Weekly Obsession: Comes now the flood

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 1:23pm
0703 John Arriola main.jpg
Former Davidson County Clerk John Arriola

Après Arriola, le déluge.

After nearly a year of investigations and recriminations, Davidson County Clerk John Arriola resigned last week, avoiding indictment for his acceptance of tips in exchange for performing weddings.

Even the announcement was handled poorly. The Monday departure was another goof for the man once pegged as a rising star in Nashville politics: Why not do it on a Friday afternoon, when such bad news is usually unleashed (in the hopes of minimizing media attention)?

In any case, Davidson County is left without a county clerk — a job that pays its holder a cool $115,000.

Not surprisingly, the vacancy is expected to cause a scrum. It’s a well-paying job where keeping people happy is as easy as keeping the lines for tag renewal short and the process simple — easy asks in an age when the once-tedious task can be done online.

Within hours of Arriola’s resignation, Brenda Wynn — once Mayor Bill Purcell’s director of neighborhoods and now Rep. Jim Cooper’s community outreach director — issued a letter listing 300 women who endorse her for the temporary appointment to the post by the Metro Council.

It’s clear Wynn was waiting in the wings for the Arriola resignation, which had been seen as a likely but in no way guaranteed outcome.

By securing the interregnum appointment in August, Wynn — like the others who will no doubt make themselves available for this civic duty — hopes to lock up the all-important incumbency advantage when Davidson County voters go to the polls to pick Arriola’s permanent replacement in November.

And while earning the support of the council is no guarantee of wooing the voters, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Neither would the endorsement of the Davidson County Democratic Party, which will choose its nominee in a July meeting.

By jumping to the front of the line with her list, Wynn has taken the early lead in a race that will surely get more crowded.

3 Comments on this post:

By: Shane Smiley on 7/4/12 at 10:40

Ken Jakes
8 hours ago near Nashville
I just sent this email to all Members of the Metro Council in Davidson County.

Members of the Council, It appears to me that the council is attempting to replace John Arriola's Office by appointing an Interim County Clerk to serve until another is elected by the people.

I see things lining up as usual politics in Nashville.

TCA 18-6-115 Clearly states that the Chief Deputy can serve in the full capacity as Davidson County Clerk until such time as a new Clerk can be elected by the people.

Metro Charter Provision Section 8.118 Clearly states the Chief Deputy shall have the powers and duties and liabilities of the County Clerk.

The present Chief Deputy Mike Taylor has served over 35/years in the Clerks Office, under four different Court Clerks. Surely, he should have the experience, knowledge, and capabilities to run this office for the short time until a new County Clerk can be Elected by the people.

I will post the Charter Provision and the State Statue for your review below.

Check with Legal to confirm the accuracy of this information.

Thank you,

Ken Jakes.


18-6-115. Vacancies.

If the office of the county clerk becomes vacant due to death, resignation or removal, the duties of the county clerk shall be temporarily discharged by the chief deputy, or deputy designated as temporary successor by the county clerk in writing, until a successor county clerk is elected or appointed and qualified according to law.

HISTORY: Acts 1993, ch. 315, ยง 19

Metro Charter Provision

Sec. 8.118. - Powers and duties of county court clerk.

There shall be as an independent agency of the metropolitan government, the office of county court clerk, the head of which shall be the county court clerk, elected for a term of four (4) years as provided by the constitution and the general laws of the state. The county court clerk shall be furnished with such deputies, office personnel, material and supplies as he may need for the proper functioning of his office and as may be provided by ordinance and within his annual budget appropriations. Deputies appointed by him as approved in rulings by chancery court shall have the powers and duties and liabilities of the county court clerk. All employees of the county court clerk, other than these deputies, shall be employed in accordance with civil service regulations. Nothing in this Charter is intended or shall be construed to alter or affect the powers, duties and responsibilities of the county court clerk as a collector of state privilege licenses or other state revenues or as the clerk of the probate court or monthly county court. However, all fees, revenues, incomes, commissions, emoluments and prerequisites of the office of county court clerk shall accrue to the metropolitan government and shall be deposited with the metropolitan treasurer daily, except as otherwise provided by ordinance.

Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing or empowering the county court clerk to assess or collect such taxes as may be provided for in the division of tax assessment, division of property tax collections and division of collections of the department of finance

By: budlight on 7/5/12 at 7:30

Mr. Jakes is right, as usual. He knows more about the Metro law than anyone else in Metro. I think he should be in charge.

By: Loretta Bridge on 7/10/12 at 2:43

I becomes clearer day by day that the higher percentage of people running our city, county, state and national government are there for only their own self serving reasons. I think it is time to clean the slate and start over with some honest people that have not been in government year after year after year. Therefore fine people that have not served under any previous politicians. That way we know they don't owe any other politician anything. So tired of all these professional politicians and their little round table of friends.