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The Roane County Commission voted 8-7 Monday night to defer the “In God We Trust” resolution to its property committee.
That turned into a challenge for the official who made the proposal.
“This just hardens my resolve,” Commissioner Randy Ellis said. “It’s going to come back forward, and we’ll stand together and vote to pass this hopefully.”
Ellis filed the resolution that called for the words “In God We Trust” to be displayed at the entrance of the courthouse and in the commission meeting room.
He said the cost of doing so would have been funded through private donations.
Commissioners Copper Bacon, Ron Berry, Benny East, Nick Forrester, Carolyn Granger, Steve Kelley, Stanley Moore and George Nelson voted in favor of deferring the resolution. Commissioners James Brummett, Ray Cantrell, Bobby Collier, Ellis, Jerry Goddard, Chris Johnson and Fred Tedder voted against the motion to defer.
Some commissioners said they felt like Ellis was out of order by not taking his resolution through the property committee first.
“I think you lay a straight line, and you live to it,” Moore said. “That’s what you told the people whenever you asked them to vote for you to trust you and do what’s right for them, not what’s right for you when it’s election time, and you’ve got to hurry and pass the commission so you can put a star on your crown to get you elected.”
Election Day is Aug. 7. Ellis is one of nine candidates vying for three seats in District 2.
He said Moore’s comments were a “low blow.”
“I didn’t think it was very Christian-like to take personal attacks toward a fellow commissioner and hit them below the belt,” Ellis said.
Ellis offered an amendment that would have allowed the property committee to determine the design and placement of “In God We Trust” at the courthouse. That wasn’t enough to convince the majority of his colleagues to pass the resolution.