In last week's column about the county elections of 2018, I let my imagination wander and talked about the possibility of McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley running for county executive.
If he should run and win, I wondered if Haley could simultaneously hold both jobs, that being Warren County Executive and McMinnville Mayor. It would be a king-of-all-he-surveys situation.
Turns out, this can't happen. Upon further review of that loving document we know as Tennessee Code Annotated, a county executive, also known as a county mayor in some parts, can't hold any other public office for profit. If I had looked closely, I would have seen this spelled out in TCA 5-6-104.
A legal opinion on top of that says that declining the salary from one, or both, of the positions does not relieve the county executive from that statute.
So the answer is Haley can't serve as both county executive and McMinnville mayor, but I'm glad I posed the question because I received a great deal of feedback. This included an email from a lady who said this arrangement would be similar to metro government.
For those who may be wondering, metro combines governing entities. Instead of having governing bodies for the city of McMinnville and the county, there would be one (1) entity for all of Warren County.
Cost savings could pour in like a waterfall if city and county consolidated their services and operated under one government. Instead of having a Sheriff's Department and a totally separate Police Department, just have one. Instead of having a Public Works Department and a Highway Department, just have one.
Metro government is also viewed as less confusing because many residents don't understand what's handled by the city and what's done by county. I see this all the time as folks call the paper because they think they have an issue with this city, but it's really with the county. One unified government erases this confusion.
Metro government is also viewed as a way to increase harmony as city and county governments can fight. In some cases, the city can actually file a lawsuit against the county in which it's located.
The main thing a metro government might help in Warren County is the growing disparity between finances in the city and the county.
The city of McMinnville is currently enjoying economic riches with a $6 million surplus that's projected to continue growing. The county, meanwhile, is locked in its annual a cage match with its budget.
It would be better if the county had a little more wiggle room and the city had less. When too much money is piled around, it tends not to get spent with the most scrutiny because, hey, we have plenty of cash.
Would metro government be a great fit for Warren County? I think so. Will it ever happen? It probably has as much of a chance as Jimmy Haley being both McMinnville Mayor and Warren County Executive.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.