Interim Election Leader To Be Appointed Thursday

TONY STINNETT, Courier Co-Editor

The Cannon County Election Commission will appoint an interim Administrator of Elections when it meets Thursday at 5:30 p.m., at the Cannon County Election Commission Office.

The commissioners will continue Monday's recessed meeting, which resulted in the firing of Administrator of Elections Stan Dobson by a 3-2 vote. Jackie Gannon (D) made the motion to fire Dobson and Louise Mayo (R) seconded. Gannon, Mayo and Sue Patrick (D) voted in favor. Matt Studd (R) and Lindburgh Dennis (R) opposed.

Patrick said a "temporary" replacement will be named Thursday and will handle the responsibilities of the position until after the upcoming Aug. 2 election, less than one month away. Early voting begins July 13.

"The timing is not ideal," Patrick said. "Nothing has been decided but I would believe we would be looking at a temporary replacement until after this (upcoming) election. (Deputy administrator) Dorinda Mankin is handling the day-to-day responsibilities in the office. She's running the office at this time."

Former Administrator of Elections Mary Lynn Bush has been mentioned as a possible replacement in the interim. She confirmed Tuesday that she would be interested in the position if considered. Her experience as a certified administrator is a plus with the election on the horizon.

Studd said the timing of Dobson's firing shows "lack of maturity" on the behalf of those who voted in favor of his discharge from office.

"It is reckless and very self serving that they would take a political hit like this and put the citizen's votes of this county in jeapordy because they are placing the election with a temporary administrator," Studd said. "Thank goodness we have a very responsible deputy in (Mankin), but she will have her hands full."

"Unprofessional conduct" was the reason given for Dobson's firing, according to Patrick. The election commission had become "the laughing stock and joke of the county," according to Gannon.

Under the advice of his attorney, Dobson had little comment on the issue Tuesday. He did say he was caught off guard by the decision.

"It did surprise me," Dobson said. "I thought I did my job the way it should be done. I can't comment on anything more than that. My attorney has told me not to say anything more."

Studd said the Cannon County Election Commission was in compliance at the state level and scored very high in that area.

"Nashville rates all of the counties based on compliance," Studd said. "We have scored very high. We are one of several counties not written up or flagged for misconduct and that reflects well on (Dobson and Mankin)."

Studd said the firing was politically motivated and stemmed from Dobson and Studd asking the state election commission to remove Mayo as a republican representative because she was more aligned with the two democrats.

"I asked if any of the commissioners had any examples of misconduct by Stan Dobson and there were no comments," Studd said. "This was a preplanned event for some of them and they were all on the same page. This is the concern I wrote to the state commission about before. We don't have three republicans on the commission. We have three democrats. Everyone has the right to vote their conscience but the way you vote does cast light on which side of the fence you are on with regard to the issues. (Mayo) is more aligned with (democrats Gannon and Patrick than republicans Studd and Dennis). The motives were very clear."

Early voting begins July 13 and runs through July 28. Early voting dates are as follows: July 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25 and 27th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The three Saturdays are July 14, 21 and 28 from 9 a.m. to noon. The late day is June 26th from 4-7 p.m. Nursing home voting will be July 26 at 10 a.m.