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 "mcpeters@usit.net" to suggest topics or make private comments.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Will There Be A March From Minor Hill To Pulaski O 18 July 2015

Currently there are plans being made by a group from Fisk University to march from Minor Hill School to Pulaski in what they refer to A MARCH AGAINST FEAR. According to the E-Mail I have this is more a march against southern heritage than against fear. The justifications for this march are mostly based to pure fabrications.  

The E-mail is dated 6/29/2015 is from an Edward Trimmer (trimmer@martinmethodist.edc). 

The e-mail states that they "seek local churches or groups who have vans that they are willing to share in transporting marchers". 

This is from the body of the email: "On July 18,2015, students from the historic Fisk University in Nashville invite all who seek racial equality, social justice and peace to march 14 miles from Minor Hill, Tn to Pulaski,Tn. in an effort to grow a moral movement for positive social change. This march will be in solemn commemoration of the victims of the Emanual AME massacre in Charleston, SC. and embarked upon because we believe it’s time to move forward together in the spirit of unwavering hope and love that will dispel the hatred that’s forever changed those families and many throughout the country”.

So far this sounds like a legitimate movement in support of the family struck down in the senseless murders by a depraved man in South Carolina but then this next paragraph appears and a more sinister activity is unveiled.  

“We have chosen the route from Minor Hill to Pulaski based on data from the Southern Poverty Law Center that indicates that Tennessee has 29 active hate groups- more than any of our surrounding states. In February a Tennessee man and member of a Klan -affiliated church was fined and sentenced to jail for burning a cross in an interracial couple’s yarding Minor Hill. Just 12 miles away, the small town of Pulaski is known as the 1865 founding sight of the KKK and the modern-day epicenter of that supremacy. Every October the town plays host to the Ku Klux Klan’s “Heritage Festival” where racist skinheads, neo-nazis and klansmen have flocked for decades. The knights and their families march up and down the street with KKK flags, selling racist tracts, pins and Klan robe patches.”

It is not by chance that the route from Minor Hill to Pulaski has been chosen by this badly misinformed group. Sam Davis, the boy hero was captured in Minor Hill and wrongly hanged in Pulaski where a monument now stands.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has lost so much credibility due to their own racially biased views that the FBI recently dropped them as a source for information on hate crimes and activities. 

“We recognize this as proof that our racist history isn’t just back to haunt us. It never left. We know we live in a country where racist violence exist — unabated and unreconstructed — both in symbol and in policy”. 

Clearly this is at least in part an effort to continue the current attack on all signs real and imagined of southern heritage. 

I understand that this group currently does not have a parade permit, will they be allowed to march without a permit. In consideration of the extremely dangerous for any group to be walking, even single file is dangerous, this thing should be stopped before it accomplishes the mission of hysterical separation.

Want to check this out call the mayors office. I have the email

     

County Executive Plain Out Lies During Legislative Meeting

Today when the question was asked by Commissioner Amyett to have the E-911 budget taken out of Resolution 2015-34 "Appropriations to nonprofit charitable organizations" and voted on separately, the County Executive made one of her patented snarls then told a complete outright lie. 

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.

Page 14, Line Item 55733-105 Line item The pay for supervisor of the Transfer Station is listed at $50,000 where last year it was $34,113.00 an increase of $15,887.  How can this be justified? Do we even have a transfer station?

Page 14 line item 55710-312, contract with private agency $70,006.00. Is this the dead animal pick up? How do you justify using taxpayer money to subsidize the income of certain private individuals and especially when some commissioners may benefit from this subsidy? 


On Page 15, Line Item 56900-101 shows a new employee listed at a salary of $34,113.00.   Does this position have a job description? Was the position advertised?  Was the position approved by the Commissioners? 

Under this same 5699 line Item the part-time employee position has been eliminated and the same amount is listed for other salaries and wages. Who will be the recipient of that $12,485.00? 


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?  
How many of the “charities” have actually been checked as to what they actually do and if they are actually qualified 501c charities? 

These questions could have been responded to this morning during the six minute Public Hearing but no one on the Budget Committee made and effort to give any answers and those other commissioners  in the room had no opportunity to answer anything. 

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

I could find nowhere that identifies the Ambulance Service as giving any money back to the county.                                                                                                       What page and line item is that money listed under?                                                 

Is page 2 line item 43100 “General Service Charges” $1,610,000 what the ambulance services gave to the county, if so that means the Ambulance Service had another loss of over a million dollars.

