LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — The Metro Lynchburg/Moore County Council filled its vacant 5th District seat during Monday’s regular monthly meeting.
The Council unanimously appointed Keith Huffer to fill the position after R.D. McKenzie withdrew his name from consideration. It took four votes for the Council to make its decision, and it appeared as though the seat vacated nearly six weeks ago by Anthony Brandon would remain open for another month until McKenzie withdrew just moments before the meeting adjourned.
Council members nominated three candidates at large. Huffer was nominated by Tommy Brown; McKenzie was nominated by Amy Cashion; and Jimmy Hammond was nominated by Denning Harder.
A candidate nominated to fill an empty seat mid-term needs eight votes from the Council in order to take the position.
With no one receiving eight votes after the first round of voting and with Hammond receiving the fewest, Hammond’s name was removed. Neither Huffer nor McKenzie received eight votes on a second or third vote either, though McKenzie did receive seven votes to Huffer’s four votes on the third try (three council members were absent).
At that time, the Council decided to table the issue and revisit the nomination process at its July meeting. The Council then proceeded with its remaining business. Just prior to adjournment, however, McKenzie asked the Council to remove his name from consideration and allow Huffer to take the seat.
County attorney John T. Bobo advised the Council that they could revisit the appointment since the meeting had not been adjourned. Gordy Millsaps made a motion to revisit the appointment and re-open the floor for nominations. That was seconded by Wayne Hawkins.
Brown then nominated Huffer again, after which he was voted in unanimously.
According to Metro Mayor Sloan Stewart, Huffer will hold the seat at least through November. At that time, if he wishes to remain on the Council, he will have to run for election and be voted in by his 5th District constituents. If elected, the term would run through August 2018.
Huffer has until mid-August to petition the Election Commission and put his name on the November ballot if he chooses.