Residency Not Required?

Jimmy Wilburn

Newly appointed Lenoir City Treasurer/Recorder, was in attendance at his first meeting of council Monday night. Wilburn was appointed to fill the position after Bobby Johnson Jr. resigned. The Lenoir City Charter gives the mayor the authority to fill the position on a temporary basis until the next general election. 

One question that was raised almost immediately with Wilburn's appointment is the residency requirement. Mr. Wilburn does not live in the city. Most would assume that the person filling the position would be required to be a resident of the city. Mayor Aikens addressed this question. According to Aikens and confirmed to by the city attorney, the Charter does not require the pro tempore, temporary, appointee to be a resident of the city.

Article 8- Section 8- Appointment of recorder pro tempore.

In the event of the temporary absence or disability of the Recorder, the Mayor may appoint a recorder pro tempore who shall have and exercise all the powers of the regular Recorder.

Aikens went on to state that Wilburn was chosen for his strong background in business and finance. Mr. Wilburn is the former co-owner of Wilburn Hardware in Lenoir City, the oldest business in the city. Wilburn's appointment will be in effect till the next general election which comes in August 2012 or the city could call for a special election. A special election would have to be paid for by the city.

As you can see from the excerpt of the charter above,  Aikens and the city attorney are correct. In fact, unbeknownst to most, the charter does not require the elected treasurer/recorder to be a resident of the city. While the Charter specifically requires the mayor, council and the city judge to be residents of the city, the charter has no such requirements on the treasurer/recorder position.

I asked the city attorney if the lack of the residency requirement for the treasurer/recorder position meant that anyone from anywhere would be eligible to run for the office. The attorney responded that he was aware of the Charter language but would need to do more research to figure it out.

With no residency requirement for the position in the Charter and not withstanding any state law to the contrary, it appears that anyone, in Loudon County, would be eligible to run for the office of Lenoir City Treasurer/Recorder in the next election.

Boy, that sure opens a lot of possibilities.