In addition to pay increases at the Ambulance Service  there are $3000.00 listed as a new item for medical and dental services this is separate from the $19,450 for Medical Insurance. To whom does this apply?

Where is the line item that shows how much was collected and paid to the collection agency for the Ambulance Service. Is that page 13 line item 55130-317 Data Processing Services  $110,000.00. 


More Questions But Few Answers

These are more of the questions I tried to ask at the Public Hearing on the Budget.


There are a number of new positions listed in this budget that I have been told are being filled by the Emergency Management Director and his assistant. 

Page 6, Line Item  51750 - Codes Compliant;
Page 10, Line Item 54150 - Drug Enforcement; 
Page 11, Line Item 54310 - Fire Prevention & Control; 
Page 12, Line Item 54900 - Other Public Safety; 
Page 16, Line Item 57700 - Flood Control. 

In addition to this also listed on Page 11, Line Item 54490 - Other Emergency Management

I understand all these are positions to be held by The Emergency Management Director and his Assistant. I understand these are part time positions.  

How much time each week will be spent on each job and if the position of Emergency Management is a Full Time salaried position  how much time is spent each week on this specific job.

Since the positions of Emergency Management Director and Asst. Director are salaried positions how can there be $6,000.00 for overtime. How can this be justified for a salaried position when those personnel have so many other new duties. How are they distinguished for pay purposes. Will time cards be maintained for each separate position and if not are these new positions salaried? 

The total  increase in salary for these two personnel is, Director’s new salary $58,197.00 an increase of $4,637: while the Assistant Director’s  new salary is $55,427.00 an increase of $10,005.00.


More Questions Offered At Hearing On Budget

 Page 17, Line Item 58600 Employee Benefits - Who is benefiting from these expenses such as life insurance at $4,000.00? This is in addition to the other Insurances listed.


 Page 6, Line Item 51600-101 Registar of Deeds: Page 7; Line Item 52400 County Trustee’ s Office  and Line Item 52500 County Clerk’s Office - Each of these show that last year there was no money budgeted for the supervisor or deputy salaries but benefits are shown how is that possible? 


There are a number of places for various insurances that total well over a $100,000.00. How many of those policies were bid out, advertised and had competing bids? When will those policies be up for renewal?



This Is One Of The Questions I Tried To Ask At The Public Hearing On The Budget

QUESTIONS FOR 2015/16 BUDGET HEARING           29 JUNE 2015

1) The amount contributed to the Industrial/Economic  Development Board was increased by $10,000.00.   I understand this was to pay a new employee. Are you aware that employee also serves as a City Alderman in direct conflict with state law against conflicts of interest and Ethical Behavior, the same conflict that prevent Mr Speer from serving as Mayor and Director of Industrial/Economic Development Board?  

Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-17-102  (2014)

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

It's rather amazing that in an effort to discredit my questions during the Budget Hearing this morning the reporter chose to focus on one, possibly, miss stated question instead of any of the other nine questions. 

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 must say that it was with a surprised shock that I received the news that Mr Michael Gonzales had been chosen as the new Asst. School Director.

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

With all the turmoil over the surprise changes taking place in the Solid Waste industry some important questions beg to be answered. Certainly there are many questions yet to be answered with the city's waste, but most of those can't be answered at this time. The County is making efforts to come into compliance with state requirements, and the hiring of Mrs Julie Philips is certainly a step in the right direction.

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

The Giles County Board of Education has announced that they will hold a called meeting on Monday 20 April 2015 at 5PM at the Central Office Building. 

It is reported that after this meeting the Board plans to have interviews with the three remaining applicants for the job of School Director.

Those to be interviewed are Dr. Tammy Sheldon of Fayetteville, Mr. Phillip Wright of Columbia and Mr. John Bush of Lewisburg.   

The public has been asked if they have questions to be considered for these interviews to submit them to the Chairman at dwilliamson@gcboe.us.

This meeting will be open to the public.


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?

What are the general requirements for being on Economic Development and Industrial Development            Boards?

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?

I know there are a large number of families and individuals in Giles County that are having problems paying their bills which has resulted in utilities being cut off and eviction notices posted.

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

It has been made very clear tonight, by the actions of this School Board, that not only do some not care what the people, they represent, have to say but they obviously do not care what State law says about Open Meetings the difference between a "Meeting" and a "Work Session" and the fact that you can not take a vote or make a decision in a "Work Session" without violating state law.

