Court issues term limits ruling - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Court issues term limits ruling

Here's what attorney Allan Wade has to say about the 1994 referendum on county term limits after reading the state appeals court's ruling.

"It's been voided. It's been vacated. It's been eliminated from the statute where no county in the State of Tennessee can rely on any argument that they can set term limits for any of its constitutional officers," said Wade.

In 1994, 81% of county voters said they wanted their elected officials limited to two terms. That meant that commissioners Walter Bailey, Cleo Kirk and Julian Bolton would not be able to serve forever.

As of this year, Bailey has been on the commission for 33 years already, Bolton has been there for 22 years, and Cleo Kirk has served for 15 years.

And this year, all three hired Allan Wade to sue to overturn the referendum. And now, an appeals court has told them they can run again.

"For these three gentlemen, it means they can pull a petition and qualify to run in the next election for county commissioners," said Wade.

But there are other implications. It means Mayor A C Wharton can run again. And it means - unless challenged - that county commissioners around the state can do the same.

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Action News Five has learned a state appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of three county commissioners who want to run for office, despite a Shelby County referendum putting term limits in place.

Attorney Allan Wade, the lawyer arguing the case, tells Action News 5 the appeals court ruled that Walter Bailey, Cleo Kirk and Julian Bolton CAN run for office again.

In 1994, 81% of county voters chose term limits. In Chancery Court this summer, a judge upheld that rule despite a lawsuit filed by the three commissioners. But Tuesday, the three have won on appeal, and according to the appeals court, they can run again.

Walter Bailey has already been on the commission for 33 years. Bolton has been there for 22 years, and Cleo Kirk has served for 15 years. Allan Wade says all three intend to run again as a result of this ruling.

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