LETTER: Response To Matthew Studd's Letter To The Editor

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I was shocked when reading Mr. Studd’s recent letter that he would choose to belittle other members of the election commission committee.  It seemed so unprofessional of him and downright tacky to put a letter in the Courier about the way they voted on this matter. To settle the disagreement with other committee members, Studd should have done discussed the matter with other committee members in private and kept it out of the paper. The real reason they changed their mind on the original vote was because they were misinformed by the Administrator, Stan Dobson. It takes guts and backbone to admit you made a mistake and then take steps to reverse it, rather than go along with the good ole boy or buddy system we see a lot of today.  

In Studd’s letter, he mentioned that some citizens who attended the public meeting were rude or short-sighted.  I will agree that some may have been rude but Mr. Studd should tell the whole story and not just the parts that sound good. He failed to tell about Mr. Dobson cursing the Committee member, Sue Patrick, at the table where they sat. He also failed to tell about Mr. Dobson wanting the committee members to go into another room and have private discussions (which would have been against the Sunshine Law and Patrick made mention of to the other members). Studd also did not tell the readers about Mr. Dobson telling the citizens that there were going to ‘pay for this’ in an angry and hateful voice; nor was Mr. Dobson’s cursing fit mentioned that occurred when the members returned to the Election office and Dobson had to be put in his place by another committee member. I think he should have been fired that night for his insubordination. He acted worse that the citizens who attended the meeting.  

Studd said in his letter that ever citizen should work harder to look at the ‘Big Picture’ regarding taxes. If you are serious about the taxes in this county Mr. Studd, there is one simple and easy way that you can help. Dobson doesn’t live in Cannon County. He doesn’t pay taxes in our county and doesn’t have to buy wheel tax stickers either. I urge you to get together with the other committee members and find someone who owns a home and lives in Cannon County. You would be helping keep our tax dollars in the county. I admit that this will take guts and backbone to get it done but show Cannon County citizens it can be done!  

It makes me mad to think about Mr. Dobson having a job in a county building the taxpayers keep up and pay him $51,000 per year and he doesn’t even live in our County. Someone needs to do something about this because it is ridiculous. It is my understanding that a member of the McCall family was present for the meeting.  I don’t know what that was about, maybe for moral support or maybe he wanted the job, if Mr. Dobson wasn’t hired. I do know that the McCall’s do not need to come to our election meetings to persuade anyone about anything. We have citizens driving through town every morning going to Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Nashville, and Lavergne for their jobs. I would think that we could find jobs here in the county. I would think we could find one of those people qualified to be the Administrator of Elections instead of hiring someone out of our county.  We could keep our tax dollars in the county.  

I urge the commissioners in your next regular meeting to put something in place so this doesn’t happen again. I would like something put in place that anyone appointed or elected to an office in our county should live here, pay land taxes, buy wheel tax stickers, and not just have a PO Box in our county.  

To the good citizens of Cannon County, I urge you to attend the county meetings when you can because the paper can’t tell the whole story. Also, you need to call or see the committee members and commissioners let them know how you feel about someone living in Wilson County running our Elections office.  

Mr. Studd the letter that committee member Patrick prepared to send to Mark Goins in Nashville sums it all up.  The Election Administrator misled all of you about the law and about the second district voting illegally. I would like to commend the three committee members for standing up and making a mistake right again. These members not only stood up for Short Mtn but for all of the citizens of Cannon County. I think we should have more people like these three to stand up for our citizens. I personally thank each one of you. To the Short Mtn community, I thank all of you for helping; each of you should be proud of yourself for standing up and righting a wrong.  Lastly, a special thanks for our 4th District Commissioner, Tony Neal, for his support and help.  

Thanks, Ronald Lawson

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February 06, 2012 at 3:59pm
Have we not beaten this dead horse into the ground enough?

I encourage everyone to let it go and move on.

Also, it would help greatly if people would take the time to understand the laws of the state and what actually can and cannot be done by our local government.

1. The Election Commissioner is appointed by our State Senator Mae Beavers and not by the County Commissioners.

2. The Cannon County Commissioners have no authority to appoint or fire anyone holding that position.

3. The salary the Election Commissioner is paid is set by the State of Tennessee as are the salaries of most of the elected officials in Cannon County. There is absolutely nothing any County Commissioner can do to make a change in that salary.

4. As I recollect, Matt Studd was not the only member of the election commission who chose to write a letter to the editor or make comments on this site about how the commissioners voted. I don't recall any of them being told they should have kept quite or being called unprofessional for doing the EXACT same thing.

A lot of people said a lot of things. There were a lot of different opinions and ideas around what could have been done, should have been done or what people wanted done.

At the end of the day it is over and the only ones who actually suffered in this was the Cannon County taxpayer so 140 or so people didn't have to drive a few more miles than they had done in the past!
February 06, 2012 at 4:53pm
"The real reason they changed their mind on the original vote was because they were misinformed by the Administrator, Stan Dobson."

