Friday, May 3, 2013

Albert Tieche on the Hot Seat at Election Commission

Posted By on Fri, May 3, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Albert Tieche could be out of a job as soon as next week, according to ... Albert Tieche.

The Davidson County Administrator of Elections says the county's election commission is planning to meet at a special called meeting next week and that he'll be the only thing on the agenda.

At a marathon meeting a week ago, Tieche defended himself against a scathing review from the state Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins, and occasionally heated questioning from commission members. Eventually, some time after the meeting, Tieche and his attorney decided against officially submitting their response, which commissioners said was frequently as personal and inflammatory as Tieche had accused the state's of being.

Now, as commissioners determine when a vote on his fate best fits into their schedules, he still says he did a "good job" and that he won't consider resigning.

From The City Paper , after the jump:

“So, when I look in the mirror, I’m satisfied with my performance under a pretty difficult set of circumstances,” he said. “Like most people, I know when I’ve done a good job, I know when I haven’t. I’ve done a good job on this, and I’m happy with that. The man in the mirror is happy with what I’ve done.”

There are three possible paths for a Tieche exit. Goins could decertify him when the state releases the final version of its report this month, if Tieche makes it that long. The commission, of course, could fire him. To avoid all that, he could resign, but he said he’s not planning on leaving through that door.

“If I thought I had done something wrong,” he said. “If I thought there had been any malfeasance discovered in the office, I might consider that. But why would I do that if I haven’t done anything wrong? Why would one do that because of occasional human errors? Those happen in all elections in all locations.”

The two Democratic commissioners — Tricia Herzfeld and A.J. Starling — were mum on the issue, with Herzfeld declining to comment and Starling saying he hasn't yet made up his mind about Tieche. The three Republican commissioners — Chairman Ron Buchanan, Jennifer Lawson, and Jim Gotto — were even mum-er: None of them responded to requests for comment.

For what it's worth, Tieche was at the receiving end of tough questioning from all five of the commissioners at one time or another last week, with occasional support from Gotto, who shared some of Tieche's objections to the state's report. If you were going to handicap the vote based on that meeting, it wouldn't look good for Tieche.

Lastly, if you still doubt the strong political undercurrent at the commission, an email from Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee member Beth Campbell to several top state and local Republican officials made the rounds yesterday. In it, Campbell expresses concern that a decision by the commission to fire Tieche — who was hired by the last round of commissioners, a majority of them Republicans — could create a "fracture" amongst Republicans in the community. Campbell then asks the officials to call Buchanan and "talk with him about the unintended consequences of such action."

The full email, below:

To: Republican Elected Officials,

It has come to my attention that the new Davidson County Election Commission
Chairman, Ron Buchanan, has called a special meeting, on Friday May 10, of the
DCEC with the purpose to fire Administrator of Elections Albert Tieche.

In eleven months we will be in full campaign mode. Davidson County will have two
challenge races and will be defending Speaker Harwell. Trust me, the Democrats
will be out in force for these seats.

My understanding in replacing all three of our Republican Election Commissioners
was to bring peace and harmony to the Commission. Mr. Buchanan's appointment was
intended to be a part of the solution to "right the ship" at the DCEC.
Commissioner Buchanan has taken it upon himself to ask for Albert Tieche's
resignation. If this May 10 meeting is held I am concerned that this could
result in disharmony and create a fracture in the Republican community in
Davidson County.

I do not know Mr. Buchanan. I suggest that you might talk with him about the
unintended consequences of such action. You can reach Mr. Buchanan at 822-5700.
The DCEC needs to let due process run its course with an audit of The Davidson
Election Commission from the State Election Commission. A meeting with the State
Election Commission will meet on May 13, 2013 at which time Mr. Tieche will have
an opportunity to respond to the audit.

A reply will be appreciated.

Beth Campbell
Republican State Executive Committee

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