FILLING VACANCIES, QUALIFICATIONS,
TRUSTEE, CLERKS OF COURT, COUNTY CLERK, AND REGISTER OF DEEDS
Salary Schedule for Fiscal Year 2012-2013
Population Class 2012-2013
1 400,000 and more $ 108,617
2 275,000-399,999 $ 101,344
3 250,000-274,999 $ 95,189
4 225,000-249,999 $ 91,832
5 200,000-224,999 $ 88,476
6 175,000-199,999 $ 85,119
7 150,000-174,999 $ 81,762
8 125,000-149,999 $ 78,405
9 100,000-124,999 $ 75,048
10 65,000-99,999 $ 73,370
11 50,000-64,999 $ 70,572
12 35,000-49,999 $ 64,977
13 23,000-34,999 $ 62,739
14 12,000-22,999 $ 58,739
15 Less than 12,000 $ 53,239
Loudon County population 2010 Census 48,556
The trustee has been a constitutional office in Tennessee since the beginning of the state, being an appointive office by the county court in the 1796 Constitution but becoming a popularly elective office in the 1835 Constitution and remaining so under the 1870 Constitution and its 1978 amendment. The trustee is elected to a four-year term of office in the August general election in same year that the governor is elected.
General qualifications of officeholders are located in the Tennessee Code Annotated, which provides that all persons 18 years old and over, who are citizens of the United States and of Tennessee, and who meet certain residency requirements are qualified to hold office unless the person:
1. Has been convicted of offering or giving a bribe, of larceny, or, of any other offense declared infamous by law, unless the person has been
restored to citizenship as prescribed by law;
2. Has not paid a judgment for money received in an official capacity, which is due to the United States, Tennessee, or any county;
3. Has defaulted to the treasury at the time of election (in which case the election is void);
4. Is a soldier, seaman, marine, or airman in the regular United States Army, Navy or Air Force; or
5. Is a member of Congress or holds any office of profit or trust under any foreign power, other state of the Union, or the United States.
T.C.A. § 8-11-101.
Qualifications. The office of trustee does not carry any qualifications beyond the general qualifications noted earlier in this Chapter for county officers. Oath of Office and Bond. In addition to the usual oath, the trustee must take an additional oath, which is set out in T.C.A. § 67-5-1901, stating:
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully collect and account for all taxes for my county, or cause the same to be done, according to law, and that I will use all lawful means in my power to find out and assess such property as may not have been assessed for taxation in my county, and return a list of the same on settlement. An example of all of the oaths required of the trustee is found in the appendix to this handbook. Trustee's deputies must take the same oath of office as the trustee, and the oath is certified, filed, and endorsed in the same manner. T.C.A. § 8-18-112. The amount of the trustee's bond is determined by the amount of revenues handled by the trustee during the last fiscal year audited by the state comptroller, or from the last approved audit prepared by a public accountant. T.C.A. § 8-11-103. If the official bond of the county trustee is executed by a surety company authorized to transact business in the state of Tennessee, the minimum amount of the bond is based on revenues as follows:
1. Less than $50,000 – a base bond of $5,000.
2. From $50,000 to $500,000 – an amount equal to ten (10) percent of the
funds collected by the office.
3. Five percent (5%) of the excess of $500,000 to $1 million shall be added.
4. Three percent (3%) of the excess of $1 million to $3 million shall be
5. Two percent (2%) of the excess of $3 million shall be added.
Amounts in items two through five are cumulative. If the official bond of a county trustee
is executed by personal sureties, the minimum amount of the bond shall be based on
revenues as follows:
1. Less than $50,000 – a base bond of $5,000.
2. From $50,000 to $500,000 – an amount equal to 20 percent (20%) of the
funds collected by the office.
3. Ten percent (10%) of the excess of $500,000 to $1million shall be added.
4. Six percent (6%) of the excess of $1 million to $3 million shall be added.
5. Four percent (4%) of the excess of $3 million shall be added.
Amounts indicated in items two through five are cumulative. The amounts stated above are only minimums; the county legislative body may require the trustee to execute a bond in a greater amount. T.C.A. §§ 8-11-103, 8-11-102.
Compensation. As discussed earlier in this chapter, the trustee must receive an annual minimum salary in the amount for a general officer as formulated in T.C.A. § 8-24-102. The county legislative body may increase the salary of the general officers above the minimum amount, but may not increase the salary of the trustee without also increasing the salary of other general officers. The amount due the trustee as compensation does not vary with the amount of fees or commissions collected regardless of whether the salary of the trustee is paid from the trustee's fee account or from the general fund.
