Giles Free Speech Zone
The purpose of the "Giles Free Speech Zone" is to identify problems of concern to the people of Giles County, to discuss them in a gentlemanly and civil manner, while referring to the facts and giving evidence to back up whatever claims are made, making logical arguments that avoid any use of fallacy, and, hopefully, to come together in agreement, and find a positive solution to the problem at hand. Help make a difference! Email "firstname.lastname@example.org" to suggest topics or make private comments.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
County Executive Plain Out Lies During Legislative Meeting
She stated, "Whatever E-911 ask the county for we have to give it to them".
The county is obligated to give the same amount as last year. There is no question about that but as far as increasing the contribution it is ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY, plain and simple. The County then when off on some wild story about if they are not given what they ask for they will close up and it will cost the county a lot more. Well, first of all there is no danger in them closing and if they were by some slim chance to close we have the option of joining with Lawrence County to provide the E-911 service. All this was smoke and mirrors to get what she wanted but the fact she straight faced lied is the most egregious thing that happened in the meeting and the saddest part is that most of the commissioners there knew she had lied but refused to challenge her.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Last Of The Questions I Tried To Ask At The Public Hearing On The Budget.
You gave extra many to the Senior Citizens to help with meals for shut ins then gave money to the Human Resources Agency which listed meals to shut-in as one of their expenses. Is this an overlap of efforts?
Tomorrow The Commissioners vote on this budget, I urge you to call your Commissioners and ask these questions before they vote.
Yet More Questions Asked At The Public Hearing On The Budget
More Questions But Few Answers
More Questions Offered At Hearing On Budget
This Is One Of The Questions I Tried To Ask At The Public Hearing On The Budget
8-17-102. Chapter definitions -- Application to jointly created instrumentalities, utility districts and school districts.
(a) As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Commission" means the Tennessee ethics commission;
(2) "County" means a county, metropolitan or consolidated government, inclusive of any boards, commissions, authorities, corporations or other instrumentalities appointed or created by the county or an official of the county. Furthermore, for the purpose of this chapter, the county election commission shall be considered an instrumentality of county government; and the administrator of elections and other employees of the election commission shall be considered county employees. Likewise, for the purpose of this chapter, the county health department shall be considered a county department and its employees shall be considered county employees;
(3) "Ethical standards" includes rules and regulations regarding limits on, and/or reasonable and systematic disclosure of, gifts or other things of value received by officials and employees that impact or appear to impact their discretion, and shall include rules and regulations regarding reasonable and systematic disclosure by officials and employees of their personal interests that impact or appear to impact their discretion. The term "ethical standards" does not include personnel or employment policies or policies or procedures related to operational aspects of governmental entities;
(4) "Municipality" means an incorporated city or town, inclusive of any boards, commissions, authorities, corporations or other instrumentalities appointed or created by the municipality; and
(5) "Officials and employees" means and includes any official, whether elected or appointed, officer, employee or servant, or any member of any board, agency, commission, authority or corporation, whether compensated or not, or any officer, employee or servant thereof, of a county or municipality.
(b) If a board, commission, authority, corporation or other instrumentality is created by two (2) or more local government entities, such creating entities shall, by amendment to the interlocal agreement or other agreement creating such joint instrumentality, designate the ethical standards that govern the jointly created instrumentality.
(c) Utility districts shall be considered separate governmental entities and shall be governed by ethical standards established by the board of commissioners of the utility district in conformity with § 8-17-105(b). Water, wastewater and gas authorities created by a private act or under the general law shall be considered separate governmental entities and shall be governed by ethical standards established by the governing board of the water, wastewater or gas authority in conformity with § 8-17-105(b).
(d) County, municipal and special school districts shall be considered separate governmental entities and shall be governed by ethical standards established by the board of education of the school district.
Financial Committee Public Hearing On The Budget
I was given three minutes to ask my questions and even though I was the only person who was allowed to speak, my request for additional time was denied, thus I had to say everything within that three minutes, I had to skip part of the prepared questions, then the meeting which started at 9am was adjured at 9:06 and commissioners were paid for a full meeting.
Now for the possibly of a miss stated question. On 23 June WKSR reported under the title "E-911 Recesses Budget Meeting".The problem was reported as "the 911 Board Meeting was adjured because of budget problems" ."Members voted to contract with Putman and Hancock for an audit".
24 June under the title Pulaski Board Approves Budget this statement was made "A yearly resolution for the city to enter into an interlocal agreement with Giles County E-911 was tabled until board members are able to read the agreement".
I wonder why there was nothing reported about the hearing being a totally non responsive hearing or the denial by the chairman that he had the authority to adjust the time allotted to speak.
Tennessee Code Annotated 5-21-111. Budget -- Hearings -- Supporting documents -- County action. states "(2) Such publication shall also contain a notice of a public hearing to be conducted by the budget committee at which any citizen of the county upon five (5) days' written request shall have the right to appear and state such citizen's views on the budget.". The statue says nothing about a three minute time limit that the committee has chosen to impose nor does it state anything about answering questions or altering the time allowed for speakers. What the law does not define the committee has the authority to define, in other words the whole thing of limiting one person to three minutes and not answering questions is completely decisions made by the Committee, which like many other things refuses to take responsibility for.
Friday, June 26, 2015
New Assistant Director of Schools
I was shocked because of his past performances and can feel this is nothing but one big mistake.
I believe as School Board Chairman Mr. Gonzales demonstrated an attitude of such gross arrogance and insecurities that he became a distraction to the whole community. His behavior in having private citizens arrested when they legally refused to yield to his dictatorial demands, then subsequently being less than truthful under oath during the trial. showed such character weakness as to render him unacceptable to hold any leadership role in the Giles County School System. I believe that his behavior and weak leadership as Principal of Elkton School is additional proof this was a big mistake. .
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Solid Waste Problems and expenses
I congratulate the Commissioner who pushed to make these changes but must also continue to question the motives and common sense that allows the primary person responsible for putting the county in such a precarious position to continue working for the county. I must say that the reason given for not firing the person, "he comes to work every day and is close to retirement", to be one of the most irresponsible explanations ever given in support of a non productive employee.
How many private haulers are operating in the county?
How many of these haulers have had to raise their rates or plan to raise their rates in the near future?
Will those rates go down if the city reopens the transfer station?
What is the salary that Mrs Phillips will receive, will it be the equal of what Mr. Watson was making?
What is the new salary of Mr. Watson, who I understand will now work in Old Records? Will he continue to draw the high income he previously received as Solid Waste Director?
How much is being spent on "Old Records" and why were they not transferred to the old Alternative School site that was to be remodeled for that purpose?
How did Mr. Watson, whose productivity is so incredibly low, get so much power that he can't be fired for cause or to block the Old Records move?
Thursday, April 16, 2015
School Board Meets Monday 20 April 2015
Does The Term Conflict Of Interest Have Any Meaning In Pulaski/Giles County?
With the announcement that Mr. Matt Crane has been appointed the "Giles County Business Entrepreneurial Development Center Director", a number of questions arise as to the appropriateness of such an appointment.
Mr. Crane is also a Pulaski City Alderman and as such he has a responsibility to vote on a number of matters that will directly and indirectly impact his new position as Giles County Business Entrepreneurial Development Center Director, major of which is the EDC/IDB budgets which contain his salary among other things.
Several years ago the state determined that Mr Speer could not serve as Mayor of Pulaski while serving as a paid employee of the IDB/EDC, so how is it that Mr. Crane is not in violation of this same ruling?
There is simply far too much overlap in his duties as Giles County Business Entrepreneurial Development Center Director and those as a City Alderman.
While I believe that Mr. Crane may be an excellent City Alderman and an employee of the IDB/EDC it is completely inappropriate that he attempt to fill both positions at the same time, there are just too many conflicts and potentials for conflict.
IDB/EDC Requirements To Be Members?
It seems that there is very little turn over among members of these groups. Should there more people given the opportunity to serve the county through these Boards or should the same people continue to serve year after year after year?
I believe that both these Boards have become small inactive cliques that allow their one employee to generally go unanswerable to anyone since the chairmen of these Boards seem to be mere rubber stamps of his activities.
Is There A Homeless Problem In Giles County?
What provisions are made for those who have fallen on harder times and are in need of lodging? I understand that many churches are providing help to a large number of people with help paying utilities, providing food and temporary lodging of a day or two but what of those who have more long term needs?
How many homeless people are their in Giles County? How many children are in the school system who are known to be struggling in their home situations? What are the means by which these people are being dealt with?
Thursday, April 02, 2015
School Board Meets And Gives Even Bigger Finger To The Public
Mr. Wamble did an excellent job, even after the attempts at bullying him into silence. Mr. Wamble read the Tennessee Code Annotated covering "Open Meetings" and the fact that there is a difference between a "Work Session" and a "Meeting". He stated the fact that state law does not allow for decisions or votes to be made during a "Work Session" but only in an official "Meetings". Even when it was pointed out that more than a few times it had been stated by Board Members that they had decided to reduce the number of applicants for the Director's job. After Mr. Wamble made it very clear that the Board could either follow the law and do a revote or they could have a judge tell them to do a revote, the school board attorney tried to refocus the situation from being a decision to being a recommendation that was made by the Board in the Work Session but no one was having any part of that.
The Board showed even more arrogance when some members got up and walked out of the meeting without even a motion to adjourn much less a vote to adjourn. Clearly many on this Board not only have a personal agenda/vendetta they have no desire or interest in what the people they are supposed to represent want/believe or have to say.
Questions have arisen about a meeting held at GCHS supposedly between Mr. Lovell, Mr. Brewer and Mrs. Cindy Young where Mr. Brewer was reportedly convinced to change his vote and removing any chance that Mr. Smith would have an even chance of being considered for the Superintendents position.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
School Board Gives Minor Hill And All Citizens The Finger
Let's look at a few things that I believe violated either the law or the spirit of the law in this School Board action.
First a work session was used to arrive at and make a decision, not just some minor decision but perhaps the most important decision they will be called on to make this year. There is a difference in a work session and a regular public meeting or a called special meeting. What was done tonight fails to meet any of those requirements.
Second, was there a ten day notice prior to the "special called meeting" and was the subject of that special called meeting made known to the public? The only public notice I know of was on WKSR and that was not ten days ago and it involved a called meeting for the purpose of voting on a "Cooling Tower" for Richland School. There is no other business that could legally take place during that called meeting but the announced "Cooling Tower".
Third, why was there such a hurry to reduce the number of candidates for the position of School Director, that they could not wait two more days until the County Legislative Body could meet in a legally called "special session" to appoint a person to fill the empty School Board seat? Is there not a School Board Meeting on that same day. Why wasn't a full School Board allowed to make this decision?
It is not secret that I have been a supporter of Mr. Smith for the permanent position of School Director. While I agree that he may not have the greatest educational qualifications I believe that he has proven his ability to take a school and turn the students and staff into a pride filled productive place of real education. I believe that he can do the same with the whole system if given half a chance and some support from the Board. To say that support has been lacking would be a compliment in light of the open hostility that has been shown by some Board members.
If the School Board must decide against the leadership of Mr. Smith at least make some effort to do it legally and without the shadow of prejudical personal animosity toward the man.
Let there be no misunderstanding on my position, I believe this School Board has acted in ways that have been extremely prejudical to open, honest debate and decision making. They are an embarrassment by their secretive behavior, their overt rejection of the "Open Meetings Law", their disingenuous negotiations and their unwillingness to set aside personal prejudices and look at what is best for all the county.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Interlocal Solid Waste Authority Has Failed To Honor Their Contract With Us But Demands We Continue With Them Because Of A Contract That Is Now Completely One Sided.
One of the first statements on their website is their "mission statement" that states, "The ISWA was formed out of the Solid Waste Act of 1991 to share disposal cost and to educate the region of Franklin, Lincoln, Giles, Moore, Bedford, and the city of Tullahoma.
This was the first time some one got the bright idea of splitting the members, against their charter, up and seeking bids for individual entities. Well one thing is very clear if they break the contract then they have no power to hold us to that contract. If each member is to be treated as an individual then what is the point of paying these people membership fees and not have them do anything for us? According to their stance on the contract we as a county are bound without benefit to them for eternity or until all the other members vote to allow us out.
ISWA not is imposing a last minute demand that will result in charges more than doubling per ton for disposal making us the highest payer under their authority.
I must say that both Mrs Vanzant, Mayor Ford and Mr Harrison are doing the best they can with what they have so far.
This came about as a result of ISWA wanting to buy the three transfer station assets and then lease the land for a total of over one million dollars. Each member is being required to back a loan through a bank and Duck River Cooperative to the tune of $200,000.00 each this is after the grant is deducted.
As a frequent critic of our County Executive I was very impressed with her handling of the situation so far. It was her demand that ISWA show a financial statement before the matter would even be considered that stopped to bulldozer at least momentarily, and I believe it will be additional research by the County Attorney Mr. Dunnavant that will prove ISWA broke the contract and frees us from the absurdity we have been pushed into.
Friday, February 20, 2015
Poor Fences Make Criminal Relatives
I hope all those with outside animals are able to take care of them without too much difficulty and inconvenience.
When I retired and moved with my family to Giles County my desire was to have a little farm and raise some cows, goats, chickens, etc. So we had a little farm out on Carr Hill Road, that was the name before the county changed it to Kerr Hill. Well, we had a number of cows but this one in particular is what I want to tell you about. This cow, and I'm sure some of you have had at least one like her, could be standing in thick grass up to her neck and would jump the fence to get to a patch of broom sage. The thing that was most bothersome was this cow almost always decided to jump that fence on Sunday Morning while we were at church or about to leave for church. Now, we had a full field fence around the property but that did nothing to stop her. So I put a strand of barbed wire several inches about the top of the wire. Things seemed to go well until one Sunday morning when we drove up the driveway returning from church and there she was standing by the back door grazing in the backyard. Well, change clothes and chase her back to the other side of the fence. No sooner did she get back on her side, than she just jumped over the fence and looked straight at me as if to say, "Ha, ha I ain't afraid of no barbed wire". Now the point is, as some of you already know, it's mighty hard to keep a critter where it don't want to be.
The thing I didn't know at that time was that if a person's cow gets out it's not just a matter of the owner being responsible for any damages, but the owner can actually be arrested and serve time in jail if found guilty by a judge or jury. Now, you might be saying who in the world would actually arrest someone and take them to criminal court because their cow got out of their fenced pasture. Well, on Thursday morning next week you can go to the courthouse and watch the trial of an 82 year old man who has been charged with the heinous crime of allowing his cow to "roam free" that's the legal term for "the cow got out".
An Assistant District Attorney, his secretary, a judge, a court reporter, a bailiff, court security, jury and numerous other people outside the courtroom itself, have been involved preparing a case, and now prosecuting the case against this man.
The question is how much money has been spent, how much time has been taken away from real criminal cases, to prosecute this case? Is justice better served by putting an 82 year old man in jail because his cow got out or perhaps by focusing on some real crimes. If a thief of taxpayer money isn't important because it's a small amount then what in the world is behind all this time and expense because a cow got out and did fifty dollars worth of damage to a relatives garden?
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
City Audit Reveals $250,722.00 Payment To Unhook Industrial Development Commission From Empty Spec. Building
Monday, January 26, 2015
Puzzle And Puzzle Some More!
Saturday, January 10, 2015
What Happened With The School Director?
So let me be very clear about my thoughts on Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith was wrong in what he did and he has admitted it. I was very disappointed but one mistake is not a pattern, unlike what was tolerated from Mr. Jackson. So the bottom line, for me at least, is that what he did was wrong and not done alone. I believe that Mr. Smith understands what he did was wrong and that he will not make that mistake again. He also knows that there are many watching him with the sole purpose of removing him as Director. I believe this was a learning experience and Mr. Smith will recover from this and continue as a good Director.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Merry Christmas To Everyone
So Merry Happy Birthday To Jesus The Christ, Through Whom the Salvation of God Was Offered To All Mankind.
May this day be filled with the happiness of celebrations, feasting, remembrances and family. May all your life be filled with the full joy of Christ's birth in you
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Change of Mind On ATV Ambulance
The Ambulance Service headed by Mr. Roy Griggs had requested the committee allow them to move some excess money around in their budget and purchase this equipment to be used "for getting injured hunters out of the woods". While this may have sounded reasonable and necessary when presented by Mr. Griggs in the last meeting, sounder heads prevailed and examined the request outside the emotional plea of Mr. Griggs.
First of all the ambulance personnel do not go into the woods and get injured hunters, they do not go down embankments and cut people out of wrecked vehicles, they do not drive across field to get farmers from under overturned tractors, those things are done very efficiently by the Rescue Squad Members. What I strongly suspect the ATV would be used for by the Ambulance Service is to bobble around the very flat grounds of the Ag. Center during the fair; for parades, football games and other events where a crowd might be gathered, even thought those activities would allow for an ambulance.
It seems that the Ambulance Service padded their budget once again, this time by about $190,000.00 and now they are looking for a way to spend all that money. What a terrible agonizing burden that must be compared to simply not spending the money on frivolous wants and giving the taxpayer a break.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Do You Know This Man, You Should We Are Paying Him To Work Against Us
Thursday, December 11, 2014
What Is A Conflict Of Interest And Are They Important In Giles County?
Monday, December 01, 2014
Why Are Empty Buildings Having Utilities Paid For Them?
It seems that there is just no follow thru to good ideas that are approved then sort of just forgotten.
It seemed like a good idea to renovate the building owned by the county and store the Old Records, which had outgrown their cramped quarters, in a bigger and better facility. Money has been spent but then interest apparently waned and nothing.
