Headlines from The Chronicle and The Mt. Juliet News, March 26, 2008

from The Chronicle:

Concerned citizen claims City staffer attacked
inside headline: Citizen concerns prompt investigation
‘Falsified documents, unreported crimes’ surround alleged attack on city employee

RFMJ frequent commenter Chris Sorey took the microphone during citizen comments on two topics (he had to have the rules suspended so he could take up the second one when he ran over his alloted three minutes). “Chris Sorey alleged retaliation had been used against a former employee in the storm water department.” We don’t think you mean “former” did you Chris? Chris’s second charge concerned an alleged assault against a city building inspector by a building contractor. It’s not clear what his concern is from the story, but we’re sure he’ll let us know.

Another “hot topic” on the agenda was whether to require sprinkler systems in new residential construction. [the bad puns are killing us!]

Tempers flared at the commission table when the issue of the City purchase of the old MJ Elementary School property resurfaced.

Commissioner Jim Bradshaw asked if anyone on the commission had a “conflict of interest.” Bradshaw would not elaborate on what he meant, but Commissioner Will Sellers took offense, his face reddening.

The ordinance to use the proceeds of the hotel/motel tax to purchase the MJES property failed to pass on a 2-2 tie (commissioner Justice had to leave for work)

The Mayor’s ordinance to begin planning a new police station on the Paddocks property failed for lack of a second – much to the annoyance of the Mayor.

Curd Road improvements could start in 45 days
[but it won’t be open for traffic for at least a year. The new high school opens in five months.]

MJ welcomes new planner at commission meeting
[and says goodbye to planning attorney Louis Oliver]

from the Mt. Juliet News:

Proposed sprinklers in new homes sparks debate
[nobody can resist the bad puns, it seems]

It’s morning in Mt. Juliet, says Elam
[but it’s a cold bitter morning!]

Crews to break ground on safe passage to MJHS
Officials scramble to put together a traffic plan until road is complete
[whole lot of scrambling going on!]

MJ Commissioners adopt Vision Statement for city
[we can’t bring ourselves to print it. Apparently the vision statement doesn’t include making the vision statement available on the City’s web site]

Commissioners ‘redo’ vote to buy old school site; officers concerned issue of new police precinct might be ‘political pawn’
[best lines: “The commissioners continued snipping at each other over the issue..” and “Ray Justice’s ire was raised,” and “With all the bickering, are there any plans for a new police station?” asked police commander Michael Mullins.]

– Publius

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8 Comments

Filed under Fire Protection, YMCA

8 responses to “Headlines from The Chronicle and The Mt. Juliet News, March 26, 2008

  1. Common Sense

    “Former” was used in the paper to describe an employee, and they were evidently misinformed. That employee is still employed for the city.

    Publius stated “Chris’s second charge concerned an alleged assault against a city building inspector by a building contractor. It’s not clear what his concern is from the story, but we’re sure he’ll let us know.”

    My concern is that since the assault that the FORMER city manager Rob Shearer has confirmed with me through email as well as other sources, is that nothing has ever been done about the assault, and most people who LIVE in city didn’t even know that it took place. A few employees and obviously the mayor (given her reaction on Monday night) knew that the assault occurred. Given that the city has done nothing and supervisors told that employee not to go to the police about it, it is a major issue.

    Now, for the really hard part for a few of the regulars here to understand. I don’t know the person who was assaulted, nor the people who originally covered it up, or the contractor who committed the assault. I don’t stand to gain in any way from bringing this to the public, and can honestly say that I got involved because I think it was the right thing to do. Nothing more.

  2. Butch huber

    Anyone wanting to have a real eye opener should request a copy of the six page document authored by Cathy Reitz and which was delivered to Mayor Elam through an unnamed source.

    If my memory serves me correctly, and I think it does, this incident is included in that six page document. This is the same six page document that the mayor elected NOT to give to the former city manager Rob Shearer, against city policy I might add, but then again, who cares whether something is against the law or city policy anymore?

    Come on, Common Sense, everyone is pretty much convinced that you are doing investigative leg work for John and Cathy Reitz and perhaps others. Of course, I don’t have a problem with that…you have a right to spend your time however you want.

    But, yes, I am convinced that the mayor was fully aware of the incident regarding the assault against a city employee.

    What exactly do you want done about the assault? The person attacked has the right to file a complaint or even file charges, so why didn’t she? Sure, she may have been told not to file a complaint or file charges, but aren’t we all grown adults with a mind of our own? I am not in any way excusing the behavior of the attacker, so don’t act like I am, but there is a little bit of responsibility on the person who was attacked to seek justice. If we all become so weak in society that we are unwilling to stand up for our own rights than we are lost as a culture. This is something that occurred a over one year ago, and I know that you have known about this for some time now, so why the motivation to bring this to the surface at this moment? Why not when you heard of it? Go back through the video of all the commission meetings and you will find that I brought the six page document to the attention of the commission a long, long time ago. They didn’t do anything about it then…it was mentioned in my complaint filed back in August, so why would anyone act surprised to hear it now? I will tell you, it is because it is politically expedient to bring it to the surface now.

    I have to laugh when I hear of Ray saying that there needs to be a full investigation….there should have been a full investigation when I filed my complaint! I told them, they ignored me, and if there is a common thread it is exactly that, commissioners being informed and ignoring the informer!

