IDB Goes 'Global' Tuesday Night

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

The Cannon County Industrial Development Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday (Aug. 7) at 6 p.m.

While meetings of the IDB are usually held at the Cannon County Courthouse, this month’s meeting will be held at the facility of a local business, Global Industrial Components, which is located at 705 College St.

September’s meeting will also be held at the location of a local industry, Crane Interiors on Alexander Drive.

The agenda for this Tuesday’s meeting has the IDB discussing, under Old Business, a Mission Statement, Business Cards/Brochure, THC Select and PC Disposal (rent/monthly lease status), Web Page update, Humane Society Property and Rotation of Members.

Stan Dobson is also scheduled to give an update, while the status of the Southern Automotive Conference on Oct. 11 and 12 will also be discussed.

New business includes IDB Check Signing Authority, Status of Meeting with the Rutherford County CC/IDB and Crane Interiors’ request for Building Repairs and Maintenance.

The IDB may also be losing a member as the result of recent changes to another county government body.

IDB Secretary and Cannon County Republican Party Chairman Corey Davenport was recently appointed to the Cannon County Election Commission by the State Election Commission, after he was recommended by State Sen. Mae Beavers.

Being chairman of the local Republic Party does not preclude Davenport from serving on the Election Commission.

However, Davenport was, in June, also appointed to the Cannon County IDB.

According to Cannon County Attorney Mike Corley, Davenport may not be eligible to serve on both boards.

The IDB was recently revamped after it was learned several of its members, including County Commissioner Mark Barker and Cannon County EMS Director Ricky Cope, could not serve because they were either elected officials, or worked for the county.

According to state law, “No (IDB) director shall be an officer or an employee of a municipality.”

The Cannon County Commission appoints members to the IDB. Commissioners must determine whether election commission members are state or county employees with respect to the eligibility requirements of the IDB, and whether an election commissioner is considered a county “officer” under the IDB statute.
As an election commissioner, Davenport receives compensation from the county for serving.

According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 2-1-112(a): "Neither an elected official nor an employee of a state, county, municipal or federal governmental body or agency or of an elected official may serve as a member of a county election commission or as a member of a county primary board or as an election official. No candidate in an election may act in connection with that election as a member of any board or commission or an election official."

IDB members, however, do not receive compensation for their service, are not government employees, and therefore are eligible to serve on an election commission if they meet all other criteria. The issues in this instance are whether a compensated election commission member can also serve on the IDB and whether they are county officers.

Then-State Attorney General Paul Summers addressed a similar matter in Franklin County in 2002 and wrote in an opinion:

“It is not clear whether membership on the county election commission is an "elected or appointed office within the county" within the meaning of Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-8-406. This Office has concluded that membership in a county election commission is a state office for some purposes. Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 79-72 (February 20, 1979).

“But a county election commission is extensively involved in every part of the election process within the county. This Office has noted that Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-8-406, when read literally, seems to include any office - city, county, or state - within the county limits. Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. U94-95 (July 8, 1994).

“Further, the county commission is generally required to fund the operations of the election commission, except for expenses related to certain city, state, and federal elections. Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-12-109. When the General Assembly amended the county election commission statutes in 1986, it expressly provided that county election commissions were subject to county purchasing and budgetary laws, and also stated that '[n]othing in this act shall be construed as conferring upon any county election commission . . . status as a state employee.' 1986 Tenn. Pub. Acts Ch. 930, Section 5 (now codified at Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-12-210).

“For all these reasons, a court could well conclude that Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-8-406 prohibits a member of the Franklin County Election Commission from serving on the Franklin County Civil Service Board.”

According to CTAS, the County Technical Assistance Service, "A minimum compensation for members of the county election commission is specified by statute and varies according to the population of the county. These amounts may be increased in any county by resolution of the county legislative body. In order to trigger the daily rate, a commissioner must work at least one hour in any given 24 hour period, but payment is made for meetings lasting less than one hour if they are required by statute, budget preparation, or litigation. T.C.A. § 2-12-108."