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

Yes, that is right, the Giles County School Board gave the citizens of Giles County and especially the residents of the 2nd District a great big finger with their decision to not wait for the County Commission to Appoint a replacement to  fill the empty seat on the School Board.

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.

The fact is that ISWA broke their contract with the city/county by letting bids out separately instead of as whole, as has been done since the agreement was begun. 
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 everyone is staying nice and warm, safe and happy during this very difficult wintery weather.

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

How much money has to be stolen before it’s considered stealing? I reported the thief by the County Executive, where she took tax money and paid Commissioner Coleman for attending a meeting that both knew she had not attended. Some said, “well, that ain’t very much”, so for them it appears stealing is OK depending on the amount being stolen. Of course I have to wonder if someone stole fifteen dollars from their billfold if they would have the same attitude. 

I reported on the County Executive’s scheme that give more than thirty thousand dollars of tax money, “under the table”, to an attorney friend. Still nothing was done, apparently that wasn’t enough tax money to be bothered with either.

So today I report on a little item listed on page 19 of the Pulaski City Audit that ended on 30 June 2014. It’s bad enough that $403,258.00 was spent on something identified as  “CONTRACTUAL SERVICES” that has absolutely no defining explanation for it and then there is the item of $250,722.00 that was paid on a Spec. Building for the Industrial Development Commission. 

Let me repeat that, on page 19 of that audit finding the City of Pulaski paid $250,722.00 for a spec. building for the Industrial Development Commission. That building continues to sit empty. 

On Page 28 of that audit is stated, “The Pulaski - Giles County Industrial Development Commission is responsible for long range planning for City of Pulaski, Giles County and other local city governments. The Commission derives its funding primarily from the City of Pulaski and Giles County. Its Board is composed of representatives from the City, County and others. The Commission is not deemed to be financially accountable to the City of Pulaski and accordingly is not reported as a component of the City".

In simple terms the Industrial Development Commission is not accountable to the city of Pulaski but the City is obligated to pay the IDC's debts without question.

Very close to that expenditure of $250,722.00, is listed the additional expenditure of $45,100.00 as the city’s share of the IDC’s regular funding.  

Some questions that arise from this revelation.

1.   With over $250,000 paid out for this building by the city where is it listed in the city’s assets?

2.   Why is this expenditure not explained or listed anywhere else in the audit as an asset, a liability, or by any other identifying characteristic. 

3.   Was the county asked to pay a part of this $250,722.00 and if so did they?

4.   When and where was this expenditure approved by the city council and in what minutes is the vote recorded?

5.  With the city actually using tax money to pay this mortgage who now holds title to the building ?    

6.  With the president of the bank that holds the note on this building, being the same person serving as the chairman of the IDC was the city and tax payer money used to avoid a loss to the bank?


7.  Will this be allowed to be swept under the rug like so much other questionable behaviors or will this involve enough money to finally “matter”?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Puzzle And Puzzle Some More!

Have you ever put a jigsaw puzzle together?  You have this beautiful picture on the box lid to go by but when you dump out the pieces it’s just a big mess of paper with bits and pieces of that picture. You then begin, usually, working on different sections then putting those section together until the entire picture is completed.

Now suppose that you were working one of those puzzles, not a small one rated “easy for ages under six” but one that is rated “hard for ages up to 100 years old”. It might take years to fit all those pieces together. 

For those who enjoy jigsaw puzzles let me give you a few pieces of a puzzle and you can put them together and make a completed picture which you can name anything you want. 

First piece of the puzzle is the question, why would a County Executive become involved in an election for a county commission seat to the extent of funneling taxpayer money in to the defense of a person who blatantly violated election laws? One view might be that since that executive may have been actively involved in picking that candidate they might want to cover their bets. That really doesn’t fully answer the question of why jeopardize your high paying  position and use county money to pay an attorney under the table to represent that lawbreaker? Well, maybe they didn’t think they would ever be exposed or if they were exposed no one would care enough to do anything about it? Whatever the reasoning, when you place the pieces on the table, you have one attorney paid double then having half that money be transferred to a different attorney, an attorney related to the most consistent “yesman” on the commission and one that had been given his job for “various reasons”.  

Second section of the puzzle is to figure out why that county executive might then go way overboard in cultivating friendship with that new commissioner, who then votes 100% with the executive? Then you add another piece of the puzzle and you get a picture of a county executive personally becoming involved with fraudulently paying that commissioner for  attending meetings they “did not” attend but why would someone jeopardize their position with such a small criminal act?  Again, perhaps it’s a matter of feeling untouchable by the law since they basically control the enforcers of the law. Maybe, again, they figured that no one would care enough to bother?

Now comes the third section of the puzzle, that commissioner is elected president of a group that controls a great number of votes in the county, enough to prevent the executive from losing their last campaign.  The picture develops of a massive quid pro quo, “something for something” activity. A payment for a payment, Use your position to help me and I’ll use my position to help you. 

So all the pieces fit together and the different sections match up to make a picture, but what is the picture of? It’s a picture of a medieval castle with a king and the royal court having a huge lavish feast. The tables are being served by people dressed in ragged clothes, look half starved and have sticks poked in their eyes. Outside the castle are a group of workers toiling in the fields. They also are dressed in ragged clothing, look half starved and have sticks poked in their eyes. Surrounding the workers are several individuals on horseback with whips that they use on the workers of the fields. Those on horseback are dressed somewhat better that those on the ground and only have one stick poked into one eye.   

Now below the picture are these words, “ The king and his court use the people for personal enrichment. The servers are workers are blinded to their reality other than to know their labors are barely keeping them alive. The riders are only half blind able to see their surroundings but unwilling to do anything for fear of being cast from their comfortable positions on horseback and made to be like the other workers. A circle of fear exist to keep everyone in their “proper” place blind to the reality that they can remove the sticks and restore their sight while gaining the self respect and will that would allow everyone advance and partake in the benefits of their labors.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What Happened With The School Director?

It seems some have become very critical of my views or lack of criticism of Mr. Smith as School Director. I haven't written much because of the holidays and being very busy with other things.
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

Because of my sensitivity to the importance of being politically correct I decided earlier this year not to say Merry Christmas having realized that simple term evokes so many emotions, thoughts and actions.  

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

Congratulations to the Ambulance Committee for coming to their senses and voting against spending over $17,000.00 for a used ATV, an enclosed trailer to store and transport it and a carrier for it. Trailer hitches, extra vehicle and helmets not included.

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


Cagle-2895


Charles W. (Chuck) Cagle is a shareholder and chair of the Education Law Practice Group for the firm’s Nashville office. He oversees the firm’s representation of over 70 public boards of education, two private schools, two private universities, and a private medical school in a variety of legal matters including employment issues related to both licensed and classified employees, employee and student discipline, employee and student rights, special education and disability accommodation, constitutional rights issues, sexual harassment and bullying issues, civil rights, desegregation, school system consolidation, tort liability, school system business practices, school funding, taxation, and school construction.

Mr. Cagle also is a registered lobbyist with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. His list of lobbying clients includes school superintendents, school employee professional organizations, school boards, private schools, and Pearson Inc the textbook and testing giant that is one of the pushers behind Common Core.

Mr. Cagle is the legal counsel for the Giles County School Board. 

Here’s an interesting thing about Mr. Cagle, not only has his legal advice been somewhat questionable, (remember it was he who told the School Board that they did not need a written letter of resignation from Dr. Webb and they could go ahead and appoint Mr Smith as Director, remember paying both Dr Webb and Mr Smith for being director then the big pay off to Dr. Webb), the questions of conflicts of interest are monumental. Understand that as the main lobbyist for Pearson Inc. his job is to present their interest in the most beneficial way for them. As a lobbyist and attorney for School Superintendents and numerous school boards across the state he has a unique position of influence with them. So what it basically comes down to is Mr. Cagle is representing both the seller of textbooks and testing materials and the buyer of those materials. Basically this is the equivalent of going into court with the District Attorney and your defense attorney being the same person. How can you come out ahead with that kind of set up.  Now add to that the fact that Mr. Cagle is a leader for SCORE who is pushing the Common Core scam down our throats and you can add the judge to the DA and defense attorney as being all the same person. Think there is a conflict of interest? 

Last Thursday night, according to the Cleveland Daily Banner the Bradley County Board of Education felt there was a conflict of interest because they voted to fire Mr. Cagle as their attorney because he is a registered lobbyist for interest other than school boards. 


