County To Seek Judge's Ruling On How 1941 Act Applies Today

  • Wednesday, July 10, 2024

County Commission Chairman Jeff Eversole said he wants a judge to rule on what validity the 1941 private act relating to Hamilton County government still has.

"This issue keeps rearing its ugly head and I want it solved," he said.

Chairman Eversole said he wants a list of questions to be compiled relating to that act, which set up the old county judge and County Council, and the 1978 Act that set up the county mayor/County Commission form of government.

The questions would be submitted to a judge for a declaratory judgment.

Chairman Eversole said he wants the full commission to be involved in compiling questions.

Commissioner David Sharpe said recently he had been studying the 1941 Act and believes it has a number of provisions that should still be followed, but are not being utilized. He said it gives the County Commission members additional powers that they have not been exercising.

He said commissioners could have liability for not living up to their responsibilities under the 1941 Act.

Commissioner Sharpe prepared an organizational chart, based on the 1941 Act, that made a number of changes from the current setup, including placing the chief of staff under the commission instead of the county mayor.

There was a commission vote favoring the current organizational setup as opposed to the Sharpe one.

Commissioner Joe Graham said he did not think a declaratory judgment was needed, saying the county had for decades operated as it does now. He said it "should be smooth sailing" after the commission opted for the current organizational chart.

Chairman Eversole said, "We need to get this decided. We'll have to live with whatever the judge says."

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said an opinion had not been received from the state attorney general's office, but one came from the attorney for CTAS (County Technical Assistance Service).

He said that opinion stated that the 1941 Act "is still good law," but that portions of it that conflict with Chapters 1, 5 and 6 of Title 5 of the TCA are no longer valid.  

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