Deputies and Assistants. The trustee may receive authority to employ deputies and assistants through a letter of agreement or court order as explained earlier in this chapter. If the trustee decides to petition for additional deputies or assistants or additional salary amounts, the petition is filed in the chancery court and the county mayor defends the salary suit. T.C.A. § 8-20-101.
Duties. The trustee serves three primary functions: (1) collecting all county property taxes; (2) keeping a fair regular account of all money received; and (3) investing temporarily idle county funds. T.C.A. § 8-11-104. In addition, the trustee disburses sales tax revenues and may collect municipal property taxes and other state and local taxes. The trustee generally acts as treasurer for the county, receiving and paying out funds. The trustee must keep a detailed account of these transactions. The trustee receives funds for the county from various sources, including the fees of the county "fee" officials. The trustee has an important role in the disbursement of county funds that varies in detail from county to county depending upon whether the warrant or the optional check system is used in the particular county. T.C.A. § 5-8-210. At least once every four years and not less than once every term of office, the trustee is required to evaluate whether the contract for the county's bank account(s) should be rebid. T.C.A. § 5-8-201. The trustee is to obtain proposals from at least two banks or other financial institutions, prepare a written evaluation of the proposals, and preserve the evaluations for at least three years. Prior to investing county funds, the trustee is required to obtain and document at least two proposals from banks or other financial institutions to assure the county receives the highest and best rate of return, and this documentation must be retained in the trustee's office for at least three years. T.C.A. § 5-8-301. The trustee appoints the delinquent tax attorney subject to the approval of the county mayor. T.C.A. § 67-5-2404. The duties of the trustee regarding the collection of property taxes are described in the County Property Tax Manual, a CTAS publication that may be found on the CTAS Web site at www.ctas.utk.edu. Also at the CTAS Web site is Legal Issues for County Trustees, another publication that describes the duties of the trustee in greater detail.
Relationship to County Legislative Body and Other Officials. The trustee must interact with the county mayor and/or a finance/budget director as well as the county legislative body regarding the trustee's budget and budget amendments. The exact procedures vary from county to county depending upon whether the county operates under a charter or optional general law regarding budgeting, or has a private act dealing with this subject. However, all trustees must submit budget requests in a timely manner in the first half of each calendar year for inclusion into the county's annual budget. Most counties have budget committees that may recommend appropriations for the trustee's budget that differ from those submitted by the trustee. The county legislative body determines the amount of the trustee's budget, subject to certain restrictions, such as following the requirements of any court order regarding a salary suit for deputies or assistants. In many counties, depending upon the applicable law, the county mayor has the authority to approve line item amendments to the trustee's budget within major categories not affecting personnel, whereas major category amendments require the approval of the county legislative body. T.C.A. § 5-9-407.
The trustee also interacts with the county mayor in the selection each year of the delinquent tax attorney. The selection of the delinquent tax attorney by the trustee is subject to the approval of the county mayor. T.C.A. § 67-5-2404. The trustee interacts with the delinquent tax attorney preparing the delinquent tax lists and giving proper Notice during the collection process. The trustee works with the clerk and master as well as the delinquent tax attorney regarding funds collected in delinquent tax suits.
The trustee interacts regularly with all the "fee" officials as each fee official either turns over all fees collected monthly or turns over "excess" fees quarterly. When under the "fee" system as opposed to the "budget" system, the trustee must keep an account of the "excess" fees deposited and any "advances" that may be made from the general fund to the fee official at the beginning of a term. The trustee interacts with other officials or department heads of the county that receive monies in the course of their activities that must be deposited in a county fund, whereupon the trustee keeps an accurate record of these transactions. Vacancies. If there is a vacancy in the office of trustee, the chief deputy or another deputy designated in writing by the trustee temporarily carries out the trustee's duties until a replacement is chosen by the county legislative body. T.C.A. §§ 8-11-111, 5-1-104.
Procedure to Fill a Vacancy in the Office of Trustee. (CTAS)
As with most other county offices, vacancies in the office of trustee are filled temporarily by the county legislative body. The person elected to fill the vacancy serves until the next countywide election occurring after the vacancy. T.C.A. § 5-1-104.
