COMMENTARY: Dobson, Not Mayo, Squeezed Out

TONY STINNETT, Courier Co-Editor

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.