Sparks fly amid discussion of appointing Lovell's replacement

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's looking very possible that there may be no replacement this legislative session for former District 95 Representative Mark Lovell.

Lovell resigned last month amid allegations he groped a woman in Nashville.

Shelby County Commissioners are charged with appointing Lovell's replacement, but Wednesday some of those commissioners said there's not enough time.

Governor Bill Haslam ordered a special election to fill Lovell's seat, but it's possible whoever commissioners choose to send to Nashville wouldn't even get to see a vote.

"Us appointing anybody is really not feasible," Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland said.

Lovell represented Germantown, Collierville, and east Shelby County. He stepped aside after only a month-and-a-half in office amid allegations of sexual impropriety. Lovell has denied any wrongdoing.

Roland pushed to delay filling Lovell's seat at a committee meeting Wednesday.

"They will be having a primary election during the time we are making the selection process," Roland said.

Other commissioners argued Shelby County should have representation, even if it's short-lived, for political reasons.

"We would want the person who replaces the representative in 95 to be opposed to the voucher bill," commissioner Van Turner said.

"I have been getting lots of calls about having this district be represented," commissioner Heidi Shafer said.

Tensions flared between Shafer and Roland, as Roland called for a vote despite Shafer's comments.

"I don't want to set a precedent where we are calling order of the day to try and shut commissioners up," Shafer said.

Both Roland and Shafer eventually walked out of the meeting.

Commissioners finally decided to put the issue to the whole body–without a recommendation.

"The people of District 95 should have someone representing them who they would probably vote for," commissioner David Reaves said.

The irony of the whole situation is that commissioners normally meet in full the Monday after committees meet on Wednesday. But, the way the schedule falls, now commissioners will not meet again until March 20, so the issue won't be heard for more than a week anyway.

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