Thursday, April 23, 2009

Musical Chairs on the Election Commission

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 1:37 PM

2efe/1240513236-bill_giannini3.jpgLegal uncertainty as to the status of holdover administrators on county election commissions has complicated the plans of the suddenly majoritan Republicans.

A case in point is right here in Shelby County, where the enlarged GOP lineup was set to include Robert Meyers, already a commission member; Bill Giannini, the immediate past chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party; and community activist Brian Stephens. Republican Rich Holden, the GOP’s longest-serving member, was scheduled to depart the commission and become its administrator, replacing long-serving Democratic appointee James Johnson.

When word came down from Secretary of State Tre Hargett advising county commissions to put a hold on administrative change-overs, the GOP figures huddled (in sequential combinations of current and prospective commission members that technically avoided violations of the state’s Sunshine law).

The outcome: Stephens would come aboard, as would Giannini, as chairman. Holden would stay on. Meyers would have to depart, but will return when definitive word from Hargett or state Attorney General Robert Cooper comes down enabling an administrative shuffle. At that point Johnson would go and Holden will take his place. Got all that?

Meanwhile, returning Democrats Myra Stiles and Shep Wilbun will join Messrs. Giannini, Stephens, and Holden to make up the five-member commission. All were seated at Wednesday’s first meeting of the newly re-constituted SCEC.

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