Jury: Knox County Commissioners Violated Open Meetings Act

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) A Knox County jury has ruled Knox County commissioners violated the terms of the Open Meetings Act.

That violation occured prior to and/or during the selection of all twelve term-limited Knox County officeholders on January 31st.

The jury began deliberating around nine o'clock this morning, but notified Chancellor Daryl Fansler around 1 PM, that they had a verdict.

Chancellor Fansler says he will take "a couple days" to issue a written judgement on what's next.

What this all means, what happens next, and ramifications coming up tonight First at 4:00, and Volunteer TV News at 5:30, 7, and 11.

The 12 men and women had twenty-nine yes or no questions to answer, that helped determine if the Knox County Commission violated the Open Meetings Act and which appointments were violated.

Here are some of the key questions they had to unanimously agree on.

Did two or more members of the county commission outside of a public meeting decide or deliberate toward a decision to appoint certain officers prior to the January 31st meeting.

Another one asks, did two or more commissioners decide or deliberate toward a decision to appoint certain officers during recesses on January 31st.

If their answer is yes, then did the commissioners who deliberated toward that decision provide adequate public notice of their intent to deliberate?

The jury then has to decide which of the 12 appointments were deliberated: J.J. Jones, Billy Tindell, Sherry Witt, Fred Sisk, Josh Jordan, Chuck Bolus, Richard Cate, Lee Tramel, Frank Leuthold, Sharon Cawood, Jack Huddleston and/or Tim Greene.

The jury's heard three weeks of testimony from 47 witnesses.

They'll have more than 70 exhibits to review if they need to refresh their memory, including meeting transcripts, roll call records and phone records.

Stay connected with Volunteer TV and volunteertv.com for continued coverage of this developing news story.