Sullivan fine-tuning details of consolidation study committee

J. H. Osborne • Feb 7, 2007 at 10:48 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - There are no boundaries.

If the Sullivan County Commission wants to create a committee to study consolidation of local governments, it can put anyone it wants onboard, Sullivan County Attorney Dan Street said Wednesday.

Street was speaking to Commissioner John McKamey, who in turn had been speaking to members of the County Commission's Executive Committee.

McKamey was seeking support for a resolution he sponsors to create a consolidation study committee. The word to take notice of in that sentence is "study."

McKamey first raised the issue of consolidation - and a committee - in December. He said then he wanted to "reactivate" a consolidated government charter commission that last met in the 1980s. It produced a proposed charter to consolidate local governments, and that charter proposal was soundly defeated by both county and city voters.

Back in December, Street said state law wouldn't be agreeable to such a "reactivation."

McKamey opted to amend his proposal to match state law for creation of a consolidated charter commission - which said the county and city mayors would appoint the commission's members.

The County Commission approved that resolution last month, But to go anywhere, it needed a like endorsement from the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen - which immediately declined to take action.

Several BMA members said they wouldn't mind the county studying consolidation, but they couldn't support creating the charter commission because it would actually produce a charter for consolidation.

Earlier this week, McKamey introduced his new proposal - to create just a study committee.

But his resolution to do so doesn't include any language to describe who would serve on the committee - or how much, if anything, the county should budget to fund the committee.

On Wednesday, Street said those things should be included, and that the issue shouldn't be confused with the rules in state law regarding creation of a consolidated charter commission.

The County Commission can create any sort of committee it wants, Street said, to look at any issue it wants to look at.

McKamey deferred further consideration of his new proposal until he amends it to include the details Street said need to be included.

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