Questions Raised About Jim Vincent Temporarily Serving Both As County Executive And County Commission Chairman In Rhea County

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
The Rhea County May monthly commission meeting turned into a discussion of the recent appointment of Jim Vincent as the county executive as well as continuing as chairman and District 7 representative. 
 
County Attorney Carol Ann Barron addressed the commission after Mr.
Vincent
opened up the discussion on the matter.
 
 
“The important thing is to note that he is interim, and it is covered under a different statute than what a vacancy would be," she said.

  

Ms. Baron explained to the commission and the audience that while he is sitting as chairman of the commission, he has just one vote. “Because it was less than 120 days until a general election, the statute states that the chairman of the County Commission can step in as the county executive until the next general election,” said Ms. Baron. 
 
After Ms. Baron’s explanation of the statute, Mr. Vincent said he would like to take the time to make a statement. 
 
“The County Commission has honored me by electing me as chairman. If anyone else had been chairman, they could have been in this position. I am honored and excited about this on one hand, but I have grieved for George (former County Executive George Thacker). I have not taken this lightly but have worked awfully hard. I would like to thank everyone for putting their trust and confidence in me,” he said. 
 
County Attorney Baron went on to say that this all happened on Thursday afternoon late when Thacker turned in his resignation to her. “We had a bond closing for refinancing of the school loan coming up on Friday. I contacted the bond counsel to check to see if we could put this off. They told me that it would cost the county an additional $20,000 and any increase in the interest rates that would occur should the interest rates rise during the time we would be waiting. This could have cost the county millions of dollars. The only person that could sign the closing paperwork would be the county executive,” said Ms. Baron. 
 
Commissioner Sandy Francisco thanked the county attorney for explaining this. “I have had several of the people in my district call me and I really didn’t know what to tell them,” he said.  
 
Commissioner Rusty Rogers asked if the County Commission could fill the spot. 
 
Ms. Baron said that if the commission so desired to, a notice would have to be published giving the public seven days to submit a request to be considered as the county executive and then the commission would meet. She continued that nominations for county executive could be taken from the floor, but one of the county commissioners would have to nominate them.  
 
“It will take a 5-vote majority to elect someone as county executive. And if one of the persons nominated was already on the commission, they could not vote for themselves which means we could have a tie,” said Ms. Baron. She said the commission could do this, but it would be better to wait and let the election take care of the matter since it was only 70 days away until the Aug. 4 general election. 
 
Community activist June Griffin called out from the audience and said the county needed to hold a special election. Ms Baron said that it would cost too much and there would be a general election in August. Ms. Griffin retorted back that the commission "seems to come up with money for other things so why can’t they for a special election."

  

Commissioner Jim Reed told the commission and audience, “We all work together. We are like a family. We may have our squabble and discussions like family and have a difference of opinion with each other. But in the end, we all work together for the good of the county.” 
 
In other action, the commission approved the leasing of the election commission offices to the Herald News. County Executive Vincent said the election commission had run out of room in their current space and were being moved into the old Circuit Court offices in the old courthouse. No date has been set for the move of the election commission offices. The contract with the Herald is for five years and will be $2,000 a month with a two percent increase every year of the contract after the first one. 
 
Commissioners set a June 30 date for a special meeting of the budget committee at 5 p.m. with a special called meeting at 5:30 p.m. to clear up any budget amendments that need to be done to balance the budget. 

Police Blotter: Neighbors Argue Over Kids Damaging Car With Basketball; Man Passed Out At Waffle House Is Just Tired

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Police Blotter: Neighbors Argue Over Kids Damaging Car With Basketball; Man Passed Out At Waffle House Is Just Tired

A man on Alexis Circle told police the kids across the street were playing basketball and hit his vehicle, denting it. He said he confronted the father of the kids about the incident. The father said it was not possible due to the damage of the vehicle being on top of the trunk, not the front of the trunk. However, if the man could show him video footage of his kids damaging his ... (click for more)

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