An election for two seats on the Rogersville City Board of Education slipped the minds of Town officials last year. The forgotten election was allegedly discovered by Rogersville Review reporter Bill Grubb following the August resignation of Eddie Terry from the board. (Terry resigned after his wife, Sherry Terry, was appointed Director of Rogersville City Schools replacing Ravan Krickbaum, who retired.)
Rogersville Review reported:
“A simple human error” kept city residents from voting on two school board seats in the November 2006 election but the seats will be on the 2008 ballot, according to city officials.
“All I can say is this was just one of those things that was lost in the shuffle,” Mayor Jim Sells said.
In November 2006, the seat held by school board member Joyce Simon was on the ballot. Seats held by Eddie Terry, who was appointed to fill the term left vacant by the death of Dudley Cupp, and Frank Testerman should have also been included in the election.
“That was definitely an oversight,” Administrator of Elections Peggy Fleenor said last week. “Seats one and two on their board should have been on the ballot but the city did not instruct us to do that. It was their responsibility to notify us what offices to include on the ballot.”
The oversight has enraged some residents, particularly those who endorsed RCS principal Bill Walker for the position of Director. They are now questioning the validity of Director Terry’s appointment and requesting (1) a special election be held immediately and (2) the appointment of Director be declared null and void and process repeated with a legally elected board.
Several of these folks allege the oversight was intentional. They suggest city leaders were aware of Krickbaum’s retirement in advance. For this reason, they purportedly made a conscious decision to leave Testerman and Terry in place. This would, in theory, ensure Ms. Terry’s appointment and provide leaders the option of appointing Mr. Terry’s successor.
You know, I hate to be the one who throws a monkey wrench into the conspiracy theory BUT let’s not forget that during the `06 election, there weren’t a lot of candidates clamoring for seats. In fact, there was just one. Joyce Simon ran unopposed securing 99.64% of the vote. (There were three write-in candidates. )
Mr. Terry abstained from voting during the selection process for Director. This leaves the “voided” vote of expired-term board member Testerman. With a five person board, the outcome would not have changed.
And while adding elections to the ballot was the Town’s responsibility, the citizens didn’t remember either. This indicates to me folks are not consistently concerned or aware of the issues of and before the city school board, and the noise being made at this time is primarily for the purpose of highlighting the failures of current leadership. This is all well and good – there’s nothing wrong with holding officials accountable for being derelict in their duties (and yes, I would consider forgetting an election slightly derelict.)
However any special election, held in absence of any county, state or federal election, would have to be funded entirely by the municipality. The estimated cost of holding a special election to replace convicted TN Senator Ward Crutchfield = $30,000 to $40,000.
While I realize this election is “for the Kids,” here is your bottom line, Rogersville: Considering one lone candidate, Ms. Simon, filed for the available seat in 2006 and ran unopposed and assuming that the outcomes and decisions of the current board would remain the same: is it worth $40,000 to host these elections 12 months earlier than is now scheduled? What say you, Rogersville?