By Elaine Davis


The Halls Republican Club met Monday and voted to elect and install its officers for the 2020 year. Janice Crye was elected to double-duty as the secretary and treasurer. Buddy Burkhardt will serve as vice president and Bob Crye as president. Judge Scott Green officiated the oath of office.


Charles Busler, 7th District commissioner who is serving on the charter review committee, polled the large number of attendees whether they preferred having the law director be appointed or elected. One person rhetorically asked if the issue hadn’t already been decided many times before. Overwhelmingly folks raised their hands in support of electing the law director.


The meeting allowed for the candidates for public defender to stump for votes. Rhonda Lee spoke first and highlighted her work ethic by obtaining her undergraduate degree later in life while working and being a mother. She was able to graduate from law school by commuting to Nashville for four years. Ms. Lee would like to ensure that the social workers assigned to cases in the public defender’s office could be expanded to private attorneys assigned to represent individuals in indigent cases as well. Despite not receiving the appointment during a thorough vetting process, Ms. Lee informed the crowd that Governor Lee encouraged her to run.


Eric Lutton, who is currently serving as the public defender, followed. Mr. Lutton started out as a staff attorney, was promoted to team leader and was appointed by Governor Lee. Mr. Lutton stated that his office has won an award for innovation from the American Bar Association and Harvard Law School has been studying the office as one to be imitated nationwide.


The candidates for property assessor were next to speak, however Tina Marshall was not able to be present. John Whitehead, seeking re-election, asked the group who had voted yet since early voting is underway and then jokingly told the crowd he was only talking to those that hadn’t raised their hand. Mr. Whitehead has worked in the property assessor’s office for over 28 years. He touted not only his experience but his qualifications and certifications. As well as being certified to testify as an expert witness and winning 21 out of 21 appeals, he has been endorsed by the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors.