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.

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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Think Voting Machines Can't Be "Fixed"?

This is reposted from the Washington Times Newspaper

Chicago-area voting machine casts Republican candidate’s vote for Democratic foe
By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2014
A Republican candidate for the Illinois state legislature was shocked to learnpastedGraphic.png Monday that the vote he cast for himself at a Chicago-area library was erroneously cast for his Democratic opponent.
“While early voting at the Schaumburg Public Library today, I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Jim Moynihan said  “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

Mr. Moynihan is challenging Democratic incumbent state Rep. Michelle Mussman in the 56th District House race. He said he also tried to vote for fellow Republican Larry Kaifesh in the 8th Congressional District race, but the vote was again cast for the Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, The Daily Herald reported.
Mr. Moynihan said he brought the error to the attention of a judge, who determined the machine hadn’t been calibrated correctly.

Jim Scalzitti, deputy communications director for the Cook County clerk’s office, said the machine in question was removed from service to be re-calibrated immediately and that there were no other reports of voters having similar problems.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Early Voting Begins Wednesday15 October 2014

Early voting begins this Wednesday for a number of offices from US Senator to Amendments to the State Constitution.

One of the offices that will be decided during this election is for Pulaski City Alderman. I am running as a WRITE IN for one of those three offices.

I am asking everyone that is qualified to vote in the Pulaski City Election to please cast your vote for me as your representative on the Pulaski City Council.

To cast a vote for me simply look at the bottom of the list of candidates for Pulaski City Alderman where it states WRITE IN. Simply tap the WRITE IN BOX and a keyboard will appear then just type my name ALLEN BARRETT.  One vote only will prevent canceling out your chosen candidate.

I ask you to please cast a vote for me and be assured that you will alway be heard and I will represent you not the government.

What's Going On With The School Board?

People got fed up with the old School Board and replaced it with new members, now those new members seems dead set on acting like the old board and in some cases worse than the old Board.

It's bad enough that the Board pass a new policy that puts severe limits on the opportunity for the public to speak which takes us right back to twelve years ago when there was no public input and in fact you would be arrested if you simply asked a question that they did not like. What is so frightening to public servants about allowing the public to be part of the decision making processes?

Now comes the idea to spend more money in search of a new Director of Schools. Not long ago the attorney for the School Board stated that if Mr. Smith was appointed as Director on a trial basis there would be no need to go through another full fledge search and hire process. I believe this was stated because the process for hiring a new Director had been so recent and Mr. Smith had been the second choice behind Dr. Webb.

Regardless of the reasoning the fact remains that Mr. Smith was appointed to the position of Director with the understanding that it was for a trial period that would lead to the permenant position if all went well. I understand this is basically a new Board but unless there is a problem that causes them to   believe that Mr. Smith is not performing well, this new expense should be avoided and the comitment upheld by appointing Mr. Smith to the position of Director of Schools.  




Saturday, October 04, 2014

Congratulations To Bo Wallace and Ole Miss In Their Upset Victory Over Alabama

Number  11  OLE MISS 23       Number 3  ALABAMA   17
With shades of Giles County High School football championships dancing in my head, Bo Wallace again has put the skeptics in an uncomfortable position. 
Three touchdowns and second in rushing.
Even with the controversial missed call ending the first half, when Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones nearly jerked the head off I'Tavius Mathers with a blatant face mask grab, Ole Miss could not be denied and Bo Wallace could not be contained. 
Ok, maybe he isn't the best quarterback in the game but he has proven to be a high sight better than his critics have tried to label him. He not only threw for three touchdowns 18 of 31 for 251 yards he did it with an amazing amount of poise, guts and savvy with some mighty big throws on third down.    



Thursday, October 02, 2014

This Is A Topic Requested By A Reader Concerning Amendment One To Be On This November

This morning there was a request to post this topic. While I am always happy to post suggested topics this one comes with near perfect timing. I have been working on this topic for several days and am very pleased to post it now. Anyone requesting a topic can ensure it's quick post if it is accompanied by a comment. 

