An Illegitimate Committee Considering Unusable Property

The Mt. Juliet City Commission continues to ignore its own ordinances and resolutions. In doing so, every elected official violates his or her oath of office. Their oath requires them to uphold the city charter, state law, and the ordinances and resolutions in place in Mt. Juliet. The City Commission has the authority to amend, repeal, and / or pass new ordinances and resolutions – but they do not have authority to ignore the ordinances and resolutions in place.

The current parkland search violates several Mt. Juliet policies, ordinances, and resolutions. Mt. Juliet established a Parks Board, by ordinance in 1984. That ordinance can be found on the city website here: Parks Board Ordinance 1984-05.

Section II, number 5 of the ordinance states the role of the Parks Board: “It shall recommend to the Board of Commissioners the sale or purchase of any land desired to be acquired or disposed of, now owned or used by the Mt. Juliet Board of Parks and Recreation”.

The Parks Board is the committee empowered by the City Commission to find and recommend new parkland. If the City Commission doesn’t like the recommendations of the Parks Board they are free to ignore them. But unless and until they amend or repeal the ordinance which established the Parks Board they are violating their own ordinances and showing contempt for the existing Parks Board. The ironic thing is that the members of Parks Board are appointed by the Mayor.

The Commission has recently appointed a special committee to recommend the purchase of parkland to the City Commission. That is in clear violation of ordinance 1984 – 05.

That appointed committee is considering property inconsistent with the Neighborhood Parks Plan resolution passed by the City Commission in 2002: Resolution 2002– 20 (the file name is incorrect – this really is Resolution 20).

That resolution set specific goals for the Parks Board to adhere to when adding parks in Mt. Juliet. The first goal stated: “Attempt to add at least 1 neighborhood park to each commission district”. Goal three said: “Attempt to place a park within 1 mile of every residence in the City of Mt. Juliet.”

waterslide small rgbThe property being considered at the end of York Road is inconsistent with both those stated goals. In fact there is no Mt. Juliet resident within 1 mile of that property. So we have an illegitimate committee considering unusable property.

In 2004 the City Commission committed to fund a Greenway from the new Mt. Juliet Elementary School to Mt. Juliet Road, Resolution 2004-06. That resolution referenced resolution 2002 – 20.

It should be noted that the West Division Greenway is consistent with all ordinances and resolutions and was recommended by the Parks Board. The City Commission is capable of adding parkland correctly – at least it demonstrated that it could back in 2004.

The Parks Board was searching for parkland back in May and June of this year and finding it. Why is the City Commission violating its own law to circumvent the duties of the Parks Board?

Could it be that the Parks Board wasn’t finding the land that the City Commission wanted it to find?

-Publius

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “An Illegitimate Committee Considering Unusable Property

  1. Butch Huber

    Publius,

    There is a problem, but it is a different problem; The Parks Board Ordinance 1984-05 is a violation of the city charter. That ordinance establishes the parks board as controlling authority over a city department head, and it elevates a city department head to the position of “Chief Administrator” over the parks department, essentially making the parks director equivalent to the City Manager with regard to parks but outside the authority of the city manager. The city manager by state law is “the” Chief Administrator of the city government, meaning the entire city government and not just the city government outside the parks department. Under Parks Board Ordinance 1984-05, Dennis Buchanon has no responsibilities to the current city manager and the city manager has no authority to direct the actions of Dennis Buchanon or any employee of the parks department. (Which, by ordinance 1984-05 would mean that the city manager had nothing to do with the Sandra Dempsy settlement, and in fact, it was the parks board, and eventually the mayor’s fault the city was sued, right?)As I read that ordinance, it appears to me that Dennis Buchanon shall have a budget, and shall answer to the parks board rather than the city manager. If this ordinance was actually followed the city manager could sue the city in a court of law and the city would lose (Unless there is some other obscure provision in the city charter that I am unaware of that sets up a government inside a government…I don’t believe there is.)

