Commission reorganizes, eyes redistricting

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer

A special session of the Knox County Commission Wednesday saw Richie Beeler being chosen chairman and Justin Biggs selected as vice chairman.

Beeler, the District 8 first-term commissioner, was nominated by Commissioner Dasha Lundy. Commissioner John Schoonmaker was nominated by Commissioner Charles Busler but declined the nomination and Beeler was elected by acclamation.

Schoonmaker had indicated he wanted to continue as vice chair in order to help guide Beeler’s chairmanship. When it came time for the vice chair selection, Commissioner Carson Dailey nominated Schoonmaker for that position. Surprisingly Commissioner Kyle Ward nominated Biggs.

Biggs has announced he is running for County Trustee and sometimes the “best laid plans of mice and men” don’t pan out. Biggs pulled six votes and Schoonmaker got only four.

Voting for Biggs were Ward, Beeler, Biggs, Lundy, Courtney Durrett and Randy Smith. Schoonmaker voters were himself, Busler, Dailey and Jay.

The commission then moved into selecting chairs and vice chairs for various committees. The Cable TV Committee will be chaired by Durrett and Lundy will serve as vice chair.  Durrett will also chair the Development Corporation and the vice chair will be Jay.

Schoonmaker will continue as chair of the Finance Committee with Jay as vice chair.

Schoonmaker will also chair the Legislative Committee with Busler as vice chair.

Jay will serve as chair of the Insolvency Committee with Dailey as vice chair.

The Rules Committee chair will be Lundy with Terry Hill as vice chair. Hill missed the first part of the meeting but arrived for the remainder of the session.

The Joint Education Committee will include Lundy, Durrett, Dailey and Smith.

The Reorganization Committee chair selection saw Smith nominate Ward and Hill nominate Jay. The vote split 8-2 for Ward. Durrett then nominated Smith as vice chair and he was approved by acclamation.

Sitting as chair Ward suggested inviting the chairmen of the Knox County Republican and Democratic Parties to the committee as well as the school board. That suggestion was not considered because it could bring politics into the discussions and time constraints. Redistricting Knox County must take place before January 1st and several meetings of the committee are planned.

Redistricting must take place every ten years and is based on population increases. The committee also includes Election Administrator Chris Davis, who suggested that commission districts and school board districts be the same because of confusion among parents living in one commission district but their children attending schools in a separate school district.