Monday, September 20, 2010

Is the Republican Election Commission going to hire Democrat Buck Dozier as Administrator of Elections?

Long-time Administrator of Elections Ray Barrett is retiring and the Davidson County Election Commission is seeking to fill that position. Rumor is that Buck Dozier has the inside track on the job.

Following the November 2008 election when Republicans attained a majority in the Tennessee General Assembly, control of Election Commissions switched to Republicans, with every county in Tennessee receiving a newly appointed Republican majority election commission.

The Davidson County Election Commission is governed by five commissioners appointed by the State Election Commission for a two year term. The State Election Commission appoints commissioners recommended to them by Republican legislators. It is my understanding that the Election Commission chairman Lynn Greer was recommended by Representative Beth Harwell. In essence, Beth Harwell appointed Lynn Greer. The other two Republicans on the Commission are Patricia Heim and Steve Abernathy. I am uncertain who recommended the appointment of Heim and Abernathy.

One of the duties of the county election commissions is to hire the Administrator of Elections. Ray Barrett has worked for the Election Commission for twenty-five years and has been Administrator of Elections for the past six years. He is a likable guy and runs honest elections and is fair and helpful to everyone regardless of party affiliation. In some counties the new Republican Election Commissions fired the Administrator of Elections and hired a Republican to fill the post. The Davidson County Election Commission did not do that. I think they were right to keep Ray Barrett in his position. We should not be so partisan that we fire a faithful public servant like Ray Barrett.

Now however, Ray Barrett is retiring and it is time for the Election Commission to hire a replacement. I have heard a rumor, that the Election commission is going to hire Democrat Buck Dozier to fill the position. I hope this is not true. I have nothing against Buck Dozier but the position should go to a Republican. Buck Dozier has served in the Metro Council where I served with him. He has served this city's Fire Chief for seven years. He currently serves as Director of the Metro Fairgrounds, a $90,000 a year job that he was given without the Fair Board conducting a national search or advertising the position. Since the fair grounds are to be sold and this is the last year for the fair, Buck Dozier is looking for another job.

Earlier this year I was very disappointed when our Republican dominated Election Commission did not see the wisdom of having early voting and had to be pressured to support it. They should have supported early voting simply because it was the right thing to do, but also because this is a Republican year and Republicans benefit more from early voting than do Democrats. If not for a grass roots effort demanding early voting, we would have had early voting at only one location in the August election.

What is the point of having Republicans in office if they are not going to support policies that benefit Republicans? One may wish that Administrators of Elections were protected by civil service and that the positions was not political, but it is. There is absolutely no reason the Republicans on the Commission should hire Buck Dozier. I am tired of Republicans who care more about being liked by Democrats than they do supporting the Party.

If the Election Commissions hires Buck Dozier, then the Election Commission might as well be in the hands of Democrats. If they do, I will be disappointed in the Republican members of the Commission and those Republican legislators who appointed them.

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