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Squire's daughter hired again
Apr 24, 2006 12:00 am
April 18, 2006 Squires again voted to hire the daughter of one of their own for a full-time judicial commissioner position Monday night – and again defied a near-unanimous recommendation from the County Commission's Judicial Committee.
That committee recommended William Earl Coggins, who earned 10 votes compared to 15 for Stacy Swindell, the daughter of District 15 Commissioner Billy Swindell.
During the roll call vote, Billy Swindell sat and hesitated for several seconds before finally saying "I don't care" and voted to affirm his daughter.
Coggins picked up three more votes than from the January meeting – District 12 Commissioner Billy Rowland, District 18 Commissioner Adam Bannach and District 23 Commissioner Rhonda Moore. Bannach was absent from January's County Commission meeting, but Rowland and Moore switched from Swindell to Coggins.
Rowland attributed his jump to Coggins to a "change of heart.
"I had some constituents that thought that I should have voted for Mr. Coggins in the beginning, so this time I went for Mr. Coggins," Rowland said. "They basically thought that, you know, he had the experience and that's the way that I should have went."
As for Moore, she said she was under the impression Stacy Swindell was the only candidate in January when the partial term was to be filled.
"As soon as the count started going that night … it made me feel embarassed for Wilson County," Moore said, adding part of her reason was comparing the qualifications of Coggins and Stacy Swindell.
"The second time I had several people approach me about it in my district and they were not happy with (the vote)," Moore added.
District 9 Commissioner Gary Tarpley, the other squire who missed January's meeting, voted for Stacy Swindell.
For her part, Stacy Swindell – who was affirmed in January to fill the remainder of retired judicial commissioner Wendell Granstaff's term – thanked her supporters.
"I want to thank all of the people who supported me in January and continued (tonight)," she said. "… It's a good job. … It's very challenging and a lot to learn."
As for Coggins – a former part-time judicial commissioner and current employee of the Wilson County Sheriff's Department – he said he was "not surprised."
"Still, this is all a fiasco that was started by one man," Coggins said, "and at some point … we in Wilson County have an opportunity to put an end to all this good ol' boy politics."
District 22 Commissioner Heather Scott, who supported Coggins in January and Monday, criticized Billy Swindell for not abstaining from the vote.
"I think it's sad that Stacy's never going to be looked at that job for her skills," Scott said. "… But she's always going to be the commissioner's daughter."
Coggins had another shot at a full-time judicial commissioner job when he was nominated by District 4 Commissioner Luther Lenning against current judicial commissioner Givens Phillips. In that vote, Phillips came out on top, again by a 15-10 vote.
Part-time judicial commissioner Jon Jenkins lost his seat to to Joseph Murphy, a retired police officer and teacher at Lebanon High School, by a 20-3 vote. Two squires voted for Joe Gravens, whom District 17 Commissioner Jim Major nominated from the floor.
Jenkins said he was surprised by the margin.
"I didn't really expect it to be as far-sided as it was," Jenkins said. "I have no hard feelings against (Murphy). I wish the man good luck in his job."
He said he understood the reasoning expressed by judicial committee member and District 21 Commissioner Eugene Murray in Monday's Lebanon Democrat, when Murray said Jenkins' full-time job as a firefighter in Rutherford County limited his availability.
Part-time commissioner Charles Churchwell was also affirmed to another two-year term.
In other business, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency Director Jerry McFarland reported a total of 42 emergency vehicles from cities and the county assisted Sumner County in the wake of recent tornadoes which took nine lives there.
"This was purely neighbor helping neighbor," McFarland said. "… And hopefully we won't need that kind of help in the near future."
Finally, the Wilson Central Lady Wildcat basketball team was formally recognized by resolution for their TSSAA Class AAA state basketball title win.
"You always hear that the students of Wilson County perform head and shoulders above the competition," District 14 Commissioner Rusty Thompson said. "These young ladies have one of the highest cumulative grade point averages of any sports team in the state of Tennessee."
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.