The Blount County Commission is currently accepting nominations for the District 1 seat left vacant recently with the resignation of U.S. Postal Service worker Shawn Carter.
Carter, a Republican, won the Aug. 5 General Election to District I Seat B seat when he defeated incumbent Democrat David Ballard.
During the Sept. 16 commission meeting chairman Kenneth Melton said the body had up to 120 days to fill the seat but a decision will be made at the October 21 meeting.
The commission office this week issued a press release requesting the public submit names of individuals to be considered to fill the seat until the next county-wide election in 2012.
According to the notice, the vacancy will be filled at a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners at 7 p.m. Oct. 21, and registered voters of Blount County will have the opportunity to submit names to the county legislative body for consideration. The names may be submitted in writing to the County Commission chair prior to the meeting or may be submitted in person at the meeting.
In order for a name to be considered, a member of the county legislative body must subsequently nominate the person. Members of the county legislative body may also nominate a candidate or candidates to fill the office or vacancy without the name being submitted by a voter.
Nominations do not require a second. If the person nominated is not present at the meeting, the person making the nomination shall submit a signed statement from the nominee that the nominee is willing to serve in the office if appointed.
In related news, the Blount County Democratic Party through chairman Tony Webb filed a complaint with Office of Special Council on Sept. 13 alleging that Carter violated the federal Hatch Act. That law bars federal employees like postal workers from running in partisan elections.
Carter responded with a written letter accepting responsibility for situation.
“I take the blame. Locally I am qualified to run but federally I am not,” the letter read.
Carter said he had never heard of the Hatch Act, and it was apparent to him nobody else had heard of it on either side of the campaign because he said nobody told him either time he ran that there was a problem. He took aim at Democrats who criticized him for running in the first place, and said he fixed any Hatch Act violations as soon as he realized he had a problem. “Whether you like it or not, I found out about it, and I took the proper steps to remedy the problem.”
Carter said he can’t quit his job to be a commissioner, which pays $402 a month.
“I can still run for non-partisan seats and petition the powers that be to amend the Hatch Act since county and federal government never cross.
“Nothing is impossible,” Carter continued in the letter. “A lot can be accomplished in the next two to four years and yes, this is another great day to be a Black Republican in Blount County.”