Knoxville Bar Releases Judicial Candidate Scores


The Knoxville Bar Association polled its members about the qualifications of court officials and nominees, with most of the incumbents’ challengers scoring low in the assessments because they are not known.

An incumbent, Republican Chancellor Clarence Pridemorewho was the upset winner eight years ago against the Democrat Daryl Fanslerreceived the lowest score, 2.34 out of a possible 4, among Bar Matrix holders.

He is seeking re-election to represent the Part II Chancellorship in the May 3 GOP primary against the former Knox County Chief Legal Officer. Richard “Bud” Armstrongwho received 1.77 in the ranking, and lawyer R. Deno Cole, which scored 2.93. No Democrats are running. In fact, only three Democrats are running for 21 judicial posts.

The bar association said the survey of its members attracted 484 participants electronically from February 25 to March 25. 11. The survey asked members to rate whether applicants had demonstrated the knowledge, skills, experience, training, education, work ethic and temperament necessary to perform the duties of the positions sought. Candidates were scored according to these options: highly recommended, recommended, do not recommend, strong do not recommend, and do not know the candidate.

Marsha Watson, chief executive of KBA, said 1,570 members were invited to participate. Those who participated were likely representatives of attorneys who regularly practice in Knox County state courts, she said.

“It is not intended to endorse any particular candidate, but rather to inform the public of the opinions of many attorneys actively practicing in East Tennessee regarding the suitability of candidates for the judicial and related positions to which they want to be elected. The Knoxville Bar Association is pleased to provide this service to members of our community who have little or no encounter with the justice system,” said the president of the Knoxville Bar Association. Jason H. Long. “An informed electorate is vital to the effective administration of justice.”

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Republican Jean Tisserandwho has served as Part I Chancellor since 1998 and has no opposition, received the highest mark in the survey with 3.82 points.

For this report, only candidates with opponents in the May Republican and Democratic primaries or the Aug. 4 Knox County general election are otherwise listed.

District Attorney General Allen charm, a Republican, received 3.31 points with nearly 71% of voters, or 344, saying she is highly recommended or recommended for another eight-year term. Democrat Jackson Fenner received 2.08 with 282 or 58% saying they did not know the candidate.

For Knox County Division I Sessions Judge, Republican Incumbent Chuck Cerny scored a 3.33 in the KMB survey, with almost 76%, or 369, saying it was highly recommended or recommended. Democrat Sarah Keitha former deputy attorney general, received a rating of 2.94, with 55% of respondents saying they didn’t know her.

In the Knox County Sessions Judge, Division. II, titular Judson “Judd” Davisa Republican appointed by the county commission in December when Geoff Emery retired, scored 3.37, with nearly 48% saying it was highly recommended or recommended. His opponent in the May primary, Magistrate Sharon Frankenbergreceived 2.41, 51% of lawyers declaring not to know it.

Knox County Circuit, Civil Sessions and Clerk of Juvenile Court Charlie Susano, a Republican, received a 3.55 rating with nearly 80% giving him highly recommended or recommended approval. Democrat Dana Morana paralegal, received a rating of 2.17, with nearly 81% saying they didn’t know her.

KBA has a “Get to Know Your Judicial Candidates” section on its website to provide information on judicial positions in Knox County at View a PDF of the survey results online at

U.S. Representative Tim Burchett

VAT STILL IN THE NEWS: Rep. Tim Burchet, R-Knoxville, reintroduced the Tennessee Valley Authority Transparency Act which requires the agency to ensure its decision-making process is open and accessible to the public, he says. The U.S. Representative joins him in sponsoring the bill. Steve CohenD-Memphis and US Rep. green markR-Clarksville.

“I give TVA credit for improving its transparency over the past few years, but my colleagues in the Tennessee congressional delegation and I want to make sure transparency continues,” Burchett said in a statement. “TVA should always allow people in the communities it serves to look under the hood.”

The TVA Transparency Act would require that all board meetings be held in public and duly announced. It would also require TVA to make the minutes and summaries of each meeting available to the public. The law would require any meeting of council, committee or sub-committee of council for which a vote is not scheduled to hold meetings in public, provide public notice of at least six calendar days and keep minutes and summaries of meetings.

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Jim Hopson, TVA’s chief public information officer, said all board meetings are open to the public with notice, including in the federal register, but where TVA and members of Congress disagree, it’s is about committees and subcommittees having public meetings. Minutes and reports are on the TVA website.

“A small set of the board of directors is not a decision-making (group). They have access to sensitive and confidential business information. Some TVA facilities will not be accessible to the public. The current model is for subcommittees to report at board meetings, to make recommendations at board meetings,” Hopson said.

For example, a subcommittee that oversees TVA’s nuclear facilities will meet at the plants, which are Watts Bar and Sequoyah in Tennessee and Browns Ferry in Alabama, with security concerns if the meetings were open, Hopson said.

Burchett’s office was asked to respond to Hopson’s comments about how the board’s committee structure currently works. A spokesperson for Burchett made this comment in an email: “VAT was created by Congress and Congressman Burchett believes it should always be transparent with the approximately 10 million people it serves.” .

Burchett and Cohen also introduced a bill that would require top TVA employees to disclose their salaries, bonuses, differentials and benefits. “Communities in the South East should be able to assess whether the salaries of senior TVA decision-makers match the service provided by TVA,” they said in a statement.

Hopson said when TVA was reorganized from a full-time board to a part-time board led by a CEO in 2006, one of the steps the agency had to take was to disclose wages and benefits, like any for-profit business under the Safety and Trade Commission. If the agency is expected to be competitive as a generator of electricity for local power companies, the same requirement should apply to the salaries of executives who run the federal agency, a- he declared. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists with economic development projects.

In other TVA news, the president that of Joe Biden the administration withdrew the appointment of Kimberly Lewis, CEO of PROJECTXYZ Inc., in Huntsville, Ala., as a member of the board of directors. The first black woman elected chair of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is running as a Democrat for a state senate seat in Alabama in a May 24 primary.

HOW THEY VOTED: The Postal Service Reform Act, which supporters say will increase budget requirements to help cut costs, was not supported by the state’s two Republican senators or the area’s Republican congressional representatives. from East Tennessee – with one exception.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn voted no on March 8 when the law passed the Senate in a 79-19 vote and the senator. Bill Hagerty was recorded as one of two non-voting senators. A spokesperson said he had a family obligation to Tennessee, but noted that he had previously voted no to a closure motion, which ends debate so a vote can take place.

In the house where the measure passed 342-92, U.S. Representatives Burchett of Knoxville and Chuck Fleischman voted no and Diana Harshbarger of Kingsport voted yes.

TEAR: Billy Tindellwho served as a member of the Knox County Commission from 1970 to 2007 and Knox County Clerk in 2007, died at his home in Farragut on March 11. He also served on the board of East Tennessee PBS, was the past president of the Tennessee County Services Association, and helped establish Three Ridges Golf Course as an avid golfer.

He was the father of the former state representative. Harry Tindell. He is survived by his wife, Brenda; other sons, Billy Jr. and Brandon; girls, Debra PressleyJulie Widby and Kathy Tindell-Julianand brother, Jim Tindell.

“Billy has dedicated his public life to Knox County, the Democratic Party and the State of TN. His legacy lives on in so many ways and his life is a testament to how the Democrats have profoundly benefited Knox County,” the Knox County Democratic Chairman said. Matt Shears said in a statement.

Georgiana Vines is a retired associate editor of News Sentinel. She can be contacted at [email protected]


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