Six Metro Council members, representing both sides of the political spectrum, have signed a letter to Davidson County Election Commission chairman Ron Buchanan expressing concern that the commission's recent appointment of a new election administrator "might have been made along party lines."
Lonnell Matthews, Brady Banks, Anthony Davis, Edith Taylor Langster, Karen Johnson and
Robert Duvall* all signed the letter.
After a summer filled with controversy and much more media attention than its members were hoping for, the commission appointed Kent Wall, a Republican, as its new election administrator earlier this week, choosing him over deputy administrator Joan Nixon. Wall replaces Albert Tieche, who was ousted in May following a series of errors in the November 2012 elections.
In their letter to Buchanan — who also caught heat from some quarters for his treatment of Tieche, which resulted in former Metro Councilman and state Rep. Jim Gotto's dramatic resignation from the commission — the council members ask "how Mr. Wall's business experience makes him a better candidate for leading the [commission] than Ms. Joan Nixon." The members state their belief that Nixon's 27 years of experience "makes her the best candidate."
The members also expresses concern at the appearance that Nixon, who is black, might have been overlooked because of her gender or race.
"It would be very disturbing to discover that [Nixon] was not offered the appointment because she is a woman, or because she is African American," the letter reads. "We are not voicing this to insinuate that [Nixon's] gender or race prevented the Election Commission from offering her the appointment; we state this to shed light to the fact that without a reasonable explanation of the Election Commission's choice to appoint Mr. Wall, these implications are lingering in the minds of Women and Minority voters all over Davidson County."
Read the whole letter here below.
*NOTE: We've updated the post to reflect the fact that Duvall did not sign the letter. A note from the Metro Council office says "his name was placed on the letter inadvertently." There have also been names added to the letter, which you can see below: