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Commission takes 1st vote on censure of Ownby

5:56 PM, May 20, 2013   |    comments
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Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby moved during Monday's work session to add his court-ordered letter of apology to the public record.

Ownby was arrested in May 2012 after police observed him engaging in oral sex with a man at Sharp's Ridge Park in North Knoxville.

Ownby pleaded no contest to a charge of public indecency. In exchange for a sentence that will wipe the conviction from his record, the judge ordered the commissioner to issue an apology.

Ownby says he will not have to read the document aloud during next week's full commission meeting.

Commissioner Mike Hammond moved to censure his colleague in response to his behavior.

A censure is basically the equivalent of a 'slap on the wrist' according to Chief Deputy Law Director David Buuck.

The measure will have to be voted on again at next week's full commission meeting, but the body took a preliminary vote Monday.

Of the eleven elected officials, Commissioners Amy Broyles and Dave Wright chose to pass on the vote.

Commission Chairman Tony Norman voted against the censure.

"He's experienced enough in this process," said Norman when asked about his vote.

Commissioner Brad Anders voted in favor.

"We're an elected body. We're making laws. We're controlling other people's lives and we need to be above board," said Anders.

He also said he thinks Ownby should consider resigning.

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