It was a great idea to finally move toward the development of the interstate/bypass property. Money has been spent but slow action and lost interest seems to once again dominate the playground and everything just sits waiting for someone to do something. It's the responsibility of our leaders to make things happen, to do whatever is necessary to see that projects started are projects completed in a timely and satisfactory completion.
Why Do We Recycle And Why Is It So Costly?
Why is Giles County's recycling program costing the county so much money instead of making money like other counties?
Is it because there is no one actually supervising the program, no one applying for state and federal grants for recycling and waste disposal? Why do we pay a person to sit in a locked office or in the old records department doing personal tasks instead of conducting county business?
We have a Solid Waste Supervisor being paid by the county but what is he doing? I know, before I get the hate responses, he is a nice guy but he's not being paid to be a nice guy, to sit behind a locked door or hang out in the Old Records Department.
It's time that the money being spent on Solid Waste be reevaluated and a new job description made that would move the county toward a profitable recycling program and a less costly solid waste program. At the very least the paid supervisor should be taking a more active part in such things as the cleanliness, appearance and activities at the recycle lot.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
New Judge For 22nd Judicial District
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Why Spend Thousands of Dollars To Find What You Already Have?
There have been a number of claims or suggestions made ranging from racism to personal animus toward the current Director. What the real reason is I do not know since I have not heard a clear response to the question from Board members
Mr. Smith was appointed the Interim Director of Schools with the understanding and commitment, that as soon as the time requirements, imposed by the election, were met he would be made the Director of Schools. This commitment was made in part based on the fact that Mr. Smith had been fully vetted in the previous search for a Director where he had been the second choice behind Dr. Webb.
What is the point of spending several thousand dollars going through the process and paying an attorney, whose advice has proven faulty and costly in the past, to find the best person for the job when by most accounts he is already in that position.
It's time, past time, that this county stop depending on what the elitist, out of touch "political educators" in Nashville want and consider what the people paying the bills want. I can not more strongly endorse Mr. Smith for School Director and I urge the School Board to drop this expensive inaneness and appoint Mr. Smith as permanent director before he becomes so disgusted with the games that he withdraws and the county loses its opportunity to provide students with a higher quality education.
From The County Legislative Meeting 17 Nov. 2014
Two major issues were brought before the Legislative body for action.
1. Amendment 2014-36
This amendment authorized the non-controversial actions of reorganizing the Driving School which brings in a considerable amount of money to the county each year as well as helping drivers avoid more severe penalties, for minor offenses, on their driving record. It also provided money for the library and money to purchase a better sound system for the court.
This amendment also contained a provision for a new hire and a pay increase for a current employee and this was the part that was controversial. It was felt, very appropriately, that raises should be planned for and requested during the budgeting process not in the middle of the budget year. I believe that this request had been made during the last budgeting process and was rejected. Commissioner Greene made a ,option to vote on the pay increase and new hire separate from the other three items. After the County Executive and commissioner Jackson throughly confused the issue during the twenty minute discussion it was defeated and the full amendment was approved.
It was during this discussion that the Nancy Pelosi quote of the day was made when Mrs Vanzant stated in reference to the proposed $5,000.00 pay increase, "This is not a raise it's paying for what they are worth to this county"
2. Amendment 2014-37
This amendment was for the Board of Education to amend it's budget for 2014-2015
This turned out to be the most controversial matter discussed during the meeting. This amendment would have authorized or approved the already completed actions of restoring some previous cuts in staff salaries and salary increases for principals.
A large group of commissioners were very upset that the Board had taken actions and made expenditures prior to getting approval of the county legislators. When the vote was taken to approve nine voted against and ten voted for approval. The amendment failed because eleven votes, a majority of the total number of commissioners was needed to pass.
The question was raised as to what exactly did failure to pass this amendment mean. The basic answer was nothing unless it was not approved sometime before July which would then result in a negative finding by the auditors. There would be no change in what had already been done by the School Board.
Under new business Commissioner Reedy asked about the status of the waste water treatment plan at the I65/Hwy64 interchange. The response was the all to familiar refrain "Lucy is working on it".
Commissioner Aymett suggested that the county establish a method by which the citizens could be better informed and give feedback about issues to be discussed and voted on by the commissioners. Commissioner Aymett's concern was the need to have citizens more involved with their government and that would help create more trust of the government.
It was stated my the County Executive that a new extension had been installed to the county website and "as soon as they learn how to use it" more information about the issues would be posted.
I applaud the effort to increase involvement by the public but I fear if the "new" additions aren't maintained better than the calendar and other "older" parts of the website it will be just another expense without any benefit. I can only hope and wait to see the results and what happens over time.