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Commission denies Davis reappointment

By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Commission discussed appointing members for the Equalization Board during its Thursday, April 16 meeting, which led to four out of five of the former representatives renewing their terms. Representative Wayne Davis was denied reappointment on the basis that his lawsuit against the county may cause a conflict of interest.

For those who do not know the Equalization Board exists to give equal representation to each community in the county, which helps maintain fairness. Assessor Matthew Lewis presented a list of members who he would like to continue serving in his office for another two-year term. Doris Rupard represents Laurel Bloomery; Mark Wallace represents Trade, Forge Creek, Neva, and Shouns; Bill Hammons represents Mountain City; Wayne Davis represents Doe Valley and Butler; Huey Long represents Shady Valley.

“I would like to see us vote on them each individually, with all due respect to Matthew,” said Commissioner Jerry Grindstaff. “His office does a superb job, but we have one on this list that has sued the county. We are still in a lawsuit on that, and it is not feasible for him to serve, in my opinion.”

The lawsuit in question is CV#7387: Larry Wayne Davis v. Johnson County, TN. Davis’ complaint against the county focuses on A. Davis Lane, which records show was named an official county road in 1975, and records show the county has done work on said road. Davis asks the court to “declare and determine the legal rights and obligations of the parties” involved. This case was in Chancery Court but has been moved to a jury trial later in the year. Before the COVID-19 pandemic interfered, the court date was set for September 2020.

Grindstaff got his wish, and the commission voted on each candidate individually. The commission voted in Rupard, Wallace, Hammons, and Long unanimously. Davis was voted out nearly unanimously, with 13 no votes and one skip.

The Johnson County Commission now posts audio of its meetings on YouTube in light of COVID-19 limiting meeting capabilities. Anyone interested in listening to the April meeting or other upcoming meetings can tune in on the Johnson County, TN Government YouTube channel. The Johnson County Commission meets the second Thursday of each month at the Johnson County Courthouse.