COMMENTARY: Dobson, Not Mayo, Squeezed Out

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Two sayings come to mind when thinking about the situation ultimately resulting in the firing of Administrator of Elections Stan Dobson by a 3-2 vote of the Cannon County Election Commission Monday (July 2).

The sayings are, "two wrongs don't make a right," and "be careful what you ask for, you might just get it."

Most who are close to, or follow, the situation regarding Dobson's firing believe it was politically motivated with Louise Mayo, a Republican-appointed commissioner, having an axe to grind.

Pot, meet kettle.

Was it not also political motivation that prompted Dobson, Sen. Mae Beavers and Republican-appointed commissioner Matt Studd to lobby the State Election Commission to have Mayo removed from the local election commission?

After Mayo flip-flopped on her vote to restore polling places at Short Mountain 2 and 4 in January, the Republican contingent on the election commission was displeased. The previous vote to close the polling places in November was unanimous so not only did Mayo change her vote, but so did Democrats Sue Patrick and Jackie Gannon.

In the minds of fellow election commissioners, and Dobson, Mayo had aligned with the Democrats.

The Republican contingent came up with other examples. According to Dobson, Beavers and Studd, they lobbied for Mayo's removal not because of her voting record, but because she was creating a "hostile work environment."

Be careful what you ask for as just more than one month after seeking to rid the commission of Mayo there was a dismissal.

It was Dobson's.

Seems the table turned when Jackie Gannon, Patrick and Mayo voted in favor of Dobson's firing. Studd and Lindburgh Dennis opposed. The reason given was "unprofessional conduct."

If Mayo had been voting with the Republicans, then Dobson, Studd and Beaver would have never went after her position. Mayo's voting record, not a hostile environment, fueled the desire to remove her from the local board. Just because a person is an appointed Republican member doesn't mean they necessarily will always vote with them.

Oddly, there was no claim of Mayo creating a hostile environment until after she flip-flopped and provided the swing vote to restore polling places on Short Mountain. Remember, the original vote was unanimous to close the polling places. Could it not be that after further study Mayo, Patrick and Gannon were right and that the other two Republicans were on the wrong side of the fence?

Probably not, but if you are going to push someone off of the fence, you might want to make sure you know which side of the fence they are going to fall on.

Seems Dobson and Studd had an agenda when they obtained Beavers' assistance and went after Mayo's position on the board.

Mayo likely had one, too, when her vote ultimately was the one that sealed Dobson's fate. Mayo has navigated tough family times and her work for several months. During this time a fellow commissioner, administrator of elections, and a senator attacked her position and accused her of creating hostility.

Mayo felt her character and integrity had been attacked after voting for what she believed was right, although not popular with her fellow Republican commissioners.

And, in this case, Mayo's voting record alone was not enough to attempt to squeeze her out.
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Members Opinions:
July 10, 2012 at 5:29am
Well said, Thanks for putting into words exactly what is happening in the election office and giving the public a chance to SEE.
July 10, 2012 at 6:52am
If you really want to "SEE" what is happening then I suggest you go to YouTube and type in Election Commission 7-2-12 and start about minute 38.

Hearing it for yourself and understanding who said what, how they said it and getting a feel for the reasons behind their motivation for doing what they did will help you "SEE" a lot better I think.

Whatever your opinion is of any member of the Election Commission or the AOE, there are reasons behind Jackie Gannon's statement that the board has become "a joke" and I don't think anyone can single out any one person after hearing the sarcasm and bickering of the entire group.
July 10, 2012 at 9:07am
Obviously, all Cannon County citizens need....and deserve more clarity in this whole matter, as it does have consequences and impact.

The Democrats held majority control of the Election Commissions in all or most of the 95 Counties across Tennessee for about 147 STRAIGHT years. In 2009 the rolls were reversed due to Republican majorities being elected into our Legislative Chambers….by the voters of Tennessee.

Tensions were high as this transition occurred in 2009. Lawsuits were filed against County Election Commissions. Many of these suits have been dismissed, some settled and some aspects remain. This is not meant to be a full status report …..but rather a reminder of the tensions…. some of which IS Political, some Personal and sadly… some due to ignorance and revengeful conduct.

