BLOUNTVILLE — The Republican-controlled Sullivan County Commission is likely now to vote next week — not next month — to appoint an interim head of the county’s highway department. That person will serve until voters elect a new highway commissioner in August.
Terry Shaffer retired from the job in late December, amid an ongoing probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation of goings-on at the highway department.
Under state law, highway commissioners are required to have a letter on file naming their temporary successor in the event they leave office before their term expires. The person named is to serve until the county commission appoints someone to serve until the next election.
Shaffer himself was appointed interim highway commissioner, by the county commission, after a jury convicted Allan Pope of work-related felony charges during his tenure as highway commissioner.
Shaffer’s letter named Bobbie Manning, but the letter wasn’t opened until nearly a month later, on Jan. 21.
That’s the day the full county commission last met, and a majority of commissioners voted to delay appointment of an interim highway commissioner until March 17.For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.