Can Giles County be expected to follow the example of Bradley County, will our Board of Education even question the probability of a conflict of interest by Mr. Cagle. It’s very doubtful since this county has a history of not questioning the status quo, “we done it this way for 200 years”, of accepting whatever “officials” tell them and the matter of a “conflict of interest, even incredibly expensive ones, are dismissed with “I vote my conscience”.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

What Is A Conflict Of Interest And Are They Important In Giles County?

State law, Tennessee Code Annotated 5-21-121, has this to say about conflicts of interest for those counties operating under the financial management system of 1981

5-21-121.  Conflicts of interest. 

  (a) The director, purchasing agent, members of the committee, members of the county legislative body, or other officials, employees, or members of the board of education or highway commission shall not be financially interested or have any personal beneficial interest, either directly or indirectly, in the purchase of any supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services for the county.

(b) No firm, corporation, partnership, association or individual furnishing any such supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services, shall give or offer nor shall the director or purchasing agent or any assistant or employee accept or receive directly or indirectly from any person, firm, corporation, partnership or association to whom any contract may be awarded, by rebate, gift or otherwise, any money or other things of value whatsoever, or any promise, obligation or contract for future reward or compensation.

Tennessee Code Annotated  Reference Number: CTAS-911
The County Financial Management System of 1981 contains a broad conflict of interest statute which prohibits the finance director, purchasing agent, members of the financial management committee, members of the county legislative body, or other officials, employees, or members of the board of education or highway commission from being financially interested or having any personal beneficial interest, either directly or indirectly, in the purchase of any supplies, materials,  equipment or contractual services for the county. No firm, corporation, partnership, association or individual furnishing any such supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services, may give or offer, nor may the director or purchasing agent or any assistant or employee accept or receive, directly or indirectly, from any person, firm, corporation, partnership, or association to whom any contract may be awarded, by rebate, gift, or otherwise, any money or other things of value whatsoever, or any promise, obligation, or contract for future reward or compensation (T.C.A § 5-21-121).
This is the statement offered by CTAS for County Commissioners to use in declaring a possible conflict of interest. Notice that the proposed statement leaves a blank space to be filled in by the individual commissioner identifying the specific reason for the possible conflict. Example would be an employee of the school system, the Highway Department, etc. What the County Executive has declared is that commissioners have a possible conflict of interest because they serve as County Commissioners.

“Because I am an employee of (name of government unit), I have a conflict of interest in the proposal about to be voted. However, I declare that my argument and my vote answer only to my conscience and to my obligation to my constituents and the citizens this body represents.”    

Now in light of these requirements I ask the following questions:How can a person holding an appointed office such as to the Power Board, Economic Development, etc do contractual work for the county or city without having a conflict? 


How can someone give a large monetary gift to the school system while receiving no bid contracts to provide services to that system without it being a conflict? 



If conflicts of interest are to be taken seriously how can Commissioners continue to mis-read such a ridiculous statement declaring they have a conflict of interest because they are commissioners instead of stating the name of their employer as cause for a possible conflict? As it is being read now every commissioner must declare a conflict because they are all commissioners. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Why Are Empty Buildings Having Utilities Paid For Them?

What happened to the Old Records being moved to the former Alternative School Building? Why is the county paying utilities at the building if they are not utilizing it. Why hasn't the building been winterized and shut down altogether instead of being heated etc?

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?

I've asked this question before but thought maybe it's time to ask again.

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

This from the WLLX website 18 November 2014

  J. RUSSELL PARKES OF COLUMBIA HAS BEEN APPOINTED AS 22ND JUDICIAL DISTRICT CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE.  ACCORDING TO A PRESS RELEASE FROM GOVERNOR BILL HASLAM'S OFFICE, PARKES WAS APPOINTED TO THE POSITION MONDAY.  HE REPLACES JUDGE ROBERT LEE HOLLOWAY WHO RECENTLY WAS NAMED TO THE TENNESSEE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS.  PARKES, A LAWRENCEBURG NATIVE, HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF THE LAW FIRM HARDIN, PARKES, KELLEY AND CARTER IN COLUMBIA SINCE 1990.  THE 22ND JUDICIAL DISTRICT INCLUDES LAWRENCE, GILES, MAURY AND WAYNE COUNTIES.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Spend Thousands of Dollars To Find What You Already Have?

Why is the School Board so determined to subvert the will of the people and look for another Director of Schools when they already have an extremely well qualified and proven leader in Mr. J.B. Smith?

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 members, Commissioners Beech and Campbell, of the Legislative Body were absent.

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.