At the November 2011 Election Commission meeting, polling sites, maps boundaries, voting data of actual voter numbers were clearly discussed and evaluated. After…..these full deliberations and considerations, there WAS a unanimous vote to consolidate two voting precincts that had MORE than ONE polling location. Pleasant Ridge and Short Mountain had multiple polling sites, requiring the complete staffing of Poll Workers and Voting Machines. This FACT was a DUPLICATION ……but only for the Pleasant Ridge and Short Mountain Voters. All remaining voting precincts ONLY had ONE voting location…..not counting the Early Voting site at the Election Office which applies to all Voters in Cannon County. Some Citizens suggested the matter should have been studied longer, however… matter how long the matter is studied…. facts are stubborn things …and do not change. Some of the Citizens upset, have family members working at the Short Mountain School and may have thought that if voting ceases there, the School would be a step closer to closing. Factually incorrect again. Such a discussion would NOT hinge upon whether or not voting was occurring at the School. It does explain how the matter got personal for some involved in reversing the consolidation.

For about two month (Nov. & Dec.) AOE Stan Dobson and Deputy Dorinda Mankin worked tirelessly……as DIRECTED by UNANIMOUS decision by the full Election Commission, to make the needed changes to data base info, boundary lines, individual voter notifications and data reports to Nashville and the Comptroller’s Office. During this two month period, NO affected voters called or contacted me. On or about weeks before our January meeting I received 3 calls and spoke with 4 different voters impacted. These callers from the Short Mountain area, told me they had assurances from Sue Patrick and Jackie Gannon the matter would be revisited and reversed……but they needed one more Commissioner. I stated to each of them …. all the facts that went into the decision, that Tax Paying Citizens were paying for DUPLICATION and PREFERENTIAL treatment for the Pleasant Ridge and Short Mountain voters. At the January meeting, majority vote did in fact reverse what was done at the November meeting. Much of the work performed by the Election Office during Nov. & Dec. was now void and had to be reversed…..very quickly …. due to impending election dates and deadlines. This too……was paid by ALL TAX PAYERS OF CANNON COUNTY.

Louise did in fact offer to work in the Election Office for little or nothing, cleaning up the mess her vote in January helped create. The Law does NOT permit Commissioners to collect any pay for doing that office work.

I agree with the remarks posted by Kevin following this meeting,

“KevinHalpern on 1/10/12
Spin it as you wish MMW, but the fact is the issue is not about Corey, and is about the three election commissioners who failed to show any backbone and caved to pressure.

None of them are strangers to Cannon County politics. If they did not know that their November vote would upset some people, they are clueless and should examine whether they should continue to serve in their roles, because if this is an example of their fortitude, as another poster commented, they will sell out the majority for the sake of a few.”

At our July 2 meeting, which ALL CITIZENS can listen to for themselves at or at

An opportunity for Louise to present a statement, which she read concerning letters written to the State Election Commission by Stan Dobson and myself. During her presentation, Jackie Gannon stated the Commission is a joke and made a motion to terminate Stan Dobson. At this point, there had been no substantive discussion. Listen for yourselves how Jackie offered NO material or lawful reasons for his motion to terminate Stan Dobson, but cited an allegation occurring at some past event where Stan is said to have raised his hands above his head in the courthouse and said it isn’t over yet? Really?
Sue Patrick seconded Jackie’s motion immediately and called for a vote. Sue asked Louise is she would rather have the honor of seconding the motion, to which she agree, citing clear reasons of retaliation because of the letters written. Louise also stated that the calls she received were from Citizens who felt they had been stripped of their community. As an Election Commissioner…. she knows full well that NO Citizens were stripped of ANY Community or RIGHTs. Since 2009 Jackie Gannon, Sue Patrick and Jackie Gannon have NOT attended the many training sessions held by Election Officials. Training is very important if we are to have good and honest elections in every County.