County legislative bodies must now fill vacancies in county offices within 120 days from when they receive notice of the vacancy unless a general election is scheduled during that period of time and it is feasible to get the office placed on the ballot. T.C.A. § 5-1-104. The county clerk is to give county legislative body members notice of the need to fill the vacancy. This notice procedure may be waived if all county legislative body members have constructive notice of the vacancy. T.C.A. § 5-5-111(a)(1). Public notice of the vacancy (which needs to include the existence of the vacancy and the office in which the vacancy exists) is to be given by the presiding officer of the county legislative body. This public notice must appear in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least seven (7) days prior to the county legislative body meeting at which the vacancy will be filled. T.C.A. §
Before the county legislative body votes or considers any motion or resolution regarding the position to be filled, the chair shall allow registered voters of the county an opportunity to submit names to the county legislative body for consideration. The names may be submitted in writing to the chair prior to the meeting or may be submitted in person at the meeting. In order for a name to be considered, a member of the county legislative body must subsequently nominate the person. Members of the county legislative body may also nominate a candidate or candidates to fill the office or vacancy without the name being submitted by a voter. Nominations do not require a second. If the person nominated is not present at the meeting, the person making the nomination shall submit a signed statement from the nominee that the nominee is willing to serve in the position if appointed.
T.C.A. § 5-5-111(b).
After nominations cease, the county legislative body may discuss the nominations and may, at the discretion of the chair, interview nominees or allow nominees the opportunity to address the county legislative body. Upon motion passed by the majority of the members, the vote to make the appointment may be postponed to a subsequent meeting, provided that adequate public notice of the meeting is given in accordance with Title 8, Chapter 44 (the open meetings law or “sunshine law”). T.C.A. § 5-5-111(d). To receive an appointment, a nominee must receive the votes of a majority of the members of the county legislative body eligible to vote on the appointment. The county legislative body shall adopt rules of procedure for eliminating nominees in cases where there are multiple nominees for an appointment and no nominee receives a majority of the votes after the initial vote. No secret balloting shall be permitted. Each member's vote regarding the appointment process shall be recorded by the clerk and entered on the minutes of the county legislative body. A tie vote of the county legislative body regarding an appointment may be broken in the same manner that other tie votes of the body may be broken. T.C.A. § 5-5-111(e). Should a member of the county legislative body accept a nomination for a position or vacancy to be filled by the county legislative body, the member is prohibited from voting on the appointment or any motions or resolutions relative to making the appointment until the position is filled. For the purposes of determining a majority, the membership of the county legislative body shall be reduced to reflect any member or members prohibited from voting on the appointment. If a member of the county legislative body is subsequently appointed to the position, the member shall immediately resign from the county legislative body upon accepting the appointment. If the member does not receive the appointment, the member is not required to resign and may continue the member's duties on the county legislative body upon the conclusion of the vote on the appointment. T.C.A. § 5-5-111(c). Note: T.C.A. § 5-5-111 does not apply to Davidson or Shelby County.
Election -- Term of office.
(a) A county trustee is elected for each county by the qualified voters thereof, and holds office for four (4) years and until a successor is qualified.
(b) If a vacancy shall occur in the office of trustee, the vacancy shall be filled as provided for in § 5-1-104(b).
Tenn. Code Ann. § 5-1-104 (2012)
5-1-104. County officers -- Filling vacancies.
(a) Each organized county shall have, in addition to the judicial officers elected by the qualified voters or by the county legislative body, such other officers as are authorized by law to manage county business.
(b) (1) Vacancies in county offices required by the Constitution of Tennessee or by any statutory provision to be filled by the people shall be filled by the county legislative body, and any person so appointed shall serve until a successor is elected at the next general election, as defined in § 2-1-104, in the county and is qualified; provided, that the candidates have sufficient time to qualify for the office, as provided for in § 2-14-106. The county legislative body shall be required to make an appointment to fill a vacancy within one hundred twenty (120) days of receiving notice of the vacancy unless during that time period there is a general election scheduled in the county and there is sufficient time for the vacancy to be placed on the ballot in accordance with this section. Any appointment to fill a vacancy by the county legislative body shall be made in accordance with chapter 5, part 1 of this title. This subdivision (b)(1) shall not apply to any county that has a metropolitan form of government and a population in excess of five hundred thousand (500,000), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census. This subdivision (b)(1) shall not apply in any county having a population of not less than eight hundred ninety-seven thousand four hundred (897,400) nor more than eight hundred ninety-seven thousand five hundred (897,500), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census.
(2) If the vacancy occurs after the time for filing nominating petitions for the party primary election and more than sixty (60) days before the party primary election, then nominees of political parties shall be selected in such primary election and a successor elected in the August general election. If the vacancy occurs less than sixty (60) days before the party primary election but sixty (60) days or more before the August election, then nominees of political parties shall be selected by party convention and a successor elected in the August election. If the vacancy occurs less than sixty (60) days before the August election but sixty (60) days or more before the November election, then nominees of political parties shall be selected by party convention and a successor elected in the November election.