This is the request:

"Instead of every thread being something inflammatory and negative, why not start one about why people should vote YES to Amendment One? Just a thought. If this blog is all about informing the masses, I think this would be most appropriate."                           Thursday, October 02, 2014 7:44:00 AM


In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that, “A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution,” with that ruling they wiped out almost every state law that regulated abortions. That is the plain and simple fact of the matter.

Are there still some laws that regulate abortion in Tennessee of course there are, there is that very important law that requires every abortion clinic to post a sign with 40 pt Arial font in their waiting rooms declaring that it's illegal for anyone to coerce a woman into having an abortion. Wow, that is powerful.

Tennessee also requires that a minor must obtain the consent of at least one parent before getting an abortion. Guess who checks whether that is a legitimate parent or just an older friend that signed the paper? No one.

In 2012 there was a law passed that required doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. That has been under attack since before it was passed.

Want to guess which agency is required to inspect abortion clinics for proper equipment, procedures, cleanliness. I don’t know either and neither does anyone else, because there is none. 

Want to guess what the waiting period is for an abortion in Tennessee it’s the same as the restriction on how late in the pregnancy you can have an abortion. That’s right there is no time restriction on either. 

In Tennessee you can walk into an abortion clinic on the day you are to deliver and have an abortion within the hour.

If Tennessee has such strict laws limiting abortions as those supporting abortion on demand claim, please explain why since 2000 more than 25% of women seeking abortions are from out of state? 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

QUESTION OF THE YEAR

Who authorized the hiring of Attorney Chris Williams to represent the Election Commission in the appeal court hearing involving my challenge to the election violations in 2010?

On 19 November 2010 The Election Commission was asked by the County Attorney to approve the hiring of another attorney and this request was passed but according to the Election Commission it was NEVER AUTHORIZED to be acted on.

I have yet to find a single County Commissioner who voted to hire an additional attorney.

So how did over fourteen thousand dollars of county tax dollars find its way into the pockets of Mr. Chris Williams?

Well, it seems that, in what some might label money laundering, the money was paid to the County Attorney with checks signed by Mrs Vanzant the County Executive and Mrs. Garner the Financial Management Director, who then paid the same amounts with checks written on her private account to Mr. Williams.

It is interesting to note that my attorney, who charged the same hourly rate, charged approximately the same total amount for the entire procedure that Mr. Williams charged for less than a day for the appeal.

Is it possible, as I suspected before, that the county paid Mr. Williams for defending Mrs. Coleman during the election fraud court case?

What Does It Mean When A County Official Refuses To Answer A Question Because It's From A Citizen?

When the County Executive angrily states that she will not answer a question because it's from a "mere" citizen, it seems that County Executive has moved from a public servant to a master of the public.

Many are the times when the County Executive simply ignored questions from the public or simply dismissed them with some superficial buck passing or a scowl that made her irritation more than clear.  

During the 9-1-1 Board Meeting held on 16 September 2014 it was made abundantly clear by the County Executive that she was above answering questions from the public especially if those questions exposed her as being less than truthful and non responsive to more than one complaint of sexual harassment, hostile work environment and threats of intimidation.  Her direct response was "I don't have to answer any of your questions you are a citizen" she then got up to leave.
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Finance Director For Marshall County

According to the Marshall County Tribune, a new Director of Finance was hired and its none other than Ms. Melinda White the former Assistant Director of Finance for Giles County.

After conversations with some reliable sources it seems hiring a Director of Finance in Marshall County is as interesting as hiring some of the employees in Giles County.

 It seems they had just hired a Director of Finance but the person quit after a week. Then instead of hiring one of the two other people that had applied or opening the process to new applicants I'm told they simply relied on the CTAS representative Doug Bodary, who, according to sources lobbied heavily for Ms White. Now I don't doubt Ms. White will do a good job, she is qualified and did a good job here.

The problem seems to be that there was a little matter of some derogatory information about the other candidate sent to the hiring committee and it is suspected, by some, to have come from Ms. White herself.  Personally, I would be very surprised if the information came from Ms. White, she seems above such behavior. I would however, suspect someone at a higher level whose character has been proven to be more accustomed to such low behaviors.
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Five Mile Circle Around The Courthouse To Be The City Limits, Really?

