the mayoral provisions would spark the most controversy, certainly
all possibilities and possibly some changes proposed. Under the existing
system, tradition, not the law, has the person getting the most votes named
mayor by the other council members. So with a change you might see a person
receiving the least votes becoming mayor. This certainly would not
reflect the popular consensus, but in light of the actions of the current
council who knows what else might happen?
Putnam Pit Guerrilla Law columnist