I am curious to know exactly what information it is thought Mr. Dobson provided which was not accurate. He said the state wants people to vote at polling places within their precincts. Is that not true? He said the state wants polling places in every precinct. Is that not true? The plan voted on during the November meeting met both of those requirements. The revised plan has people voting not only outside of their precincts, but outside of their districts as well.
February 06, 2012 at 8:51pm
I would like to know how many County Election Administrators were replaced in what seems to be an effort by the GOP to gain control of local election offices? Did Beavers or the GOP carry Short Mnt? Maybe the former Administrator should sue Beavers for being replaced! Yes, Corey, I know that Beavers and Prody could not do wrong in your mind. If our "great" state officals only come to Cannon County to cause trouble perhaps they should stay in Nashville.
February 06, 2012 at 9:37pm
I am just curious as to why this pot is being stirred again. Did the few people who screamed in opposition to changing polling places not get what they wanted when 3 Election Commissioners caved in and changed their votes? Is this just a "pick on" Mr. Dobson ploy because he is doing a good job in his position as Election Administrator to insure that the citizens of Cannon County have fair and legal elections? As I understand it, consolidating some polling places to save the County taxpayers money was the idea and request of the Election Commissioners and Mr. Dobson was only carrying out their instructions.

As far as Mr. Dobson living out of the county, there is no law that requires the Administrator to reside in the county where they are appointed. Since Mr. Dobson lives just over the county line and works in Woodbury everyday, I assume that he buys gas, buys lunch, and several other things that contribute to the taxes paid to this county - better that Cannon gets his money than some other county don't you think. By the way, his ancestors were some of the founding members of Cannon County and his roots go very deep into the soil of this area.

Mr. Lawson, I attended the Election Commission meeting you are speaking of and I heard no profanity or disrespect from Mr. Dobson. Naturally his frustration level was very high at the useless work put on his office to redo the original orders of the Election Commission. He well knows the costs to the taxpayers and was very opposed to the mess made by the flip flopping of three commissioners.

Also Mr. Lawson, I don't know what meeting you attended, but I saw no one that looked to me like they were from the "McCall family"?? And really, what does that have to do with anything. I don't understand your anger and vindictiveness. What is your problem now that you apparently got your way about the polling places? Just be happy that you live in a county where laws are followed and every effort is being made to secure the integrity of the voting process.
February 07, 2012 at 7:58am
ncstl several County Election Commissioners were replaced when the GOP gained control over the Legislature all over the state.

Just like they will be replaced if the Democrats gain control back.

It is one of the perks of being in control and something BOTH parties do almost immediately when they gain control.

To answer your question Mae Beavers carried the entire county during the last election she ran in and if they stayed in Nashville then I am sure you and many others would be complaining about never seeing them so it is a catch 22.

I don't think either Mrs. Beavers or Mr. Pody are flawless at all. I just know the reality that neither of them had anything to do with changing the polling places in Cannon County.

That was originally done by a unanimous vote by both Democrats and Republicans. Something everyone seems to forget.
February 07, 2012 at 1:11pm

In response to:

"Also, it would help greatly if people would take the time to understand the laws of the state and what actually can and cannot be done by our local government.

1. The Election Commissioner is appointed by our State Senator Mae Beavers and not by the County Commissioners.

2. The Cannon County Commissioners have no authority to appoint or fire anyone holding that position. "

I'm not an attorney but I think you should read Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-12-201 (2011). According to this, the administrator of elections IS actually appointed and/or fired by the county election commission. Officials such as Mae Beavers can make "recommendations" to suit thier own political agenda but they do not do the hiring and firing. Now with the actual commissioners, that's an entirely different story. They are appointed and approved by the state and such officials. If you will also read this article "http://www.cannoncourier.com/election-commission-reappoints-administrator-cms-5181" on this website where the commission voted to "appoint" Dobson for 2 more years you'll see that he is also appointed by our commission and not the state. And if you also read this article from Crossville (Cumberland County, TN)"http://crossville-chronicle.com/local/x960648690/York-appointed-as-administrator-of-elections" you'll see how this process can be a very political mess. As far as Dobsons salary, yes you are correct that it is set by the state. According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-12-208 (2011), the salary of administrator of elections is to be no less than 90% of the base salary of the Assessor of Property in the county, which his salary is determined by classification of the county, Cannon County being a Class 5 county based on 2010 population.

You're right, it would greatly help if people would take the time to understand the laws of the state and what can and cannot be done by our local government.
February 07, 2012 at 5:59pm
CCYT what I stated above is absolutely correct. The Cannon County Commissioners have no authority to appoint Election Commissioners. They are appointed by the State and not the county government.

According to state law under Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 2-12-101, "The state election commission shall appoint, on the first Monday in April of each odd-numbered year, five election commissioners for each county, for terms of two years and until their successors are appointed and qualified. The five commissioners shall be the county election commission."

TCA 2-12-103 subsection b, 4 states, "Before appointing county election commissioners, the members of the state election commission shall consult with the members of the general assembly serving each of the counties as to the persons to be appointed to the county election commissions."

The only thing that is incorrect in my first post was in refrencing the position Stanley Dobson currently retains I used the title "Election Commissioner" instead of his correct title which is "Election Administrator" when talking about how his salary was determined. On that part I stand corrected.

Everything else is 100% correct and I appreciate you taking the time to actually confirm exactly what I stated. I am glad to see someone actually research something for a change. I find it quite refreshing!

Have a good day!

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