In another tough vote, Doug Vickers was selected during the Nov. 19 County Commission meeting to fill the fourth district seat vacated by the October resignation of Jerry Brandon.
Debbie Lee Wright also put her name in for consideration, and both candidates spoke to the group prior to voting. With Angie Hern absent, there were 16 members present. When votes were tallied, there were seven for Wright and nine for Vickers.
Because the commission consists of 18 seats, typically a total of 10 votes is needed to pass a “simple majority” roll call. Chairman Ward Plant declared that, lacking a 10-vote majority, the seat could not be filled. Commissioner Rocky Presson challenged this, asserting that in a body of only 17 members, with no one occupying the 18th seat, nine votes comprise a majority.
It took several intense moments of discussion, consulting with attorney Shon Johnson, and a brief recess for further review before deciding what to do. Plant advised that under the circumstances, “Robert’s Rules of Order” direct that nine votes did represent a majority and entitled Vickers to win the fourth district seat.
Once the new commissioner was sworn in, the meeting proceeded with little additional drama. Plant clearly upped his game from previous meetings, officiating without mishap or delay due to procedural problems.
On advice from Johnson, who had been asked to research the matter during the October meeting, the body voted unanimously to rescind last year’s resolution to decrease the size of the county commission, effective Sept. 2022, from 18 to 12 members and stagger terms of district representatives. Other approved resolutions included:
Within the budget of each dept., organization, or fund: Budgeted funds received of $4,4745.68 to the Library, $2,444 to the Animal Shelter, $2,195.10 to Schools, $475 to the Medical Examiner, $19,096.16 to the Sheriff’s Dept., $146 to the Senior Citizens’ Center, $18,126.82 to Fund 178, and $65,292 to Fund 189.
Transferred $10,000 within the Animal Shelter Budget to cover part-time payroll.
Transferred $2,474.45 within the Benton County Schools Budget to cover certain underfunded subsidiary items in the budget’s primary series.
Appropriated $5,600 from the Unassigned Fund Balance (UFB) within the County General Fund for county website maintenance for the remainder of FY2018-19.
Appropriated Tobacco Grant funds of $2,603.84 for the Benton County Health Dept., which reverted to the UFB at the end of FY2017-18.
Appropriated $18,950 from the UFB to pay invoices received from Western Mental Health Institute.
Appropriated $7,318.74 from the UFB to cover the County Commission budget for the remainder of FY2018-19.
For anyone unable to attend the meeting, County Commission meetings are broadcast live on WRJB 95.9 FM radio. Most meetings also can be viewed live on the Facebook page “We the People of Benton County” (www.facebook.com/WeThePeopleBCoTN). An audio recording of any commission meeting can be obtained after the meeting is held from the County Clerk’s Office via transfer to a USB storage device.