Loudon judge allows Housing Authority appointments to stand for now

By Hugh G. Willett knoxnews.com

A Loudon County Chancery Court judge Wednesday denied a motion for a temporary injunction filed by the Lenoir City Housing Authority.

Judge Frank Williams denied a motion that would have prevented recently appointed housing authority commissioners from participating in a board meeting today, according to Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens.

"We are pleased with the outcome of the hearing and the judge's ruling. Hopefully this is close to a resolution," Aikens said.

Michael Kelley, attorney for the Housing Authority, said he was concerned the denial of the temporary injunction might lead to confusion at today's meeting. The main issue the legality of the appointments is still to be resolved, he said.

"I am confident. The state laws and case laws are very clear on this issue," he said.

Williams set a March 7 date to continue the issue over whether the appointments made by Aikens were made properly.

The Housing Authority had challenged several board appointments made by Aikens in November. Frank Hahn, Cheri Brown and Larry Hardison were appointed to fill positions on the five-person board.

Commissioners Ott McGill and Linda Garner were asked to resign from the board. Commissioner Mary Brown was scheduled to leave with the expiration of her term in November 2012.

Housing Authority Executive Director Debbie Cook challenged Aikens' appointments on the basis that the mayor is only allowed to appoint one board member per year. Cook and attorneys for the Housing Authority have argued that the changes were not legal.

Aikens contends that he acted legally.