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Commission bucks judicial committee request
Jan 26, 2006 12:00 am
January 24, 2006
Bucking the unanimous recommendation of the judicial committee, the Wilson County Commission chose the daughter of a sitting county commissioner to serve out the remainder of former judicial commissioner Wendell Granstaff's term.
Stacy Swindell, the daughter of District 15 Commissioner Billy Swindell, was approved to fill the vacancy in a 17-6 vote by the squires Monday night. The move comes after Swindell and judicial committee nominee William Earl Coggins were interviewed Thursday night by the county's Judicial Committee.
Swindell is currently unemployed, but is a former employee of the Wilson County Sheriff's Department. She told the judicial committee during her interview Thursday she had recently been laid off from her most recent job.
On Monday, Swindell said her duties included watching monitors (and) doors that were breached at the Judicial Center.
"I took people into custody," she said. "I sat in courtrooms and monitored courtrooms in the judicial center."
Coggins, who remained silent throughout the proceeding and left immediately after the vote, serves as a school resource officer at Lebanon High School and has previously served as a judicial commissioner in Wilson County.
District 11 Commissioner Bob Neal, who nominated Stacy Swindell, could not immediately be reached for comment.
However, District 10 Commissioner Bill Patton, who seconded the motion nominating Stacy Swindell, said he was "somewhat" familiar with her and he thought she "would probably be one of the best ones to be elected."
"I very seldom go against the committee's recommendation, but at this time I decided I would," Patton said.
All judicial committee members voted for Coggins in the roll call vote except for District 19 Commissioner Dr. Ross Averitt, who was out of the country until Saturday and did not attend Thursday's meeting.
"We're having so many problems on writing warrants and all, I thought it'd be a good idea to have a female up there," Averitt said, " … because we have so many females that come up here writing warrants."
Judicial Committee Chairman and District 21 Commissioner Eugene Murray called the decision "politics as usual."
"This young man" — said Murray pointing at Billy Swindell — "just made a political move."
Swindell disagreed, saying "this ain't no politics."
"I think what happened is the kid needed a job real bad, and I did everything I could to help her," Swindell said. "I didn't say she was the most qualified.
"I just think she needed a job and I think she's smart enough to do it and I think she'll do a good job. That's all. … I mean, if that's something a father's not supposed to do, I don't know what to do."
Regarding Stacy Swindell, Murray said she "didn't have any qualifications as compared to some of the others that had been interviewed."
Swindell will serve until what was Granstaff's term expires in March, at which time she will again have to go before commissioners should she wish to serve a full term.
Voting for Coggins were District 1 Commissioner Wendell Marlowe, District 2 Commissioner Ken Holland, District 20 Commissioner Annette Stafford, District 22 Commissioner Heather Scott, District 25 Commissioner Randy Hall and Murray. All but Stafford and Marlowe serve on the committee that recommended Coggins.
All remaining commissioners endorsed Swindell except for District 9 Commissioner Gary Tarpley and District 18 Commissioner Adam Bannach, who were absent.
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.