The property committee of the Williamson County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Wednesday to form a task force that will determine whether or not the Williamson County seal should be altered.
Beginning a couple weeks ago, county commissioners received numerous emails from constituents asking that the Confederate flag on the county seal be removed or that other symbols be added. Other constituents voiced their opposition to this proposal.
The county drafted a resolution to form a task force to determine whether or not there is substantial need for such a change to the seal. According to the resolution, the task force would be made up of the following members.
• One representative of Williamson, Inc., who shall serve as the chair
• Representatives of two families who have lived in Williamson County for at least three generations (at least one of which should be an African American family)
• One representative of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County
• One representative of the African American Heritage Society
• One African American business owner or manager, or educational professional
• One African American religious or community leader
• One representative of the Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau
• Williamson County Historian Rick Warwick
This task force would be responsible for determining "whether there is a material and substantial need for the seal to be altered" and "if so, the specific historical or other compelling interest(s) that support such need."
Williamson County Attorney Jeff Moseley shared if the task force determined that there is a need for alteration, the decision would come to a vote in the county commission. Should the commission approve the decision, a request for alteration would be made to the Tennessee Historical Commission and would have to be approved by a two-thirds majority vote. The final design of a revised seal would then be put to a vote again in the county commission.
The task force is not charged with designing a new seal.
District 7 commissioner Tom Tunnicliffe asked why African American task force members were specified and not other people of color, considering the seal would represent all county residents.
Moseley explained other races can certainly be represented, but "the offense stated by some parts of the community were to the African American community," which is the reason for the specification.
The committee approved the resolution 3-1. District 2 commissioner Betsy Hester, District 4 commissioner Chad Story and District 12 commissioner Steve Smith voted "yes." District 7 commissioner Bert Chalfant voted "no."
"In regard to altering history, I have to vote no," Chalfant said.
This resolution has not yet been sponsored by a commissioner, but District 11 commissioner Brian Beathard shared that he is a signatory.