Despite Public Pleas For A Democratic Process, Williamson County Commission Appoints Ousted GOP Chair To District 10 Seat

Image Credit: Williamson County Television & Republican Women of Williamson County / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –

In what some critics are calling an “unmitigated power grab” most of the Williamson County Commission voted to install ousted Williamson County GOP Chair Cheryl Brown into the vacated District 10 seat. 

This week, at the monthly meeting of the Williamson County Commission, former GOP chair Cheryl Brown was appointed despite several appeals from county residents that the commission defer the vote until a nominee of the people’s choosing could be established and submitted.

In front of a packed house Monday night, several county residents both Democrat and Republican, expressly requested that the commission defer the appointment of anyone to the recently vacated District 10 seat, since there was a public notice from the Williamson County elections commission, that there would be an open election for the seat in November. 

The law in Tennessee states that the public only be made aware that a vacancy has occurred, and not that there be any mention if the Commission intended to circumvent the public’s opportunity to self-select a nominee and make their own appointment instead. 

Additionally, the WCRP Chairman, Tracy Miller, informed the commission via email, that they would be holding their own caucus for the seat next month, and that process would also produce a candidate of the D10 residents choosing.

Speaking on behalf of the WCRP was Elliott Franklin, who serves on the Executive Committee, who encouraged the commission to differ, he delivered the following remarks:

“On behalf of the Williamson County Republican Party County Executive Committee, I am here tonight to request that you defer the appointment of a D10 commissioner.  This request is based on the precedent set with the D7 vacancy in 2022 as well as the recent sheriff vacancy. In order to meet the August 15th nominee deadline, our chair, Dr. Tracy Miller and the rest of the board were unable to be here tonight as they are conducting our board meeting to ensure that we meet this requirement and comply with the TNGOP bylaws.

The problem, as the WCRP perceives it, is that when you, as a political body, “defer,” it suggests that you somehow lack the support for a candidate who is being “expedited” or “temporarily placed” into a vacated position. 

This assumption may be false. 

However, a procedural appointment can be interpreted as a situation where we cannot entrust our constituents. 

Fortunately, in Williamson County, we can.

When we ask to hold a convention, it is to give our candidates the full weight of the Republican (R) behind their names.  We want to be able to say that they went against all challengers and were fairly elected to this position.  In addition, we understand that this will come at considerable cost.  But it is worth it.

The County Commission should rely on democratic process and not upon bureaucratic procedures.”

Thus, in the next several weeks both parties are going to set about their democratic processes and select the candidate they would like to see be elected to the open seat. 

Along with many conservatives in the room, were some prominent Democrats who also implored the commission to allow the people to speak via the ballot box. 

Peggy Kingsbury, the Chair of the Williamson County Democrat Party expressed her desire to see the commission not interfere with the process, and agreed with one of the conservative speakers by adding to the end of her comments..”I live in District 10.. and I agree on this an ask that you give us a chance in District 10 to select our county commissioner”. 

Of the 20 comment opportunities that were provided, there seemed to be an even distribution between those who identified as Democrat and Republican.

There were also those who spoke in favor of the appointment, all of whom identified as personal longtime friends of Cheryl Brown.

D10 County Commissioner Meghan Guffee who nominated Brown for the appointment, made her case for appointment based on the fact that knowing the vacancy would be imminent. 

Guffee explained that she and her retiring counterpart went about interviewing who they believed would be best suited for the position, and Cheryl Brown was who they decided on after several interviews with what Guffee described as “several quality candidates”. 

Guffee continued with her argument that it would hurt the voting process that takes place on the commission if the seat is left vacant for another 3 months. 

Commissioner Mary Smith of District 5 commented, “ I do think it’s important to let the people have a voice, I think that’s one of the reasons I know when I ran for my election that was one of the things I was asked was that if there was a potential for the voters to have a voice, in who represents them, would I allow that to happen? And I think it’s important to allow that to happen”. 

Smith then motioned to defer the appointment because there is a 120-day window the law gives for such decisions to be made. Smith asked to defer the issue until the September meeting, (County Commission takes August off) and that not enough time would lapse to cause any harm to the regular business of the commission. 

Smith pointed out that the commission regularly has absences for various reasons, (two members were absent last night due to family issues) and that they have always managed in spite of these occurrences. 

By that time, the voters would have had an opportunity to have their own processes and choose their own nominee. 

After a few more comments, the motion to defer was called and the following commissioners voted NOT to defer the appointment and appoint Brown: Commissioners Judy Herbert, Jennifer mason, Paul Webb, Chas Morton, Meghan Guffee, Sean Aiello, Brian Clifford, Betsy Hester, Greg Sanford, David O’Neil, Tom Tunnecliffe, Brian Beathard, and Steve Smith. 

Those who voted yes to defer, in order to allow for the public to exercise their right to have a choice through democratic process were: Gregg Lawrence, Mary Smith, Barb Sturgeon, Lisa Hayes, Jeff Graves, Pete Stresser, Drew Torres, and Chris Richards. 

