Hawkins election official 'neither re-employed nor unemployed'

Jeff Bobo • Apr 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County Elections Administrator Patricia Lumpkins will keep her job at least until July, although she was told by county Election Commission Chairman Tommy Dykes Tuesday she is “neither re-employed nor unemployed.”

The Hawkins County Election Commission met Tuesday morning to discuss the upcoming June 6 Rogersville election, but the first order of business was a decision on the fate of its current administrator.

Election Commissioner Tina Crownover, a Democrat, made a motion to retain Lumpkins, which was defeated by a vote of 2-3 with Crownover and fellow Democrat Teresa Greer voting in favor.

Prior to that initial vote, however, Greer told the commission it shouldn’t consider changing the administrator so close to an election.

“I feel like Patricia has shown that she’s very capable of carrying out this job, and with the upcoming election I just want to be able to assure the citizens of Rogersville that they have someone in place,” Greer said. “We have four new commissioners. I just feel like this is not the appropriate time to change the administrator.”

Commissioner Kyle Luke Lee Jr., a Republican, made a motion to seek resumes for the administrator position, which was approved unanimously. Lee noted that Lumpkins is invited to submit her resume as well, and the selection process will be held in a public forum.

“Let’s get this right,” Lee said. “Everybody sit in it.”

Lee added, “This is a job that needs to be looked at every two years no matter who is in control.”

The commission agreed to begin the interview process in July, which leaves Lumpkins in place through the June 6 Rogersville election — the only Hawkins County election this year.

Lumpkins was appointed in February 2008 after working for the Election Commission part time for about a decade. She replaced Peggy Fleenor, who’d held the position for 19 years.

“I’d just like to say for the record that under the guidelines for the Tennessee Election Office, I can find no reasons to replace Patricia Lumpkins,” Crownover said.

In other business Tuesday the commission agreed to retain two machine technicians but opted not to consider evaluations and possible new staff appointments until the administrator question has been resolved.

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