Binding Referendums on County Government

Lincoln County Home Rule Charter provides an opportunity for county citizens to have their voice heard by having county referendums pursuant to Tenn Code Ann 2-5-151.
This is a very important feature of the Lincoln County Home Rule Charter allowing any registered voter in Lincoln County to start the petition process described below:

2-5-151. Petitions for recall, referendum or initiative.
Any governmental entity having a charter provision for a petition for recall, referendum or initiative or any person acting pursuant to such charter provision shall meet the requirements of this section. Before a petition may be circulated, at least one (1) registered voter of the city or county shall file with the county election commission:

(1) The proper form of the petition; and

(2) The text of the question posed in the petition.
This allows the citizens of Lincoln County to have the right to redress any action by the Lincoln County Government. Under the current county government the redress of county government is very limited. The charter requires that a petition to be approved and be put on the next general election ballot for a referendum have signatures of county register voters equal to 7% of the voters in Lincoln County who voted in the last gubernatorial election in Lincoln County (approximately 650.) The referendum will be binding on the Lincoln County Government. The Lincoln County Home Rule Charter does not allow for special elections and has a requirement that if any petition has been certified, if the petition addresses a past action of the Lincoln County Government, per section 9.15 of the Home Rule Charter, (the measure that is the subject of the referendum shall be rendered not in effect, there will be a stoppage of work or activity and all funding to the measure suspended, pending the outcome of the referendum.)

Found at Section 9.14. Petitions for Recall, Referendum, and Initiative to be Applicable.

Advance Availability of Meeting Materials

Currently this information is not available to the citizens.

The Home Rule Charter requires that this information be posted on the Lincoln County Website or be available in the County Clerk’s office three (3) days before a county commission meeting.

Found at Section 2.11.B. Meetings and Quorum.

Term Limits for Commissioners and County Mayor

The Home Rule Charter set 2 – four year terms for county commissioner and county mayor. They cannot seek election again until out of the office for 4 years.

Policy and budget makers should be citizens who want to do their civic duty but not become career politicians.

No other elected county officials will be affected by the Lincoln County Home Rule Charter term limit requirement.

Found at Section 2.03. Membership and Election.

Found at 3.04. Term, Qualifications, and Compensation.

Adopts TN Strict Conflict of Interest Rule

The director, purchasing agent, members of the committee, members of the county legislative body, or other officials, employees, or members of the board of education or highway commission shall not have any financial interest or have any personal beneficial interest, either directly or indirectly, in the purchase of any supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services for the county.

Found at Section 12.03. Conflict of Interest.

Reduction To Nine County Commissioners

Tennessee state law requires a minimum of 9 and allows maximum of 25 commissioners.

To be in compliance with Tennessee State the Home Rule Charter is requiring one per district (8 districts) and one commissioner will run county-wide, at large.

Total commissioners shall be 9 as opposed to the 24 we have now.

After phase-in of the Home Rule Charter the commissioner will have even numbers elected in one election cycle and odd numbers elected in a different election cycle.

The terms of office will still be 4 years but this will allow for continuity in the County Commission.

Found at Section 2.03.B. Membership and Election.

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