As for the matter of telling anyone how to vote…..Sue Patrick’s position and minutes from the June meeting clearly stated that before she would place a poll worker on the list, their vote would have to have been “Democrat” which illustrates a lock step voting mandate or belief.

Weeks before the July meeting, in a conversation with a County Commissioner, that Commissioner suggested firing Stan Dobson and replacing him with Dorinda Mankin. Decide for yourselves if planning and scheming led up to the actions to terminate Stan Dobson. Stan Dobson and Dorinda Mankin have done an outstanding job in conducting fair and honest elections in Cannon County. Citizens who agree…. should show up, stand up and speak up.

Citizens should insist on honest and sincere Leaders at all levels of Government!

July 10, 2012 at 9:14am
please add my name to my posting;

Matt Studd, Commissioner
Cannon County Election Commission
July 10, 2012 at 10:10am
That is truly eye opening and gives a lot of incite to the internal workings of this commission. Every voter in Cannon County should listen to what was said and how by all in this meeting. IT sounded to me that most had no interest in trying to talk things through or work things out. The attitude seemed to be RIGHT OR WRONG - LEGAL OR NOT just do it my way and do it Now. Easy to see the reasoning of Mr. Gannon. No one had control of this meeting or had any idea of to control a meeting.

After listening to this I have to say that I came to a surprising conclusion, that perhaps the best thing for the voters of this county would be for both the Democratic and the Republican parties of Cannon County to contact Nashville to see if ALL members can be replaced ASAP.


July 10, 2012 at 11:59am
Cannon County Election Commission Meeting 7-2-2012

listen for yourselves.

Matt Studd
July 10, 2012 at 3:46pm
July 10, 2012 at 4:40pm
July 10, 2012 at 5:19pm
The bottom line is if someone has a personal vendetta against someone and is in the position of power they can abuse their power legally.
July 10, 2012 at 5:36pm
The video has been removed.
July 10, 2012 at 6:43pm
I was not able to be at the election commission meeting on 7-2-12, however, I did listen to it online. I believe every member of the commission need to be replace and if they ever want to be reelected to any public office they need to learn to be more professional. Just listening to the meeting make the whole commission sound like a joke.
July 10, 2012 at 7:40pm
The YouTube video was placed on line by County Commissioner and Candidate for that same office in the upcoming August Primary.
Voters will have to ask him how or why it was removed. Did he likewise remove all his postings .... or just the Election 7-2-12 audio?
July 10, 2012 at 8:01pm
well the election commission meeting tonight went as expected a joke. When it was brought to light by the chairman that he had an opinion from Nashville and was on some level agree to by the County Attorney that the firing of Mr.Dobson may have been in violation of state law on procedure and wanting to reinstate him. Then call a special meeting and try to do all possible to comply with the law and retake the vote to fire Mr.Dobson The desire of the gang of three was to dame the law, dame the torpedoes. full steam ahead. NO LOOKING BACK.
I for one am calling for the resignation of all of the election commission. Maybe we could get a commission that would act professional and do what is right for all the people of Cannon County.

July 10, 2012 at 10:45pm
If citizens in Cannon County are interested in having an Election Commission that operates by the laws of the State and with the best interest of the citizens at heart, then a group of them need to get together, hire an attorney and pay the $344.50 filing fee to petition the Chancellor to replace the current Commission for dereliction of duty, not following proper procedures, not following the direction of the Comptroller's representative, using personal vendettas and personality conflicts and retaliation to influence their decision making, etc. If enough people got involved the cost of court action would be very small for everyone.
July 11, 2012 at 8:02am
Ok, apparently Mrs. Bush has got a lawsuit against the county, AND WE HIRED HER BACK? Mr. Dobson will probably follow suit. The best course of action is probably to replace EVERYBODY and start over because the current commission has become a pit of vipers who are using their power as a sword against one another as opposed to fulfilling their duties to the PUBLIC.
July 11, 2012 at 6:31pm
Kane,sounds like the plan and proper thing to do. When And where?

July 12, 2012 at 8:27pm
Kane,count me in.
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