JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Washington County, Tennessee’s full-time attorney will now report directly to the county commission and not to the county’s mayor.

Washington County, Tenn. Attorney Allyson Wilkinson. (WJHL photo)

County commissioners voted 11-3 Monday to make the change. That completed a two-step process that started with the passage of a private act by Tennessee’s legislature earlier this year.

Sponsored by Jonesborough Representative Rebecca Alexander in the House and Johnson City’s Rusty Crowe in the Senate, the act passed both houses unanimously. The state legislators made the recommendation after receiving an official request from the commission in late 2021.

The measure needed 10 votes in the county commission. Allyson Wilkinson will directly serve the 15-member commission once the resolution is signed. The change puts the appointment and termination of a county attorney fully in the commission’s hands with a two-thirds vote required to terminate and a majority to hire.

Commissioner Ken Huffine said he supported the change, which he said returned the county to an approach it had used previously until a change put the position under the mayor less than a decade ago.

“We’re moving back to that,” Huffine said. “History proved itself to be more effective allowing for that separation of powers.”

Wilkinson was first hired as Washington County’s staff attorney in October 2018.