(3) If a vacancy occurs more than ten (10) days prior to the regular qualifying deadline, then the regular qualifying deadline shall apply. If the vacancy occurs after the tenth day prior to the regular qualifying deadline, independent candidates and candidates nominated by any political party for the vacancies shall qualify by filing all nominating petitions no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the fifty-fifth day before the election. If the qualifying deadline is the fifty-fifth day before the election, candidates must withdraw no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the fifty-second day before the election.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision of law or any provision of any charter of a metropolitan government to the contrary, whenever an election is held to fill a vacancy in a county office that is elected from districts, including, but not limited to, county school board members, county legislative body members, county highway commissions, and constables, the county legislative body may provide by resolution duly certified to the county election commission that persons qualifying as candidates shall be elected from the most recently adopted reapportionment plan in the county. If the county legislative body requires the election to be held using districts as adopted in the most recently adopted reapportionment plan in the county, the county legislative body shall specify to the county election commission which district shall be used to fill the vacancy by election. In the absence of a resolution requiring the latest reapportionment plan be used and specifying which district shall be used for the election, the election shall be held using the district as constituted for the election of the vacated incumbent.
It is the duty of the county trustee to:
(1) Collect all the state and county taxes on property;
(2) Keep a fair regular account of all the moneys which the county trustee shall receive;
(3) Receive, according to law, all certificates for which the county stands indebted, upon proper warrant;
(4) When a warrant is presented to the trustee for payment, to enter it in a book kept by the trustee for the purpose, ruled in columns, so as successively to show the number, payee or holder, date, day of presentation, and amount of the same;
(5) If there are funds in the treasury, not otherwise appropriated, immediately to pay the demand and take up the warrant; otherwise, deliver it to the owner with the number endorsed, and afterwards to pay it in its numerical order;
(6) Keep fair and regular accounts of such payments;
(7) Pay all just claims against the trustee's county as they are presented, if the trustee has a sufficient sum of money in the trustee's hands not otherwise appropriated;
(8) Upon the trustee's resignation, or going out of office by the appointment of another person, deliver to the trustee's successor all the books and papers of the trustee's office, and especially the book in which the warrants payable are listed and numbered;
(9) On going out of office, make settlement immediately with the county mayor, and pay over the balance found in the trustee's hands to the trustee's successor, taking duplicate receipts;
(10) Deliver one (1) of the receipts to the county clerk, to be by the county clerk recorded in the revenue docket; and
(11) Furnish the county mayor with such papers and vouchers in the county trustee's possession as the county trustee may think necessary for perfecting any settlement with any person who is accountable for county revenue.
If the office of the trustee becomes vacant due to death, resignation or removal, the duties of the trustee shall be temporarily discharged by the chief deputy, or deputy designated as temporary successor by the trustee in writing, until a successor trustee is elected or appointed and qualified according to law.
TRUSTEE BROCHURE - CTAS UNIVERSITY OF TENNESEE pdf
The trustee acts as the general banker for the county, serving three primary functions. First, the trustee sends out statements for property taxes, one of the county’s most important revenue sources, and then collects these taxes and issues receipts. The trustee appoints the delinquent tax attorney subject to the approval of the county mayor. Second, the trustee receives and disburses county funds, keeping accurate records for each transaction. It is recommended that all county funds received by the trustee’s office be deposited daily; however, state law requires all funds to be deposited within three days. Revenues are identified by use of a uniform chart of accounts authorized by the comptroller’s office and administered by the county audit division. Disbursements of county funds are made on official county warrants that are recorded in a warrant register book, or through a checking system if the county has elected to convert from a warrant system. The trustee files monthly and annual financial reports. For performing these duties, the trustee receives commissions, which are generally outlined in T.C.A. § 8-11-110. A third important function of the county trustee is managing the cash flow of the county and, in some cases, investing idle cash funds. The trustee should work with the county finance committee to ensure that investments are made according to state law and produce the maximum yield of earnings with the highest degree of safety.
Since office management is an important responsibility, trustees should have knowledge of personnel procedures as well as relevant state and federal laws. Also, the trustee should have a basic understanding of potential liability, including both personal and county, and of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act. All county officials should be familiar with the conflict of interest, ethics and disclosure laws applicable to their offices. CTAS covers such topics at each county officials orientation program. CTAS has a Web site (www.ctas.tennessee.edu) to provide county officials with easy access to information about our agency, numerous publications on issues affecting county government, links to informative Web sites, and other valuable resources. Also, CTAS staff members may assist county officials in the areas where technical assistance is needed.