  3. Uncommon Sense

    Perhaps the most amazing action this Commission took was it’s response to the Kevin Mack complaint. John Reitz had called the prior Mayor at home and told him that Elam encouraged his wife to file the complaint against Hatton Wright.

    Kevin Mack filed a complaint and asked the Commission to investigate. TCA gives the City Commission the power to subpoena so they could have compelled both Kathy and John Reitz to answer questions.

    What did they do? They voted (even Elam voted) to dismiss the complaint and went on to repeal their ethics ordinance!

    Jim Bradshaw, Will Sellers, and Linda Elam all voted not to investigate Mack’s complaint. The Commission went on to unanimously repeal their ethics ordinance instead. It was replaced with a version designed to discourage any more complaints.

    Possibly the most effective legislation passed here in a long time.

  4. Butch huber

    Uncommon Sense,

    Can you think of any reason why the commissioners and the mayor would not want any “real” investigations against any of the members of the commission?

    There has been a lot of talk about the incompleteness and incompetence of the investigations against Hatton Wright, but anyone reading the investigation Paula Flowers conducted against the mayor could not come to the conclusion that that was a “real” investigation. Anyone reading this post should take the time to read the depositions in that investigation. If you read them you will find that the attorney will be asking the deposed questions that seem to lead to a place where there will be an exposure of something that will not look good for the Mayor and then she stops that line of questioning and moves in another direction! The questions she asks and the way she leads the investigation is so biased toward the interests of the Mayor that the whole investigation is laughable.

    How can anyone ever trust this commission? The only thing that has a chance of restoring faith in the commission is to see five fresh faces sitting up there in the commission seats, a new city manager, and a city attorney selected by the new commission.

  5. Ray Justice

    This is hilarious.
    Butch says “I have to laugh when I hear of Ray saying that there needs to be a full investigation….there should have been a full investigation when I filed my complaint!”
    Butch, buddy, pal, what part of needing three votes do you not understand. Ed Hagerty and I have continuously fought for investigations only to lose due to not having the votes. Then you get upset because we don’t become become renegades and go do our own investigation to make Butchy Boy happy. Then if we did, you would accuse us of acting outside of our authority as commissioners to conduct an investigation. Like I told the Mayor recently, you can’t have it both ways. I agree with Common Sense you need to run for Mayor, I personally would contribute to your campaign. It is time for Butch to stop Monday morning quarterbacking and get in the game. Are you scared Butch? If you are just say so. Could it be that you aren’t sure everybody out there agrees with you? What is the issue? Please run.

    Ray

  6. Uncommon Sense

    Butch,

    I can only speculate as to the why an elected official would willingly not want to know the truth about the Reitz complaint. The vote of Will Sellers and Linda Elam not to investigate seems predictable – Sellers has been enabling Elam most of his time on the board. After all, they both voted to hire Keith Bergman to be Mt Juliet City Manager!

    Jim Bradshaw’s vote to not investigate is harder to understand. Jim has always seemed to me to be the most honorable Mt. Juliet official. He may have just been confused about the importance of knowing the truth here. Perhaps Jim bought into Elam’s Clinton-like conspiracy theory defense. Who knows?

    It is important to note that both Hagerty and Justice did vote to investigate the Mack complaint. That begs the question of why those two immediately voted to repeal the ethics ordinance! The biggest scandal of this Commission will always be that unanimous vote. It was the equivalent of telling the public, and public employees, to shut up.

  7. Butch huber

    Ray, I might be afraid of a lot of things, but one thing I am not afraid of is that, if I were to run for mayor and win, I wouldn’t be afraid that I would lose my mind and vote to borrow 2 million dollars so that I could give away 1.3 million dollars to a non-profit entity! I wouldn’t be afraid of that, Ray, you can bet on it!

  8. Butch huber

    Brian,

    My comments here have nothing to do with you on a personal level, they have to do with the decision to hire an IT person who also is a real estate agent in a city where real estate is the name of the game.

    Remove yourself from the situation for just a second and consider the actions and events that have taken place. Consider the precedence that is established when the city employs people in positions which “can” be a conflict of interest.

    You are basically saying that you are trustworthy and honest and that you wouldn’t do anything wrong in your current position. However, let’s just imagine for a moment that you weren’t honest. Let’s just imagine that you were someone who hoped to personally gain from this new position. Let’s pretend that you really want to make a big splash in real estate and you saw this as a means of being able to tap into inside information that would enable you to fashion a private deal that would make you money. Can you see that it would be possible for someone in your position to personally benefit from your position? I am sure you can, and that is what this is all about.

    1) The mayor went to work for a developer in this city without telling anyone about her new job, then she was on the phone apparently forcefully trying to get the former city planner to take something off the requirements on her employer’s project without disclosing that she was working for the developer.

    2) We currently have another ethics issue being investigated in the county regarding a commissioner and real estate dealings.

    3) There has already been an investigation into the dealings of another real estate agent working for a government agency in a position that would enable her to have easy access to sensitive information, information that could help her in her real estate dealings.

    Rather than cleaning up the government and developing an environment of trust and openness, Mt. Juliet’s government leaders continue to make maneuvers that create suspicion and distrust, they make it nearly impossible for anyone to hold them accountable, and they make moves that would turn even the most open minded and trusting person become a cynic. That is the environment that you entered into, Brian, so when you hear us on here blasting them know that it has little to nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. You just happen to be in the way.

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