Interim Successors

Reference Number: 
CTAS-585

The law provides for a temporary successor to fill vacancies in the offices of trustee, register, county clerk, sheriff, highway chief administrative officer, and assessor of property, in addition to the provisions for an interim county mayor. T.C.A. §§ 8-11-111, 8-13-105, 18-6-115, 8-8-107, 54-7-107, 67-1-504. The duties of the office are to be temporarily discharged either by the chief deputy or by a deputy designated as temporary successor by the official in writing. It is important to note that this law applies only to the duties of the office and not to the office itself.

In case of death of a clerk of court, the deputy holds office until the vacancy is filled. T.C.A. § 18-1-401. There is a statute (T.C.A. § 18-1-402) that says judges fill the vacancy in the office of court clerk but that statute (from 1858) has been superseded by the 1978 amendment to the state constitution (Art. VII, Sec. 2) requiring vacancies in county offices to be filled by the county legislative body. See AG Op. No. 88-131. If there is a vacancy in the office of clerk and master, a new clerk is appointed by the chancellor for another six-year term, beginning with the date of the appointment. T.C.A. § 18-5-101.