Is the city really in the process of annexing everything within a five mile circle of the Courthouse into the city?
There will be two Public Meetings, both on the same day to discuss this plan. The meetings are scheduled for 9 AM and 1 PM on 30 September 2014 in the Courthouse Annex Basement Conference Room.  Anyone who wishes to speak must send a written request to the County Executive's Office. If acceptable to the County Executive they will be allowed to speak for three minutes. 

If other public meetings held by the County Executive are an indication don't expect any answers or responses to your enquiries, only three minutes to express your views and ask your questions.

Listed below are the new Committee Assignments For County Commissioners.   C is for Chairman; VC is for Vice Chairman and S is for secretary.

Ambulance/Rescue Squad Committee
Joyce Woodard
Tommy Pope – VC
Tim Risner
Tim Turner
Tommy Pollard - C
Rose Brown – S
Tommy Campbell

Audit Committee
Jimmy Dean Caldwell
Stoney Jackson
David Adams
Roger Reedy – C
Melissa Greene – VC
Danny Ray Cobb – S
Tommy Campbell

Budget Committee
Bill Cary – VC
Stoney Jackson – C
David Adams
Roger Reedy
Tommy Pollard
Louise Faulkner –S
Vicki Coleman

Building Committee
Bill Cary – VC
Tracy Wilburn – C
Tim Risner
Tommy Beech
Lois Aymett – S
Louise Faulkner
Shelly Goolsby

Environmental Committee
Jimmy Dean Caldwell – S
Stoney Jackson
Dustin Rose
Tim Turner
Lois Aymett
Rose Brown – VC
Tommy Campbell – C

Highway Committee
Bill Cary – S
Tommy Pope – VC
Tim Rinser
Tim Turner
Tommy Pollard – C
Danny Ray Cobb
Vicki Coleman

Insurance Committee
Jimmy Dean Caldwell
Tracy Wilburn
Dustin Rose – VC
Roger Reedy
Melissa Greene
Danny Ray Cobb – C
Vicki Coleman – S

Law Enforcement Committee
Joyce Woodard – S
Tommy Pope – C
Tim Risner
Tommy Beech
Melissa Greene
Rose Brown
Tommy Campbell – VC

Legislative Committee
Jimmy Dean Caldwell
Tracy Wilburn
Dustin Rose – VC
Tommy Beech – C
Melissa Greene
Louise Faulkner
Shelly Goolsby – S

Public Service Committee
Joyce Woodard
Tommy Pope
Dustin Rose
Tim Turner – S
Lois Amy
Rose Brown – C
Shelly Goolsby – VC

School CommitteeBill Cary 
Tommy Pope - VC
David Adams
Tommy Beech – S
Lois Aymett
Danny Ray Cobb – C
Vicki Coleman

Financial Management Committee
Members appointed by statute: County Executive Janet Vanzant, Interim Director of Schools J.B. Smith, Highway Commissioner Barry Hyatt, Budget Committee Chair Stoney Jackson. The three commissioners chosen to fill the open slots were,  Tommy Pollard, Louise Faulkner, Roger Reedy.

These three committee slots were once again filled with commissioners after the County Executive violated state law and defined nominations as being open only to commissioners. The Financial Management Act  plainly states and it is repeated in the CTAS Manual that any citizen can be appointed to the three undesignated slots, but when it's only a state law vs this County Executive why would anyone expect the law to be followed? 


Ethics Committee
David Adams
Tommy Pollard
Rose Brown
Tommy Campbell
Janice Curtis 

Adult Oriented BoardDavid Adams
Roger Reedy
Louise Faulkner
Vicki Coleman
DeWitt Booth

Beer BoardStoney Jackson
Tommy Beech
Lois Aymett
Rose Brown

Flood Zone Board of Appeals and Committee
Bill Cary
Stoney Jackson
Melissa Greene
Tommy Campbell
Mike Goode

Regional Planning Commission
Tommy Pollard was appointed to fill Bill Holt’s unexpired term.