All that was left after the motion to defer failed, was to vote for the immediate nomination and appointment of Brown to the seat. 

Please refer to the graphic below, to see which of the commissioners voted to appoint Brown, versus taking the time to allow the voters an opportunity to choose their own representative. 

Brown was sworn in by Mayor Anderson and was empowered to make decisions on behalf of D10, without a single ballot being cast. 

Please review the meeting here in its entirety for a reference and more in-depth information. 

About the Author: Kelly Jackson is an escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers, she has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member.  An outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty, Kelly also has a YouTube channel @Tennessee_Truth_Teller and is planning on expanding out to other channels soon. Kelly can be reached at kelly@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

9 thoughts on “Despite Public Pleas For A Democratic Process, Williamson County Commission Appoints Ousted GOP Chair To District 10 Seat

  • July 10, 2024 at 6:07 pm
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    What was a shame was that both the Democratic party and the Republican party officially agreed that deferring the vote was the best, fairest step to take. But 14 county commissioners disagreed with that logic that would have allowed the voice of the people to be heard. Additionally interesting was that in another vote earlier in the meeting for a vacancy on the school board, the county commission voted to allow the vacancy to continue. Kinda underscores that this was, indeed, a power grab. Meanwhile, District 10 now has a county commissioner citizens didn’t vote for.

    Reply
    • July 12, 2024 at 1:12 pm
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      The school board election will be decided in just a few weeks so the delay was very short and within the 120 day deadline

      The timing of filling the 2 vacancies is different

      The election to fill the commissioner seat will not take place before the required deadline so there was no reason to delay as no election would have taken place in time for the requested September delay

      The 2 political parties will have caucused by September … but which of the 2 parties nominees should then be appointed before the election?!

      Appointing the Dem or the GOP nominee prior to the election would be clear election interference

      Reply
  • July 10, 2024 at 8:02 pm
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    Thanks to Kelly Jackson. Great article!!! We can’t count on the other “Journalists”.

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  • July 10, 2024 at 9:42 pm
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    Archive that vote Williamson Countians for there you have a nice visual of the ideological makeup of the county commission. The “NO”/”ABSTAIN” votes were cast by the conservatives on the commission. Let’s add to their number ASAP!

    Reply
  • July 11, 2024 at 12:19 am
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    Thank you for this very informative story. We will be following this closely. (Looking at you Williamson County Commission)

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    • July 11, 2024 at 10:10 pm
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      This cannot be allowed to happen. Keep us informed and make us aware of what needs to be done!!! Good information.

      Reply
  • July 12, 2024 at 1:01 pm
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    Power grab? Who grabbed power?

    This process is 100% standard, the way vacancies have always been filled and to paint the usual, normal process as a “power grab” (by whom?) is a disservice

    Please don’t create or support drama or conspiracy theories when this was simply SOP … the filling of a vacancy until the election can be held

    The parties will nominate their candidates, independents will file, the election will be held. The people will of District 10 will make their voices heard in the normal manner

    If they deferred until September, would they seat the Dem or the a Republican nominee? Or Independents who are running?

    What if they deferred until September and then chose to seat the Dem candidate? Or an Independent?

    Whomever they seated in September, the nominee from one of the parties or an independent who may file to run, it would be election interference for one of the candidates in the upcoming election to be given the seat

    The process is an interim appointee while the election which fully allows for the democratic process and for the people to choose

    The ridiculous display at the meeting was not a power grab … it was a petty attempt to power grab by the current establishment Republicans and they were forced to instead follow normal operating procedure rather than have a person they nominate be installed prior to the election

    Has Anyone ever complained about this process before? Has Anyone ever thought it was a “Power Grab” to have the elected commissioners appoint an interim commissioner before this drama created by political insiders?

    Reply
    • July 12, 2024 at 3:06 pm
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      You seem to understand Williamson politics. Is Williamson County run by a Political Machine?

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    • July 12, 2024 at 3:18 pm
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      Interesting that Meghan Guffee chose the ex-Williamson GOP Chairman who was defeated by the largest vote ever in TN GOP history (600 people turned out to vote). Why was she selected? Makes me think the Political Machine (all the people who voted for her – see the vote above) support her and would like to have her run the Williamson GOP again.

      Is Meghan Guffee related to Judge Guffee who has proposed a $90 million luxury Juvenile Center that is 5 times larger than currently, when the latest report doesn’t show any factual justification? There’s an article about it at https://tennesseeconservativenews.com/proposed-jail-in-williamson-county-to-be-most-expensive-in-tennessee-requiring-substantial-debt-or-property-tax-increase/
      The existing facility has 12 beds and the average “Population” is only 9. Yet she wants a 100,000 sf facility and I’ve been told the plans have private restrooms for every office and conference room. Is that true?

      Reply

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