    There is another problem. We’ll call this problem “the $20,000,000 conundrum”. Let’s pretend for a minute that I am the mayor of Mt. Juliet. In our story I am an unscrupulous mayor. I am determined to give away, well, let’s say that I want to give away a $20,000,000 gift to some non-profit sports oriented private organization.
    Let’s also pretend that I want to do this for the following reasons:

    1) So that I could revisit my childhood,

    2) So that I could get my name on a building,

    3) So that I could make my liberal friends happy

    4) So that I could leave a legacy to my administration that will live on long after I am gone.

    5) So that I could feed my insatiable ego.

    (I know we are really stretching our imaginations here, but please do the best you can.)

    Now let’s pretend that I have presented myself to the citizenry as a conservative to get elected mayor, even though I am a secretly a flaming liberal.

    Now, let’s also pretend that I have been at odds with the other commissioners because I present myself as being arrogant, overbearing, as though I think I am better-than-everyone else, and as though I think I am smarter than everyone else. Let’s pretend that they don’t like me very much.

    Now, let’s suppose that another flaming liberal is elected to commissioner while I am mayor; one that I know that I have in my hip pocket. (I know that this scenario could never really happen, but please stay with me.)

    Now, let’s pretend that there are a couple of other commissioners that really, really want to fire the city manager; commissioners who have also had issues with the city planner and the public works director. Let’s pretend that these same two commissioners would be willing to do whatever they could to get rid of the city manager. Let’s go one step further and pretend that these two commissioners had launched an attack two years earlier in an effort to get rid of the city manager. Let’s also pretend that I was one of the people who saved the city manager’s job during that attack. Which really made these commissioners very, very angry at me. Now, let’s pretend that I want those commissioners’ cooperation…let’s just pretend.

    Now, I need at least one of those commissioner’s support to get my $20,000,000 gift approved. (I only need one of them because I have a liberal mini-me on the commission who will vote with me in a heart-beat. What is a boy to do? Oh, here is what I can do, I will give them the city manager’s head on a platter. Yeah, that’s the ticket. That will make them like me. But what about side dishes? There have to be side dishes, right? Hmmm. Let me think. (finger tapping on chin, eyes pointing up to the left, head tilted to the side, lips pursed.) (Out-loud, to myself I say;)…What else can I give them? (Scratching my head with my finger.) Oh, I’ve got it, I remember that one of those commissioners said during his attack to get rid of the city manager that his real target was the city planner and that the city manager was just getting in the way. I think I will set up the city planner so that I can get rid of him as well. That should make the one commissioner very happy.

    But what about the other commissioner, what nice thing can I do for him? Hmmm. Let me think. (Arms folded, pacing back and forth, head hung in contemplation.) Eureka,( Excitement on my face, feet firmly planted, arms extended) I think I will give him the public works director’s head as his side dish. I know from the e-mails and letters that I have read and the feedback that I have heard that he has had a lot of problems with the public works department, and he seems to particularly have an issue with the public works director. When I give him the public works director he should be very pleased with me.

    This is going to be like Christmas in March, May and July (August,September?)
    These two commissioners should be very, very happy when they open their new presents. They should surely want to play with me then, right?

    Now, let’s pretend that the public works director has made me very angry because he embarrassed me in front of a local developer when I was trying to force city employees to break the law for the benefit of the developer. In fact, let’s pretend that the city manager wouldn’t force the public works director to apologize to me, so now I am angry with the city manager as well.

    Now let’s pretend that the only people in city government who have the will, the knowledge and the courage to stand up to me are the city manager, the city planner, and the public works director. Wouldn’t it be sweet if I could get rid of those people who could foil my plans “and”, at the same time, undue my interference with the other commissioners’ attempt to rid the city of the city manager and city planner two years ago “and” take off the heads of those people who have had the audacity to get in my way “and” at the same time swing at least one of those commissioners to vote with me as I take the citizens’ $20,000,000 worth of tax money and give it to a non-profit, sports oriented, private organization so that I could revisit my childhood, get my name on a building, make my liberal friends happy, leave a legacy to my administration, and feed my insatiable ego? Oh, this is a splendid plan!

    Now, let’s really rev things up. Let’s look at Parks Board Ordinance 1984-05 and see what kind of other power I have. Wonderful, I see that it gives me the exclusive right to appoint people to the parks board. I can stack the board with my liberal friends who will do my bidding. Oh, (look of shear excitement on my face, shaking with joy) but it gets better, much, much better. Parks Board Ordinance 1984-05 gives my liberal friends (the ones I put on the board) the oversight over the parks department. It literally removes the parks department from the city manager’s authority and puts the parks director in charge. The parks director will have power equal to the level of power reserved under the charter for the city manager alone. He won’t be a problem because he has to answer to and take direction from my cabal of liberal friends in charge of Parks! This couldn’t be better! (Wrinkling the ordinance between my hands, knees pointing inward, slightly bent, face in the air, shoulders pulled inward as if hugging myself.) If the Parks Department Director doesn’t do as my liberal friends say, he is out of there. And if my friends turn on me, well, I will have to get rid of them as well. All I need, is one vote, and I am virtually in charge of a $20,000,000 dollar project through which I will be able to use everyone else’s money to fulfill my fantasy!

    Now, let’s pretend that I work for a developer…let’s pretend. I wonder if there is a way that I can profit from all of this on a personal level….let me call my attorney…oh yeah, I forgot, in our little story (which is just pretend, any similarity to actual situations or real people is purely coincidental and accidental.) I am an attorney! I will have to work on a way that this could really help my career, I wonder what that could be? Hmmm. (Sitting, leg crossed, elbow on knee, chin in my hand.) Let’s pretend that my developer employer has already shown that he is willing to give me a lot of money for my political aspirations….I wonder if there is anything I can do for him? (Quiet contemplation….curtain falls.)

    I know that this scenario could never really exist in the city of Mt. Juliet…..I am merely pointing out how dangerous Parks Board Ordinance 1984-05 “could” be, “if” I were the mayor, if I were an attorney, if I were working for a developer, if I was unscrupulous, and I had such fantasies….good thing someone like that isn’t the mayor of Mt. Juliet.

    P.S. Has anyone seen Rob, Bobby or Hatton?

  2. Glen Linthicum

    Wow! Butch!

    Somehow that sounds so familiar. Are you crossing the picket line during this writers strike? This could make a bad TV movie; no wait its reality here in Mt Juliet! My mistake! 😉

  3. Butch Huber

    Publius,

    I didn’t know where else to post this, so I just put it here.

    I just read in the Chronicle that the mayor has stepped in to stop a development project that is going in across from city hall.

    It appears to me that she is once again trying to smear Rob Shearer and Bobby Franklin. From what it appears, the planning commission approved this project, the city commission approved this project, the land owner invested money and time in the project, and in the eleventh hour, the city mayor is now stepping in and accusing others of having screwed up. Shouldn’t she have caught this a long time ago? Isn’t she a real estate attorney? Wasn’t she the chair of the planning commission for several years? It looks to me as though she is willing to hurt this developer in order to, in some twisted and convoluted way, throw yet one more dagger at Rob Shearer and Bobby Franklin. Perhaps we need to once again ask Mayor Elam who she is working for these days. Is she back at it with another developer in Mt. Juliet? Is she working for the interests of a developer that would benefit from stalling this man’s project? I think that these questions must be asked and answered. You can’t trust someone who has done the things she has done and gotten away with. The questions must be carefully worded and carefully framed to ensure that there are no other behind the scenes deals going that we don’t know about.

    It is shameful for the city to treat this man this way…his project has been approved, money has been invested, and this man has taken actions based on approvals that apparently have somehow now been taken away. I don’t even see how what they are doing could be legal.

    Through all that has gone on over the past year I have tried to separate Linda Elam as a human being from what she represents as a politician, but when she continues to hurt people to serve her own purposes it becomes more and more difficult to maintain that separation. I think it is time to stop this mayor from hurting people to serve her own purposes. We need to do what we can to remove her from office as soon as possible.

  4. Man of the People!

    Back to topic, the York Road land would be a poor choice even if it were behind City Hall. At least assuming the topography was the same. We are apparently in a “budget crisis” as of this week, as usual being blamed on people who are gone from the city payroll. SO we cannot afford the millions of dollars it would take to level that property. Oh wait! It’s NOT behind City Hall. So we’ll need to spend a few more million to get a flood-prone road improved and a sewer line extended.

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