Amending the City’s Ethics Code . . .

and other matters.

The agenda for the next meeting of the Mt. Juliet City Commission is up on the City web site. There are a couple of interesting items.

They’re going to take up, once again, Vice Mayor Hagerty’s proposal to dedicate the proceeds of the hotel/motel tax to go towards the purchase of the property which they voted to give to the YMCA. They tried to pass this last time they met, but it failed to pass on a 2-2 tie after Commissioner Justice left the meeting.

Commissioner Justice is sponsoring two items on the agenda. One is an amendment to the City’s Ethics Code which is described, cryptically, as “Amend Ethics Ordinance – Board Members.” It really seems to us that public notice is NOT adequately given when the public has no idea what’s being proposed in advance of the meeting. It would be a trivial matter for the full text of each agenda item to be available on the City’s website. The state legislature and the US Congress both give us full access to bills as soon as they are filed. The City of Mt. Juliet should do the same.

Commissioner Justice’s second item is a “discussion item” titled “Amend Title 1 of the City of Mt. Juliet Code – Board of Commissioners.” Like the item mentioned above, this title is so vague that there’s no way for any member of the public to discern what the Commissioner might be proposing.

Note to Commissioners: If the passage of an item would be jeopardized by letting the public know what it is ahead of time, it’s probably not a good idea.

– Publius

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17 Comments

Filed under ethics

17 responses to “Amending the City’s Ethics Code . . .

  1. Butch Huber

    For those who are unaware, the city of Mt. Juliet’s Commission radically altered the city’s ethics policy and it is a matter that should be of concern to each and every citizen.

    A little background: The State recently passed an Act requiring all Tennessee Municipalities or governments to adopt an ethics policy. MTAS, an organization that helps Municipalities ensure that they are operating properly and according to law, developed a model ethics policy that the State sanctioned as an appropriate model that all governments could adopt. In the event a government felt the need to develop their own ethics policy they were welcomed to submit their own version, however, there were conditions and timelines that were to be followed. The Legislature must have felt very strongly about this matter because in the language of the Act they threaten public officials with removal from office in the event they fail to meet the terms and conditions of the Act. That seems pretty serious to me, how about you?

    So, the city of Mt. Juliet voted to adopt the MTAS ethics policy model, I believe in July of 2007. However, in May of last year there was a complaint brought against Mr. Hatton Wright. Mr. Hatton Wright then lodged a complaint against Mayor Elam. Then Former Mayor Mack lodged his complaint based on a conversation with the husband of the woman who filed the complaint against Hatton Wright. Then, I filed my complaint against the entire commission, the acting city manager, and the city attorney. Then, there was the complaint filed against Vice-mayor Hagerty from some unidentified person. So, rather than investigate the matters being brought to the commission’s attention, the commission dreamed up this new scheme through which they would never really have to worry about another ethics complaint. They altered the city ethics commission in such a manner that they made it nearly impossible for anyone to file a complaint against elected officials: city employees “yes”; elected officials “no”. Today, you really have to have all your “I”s dotted and your “T”s crossed if you are going to be successful in a complaint against the commissioners of this city.

    In order to bring a successful complaint you have to:

    Sense the alleged violation with your own senses first hand. In other words, if you don’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears than you can’t file the complaint. You can’t be “tipped-off” about the violation by another person, say a public employee working for the city who is afraid to bring the complaint himself for fear of retaliation that would cost him his job (Think Bobby Franklin, Rob Shearer, Debbie Moss, Hatton Wright, and Louis Oliver. Not that they were afraid, but they certainly seem to be examples of what happens to employees who have given testimony against a public official and/or refused to do the bidding of public officials and who later found themselves out of a job.).

    If you do perceive the violation with your own eyes and/or ears the clock starts ticking. You have a thirty day window from the time you perceive the violation to the time you have to report it or you have exceeded the city commission’s statute of limitations. In other words, if you snooze we all lose.

    Then, you have to be very specific in what you write because they will be certain to only investigate exactly what you state in your complaint (If you complaint is even investigated. When you read the rest of this post you will probably agree that there is very little chance of an investigation.). In other words, if you see a commissioner taking a bribe, the investigation will only go so far as to investigate that one, isolated event, and if they can find a way to determine your complaint is unfounded they are under no obligation (At least in their own minds.) to pursue anything else, even if it becomes obvious that there are other violations.

    You have to properly fill out the proper forms, submit evidence, and swear under oath that what you have stated in your complaint is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and sign the complaint: No anonymous complaints. In other words, they want to know “who” you are more than they want to find out if “what” you are saying is true or not. They seem to want to be able to prosecute you for perjury if they can determine your complaint to be unfounded. They even threaten us with prosecution for the crime of perjury in the ethics policy; which is intimidation of witnesses in my opinion.

    If you meet all of those requirements you can submit your complaint (Make sure you have all your ducks in a row and you file your complaint within thirty days.). You complaint, if it is against a public official, then goes to the new city ethics commission, where they will determine if your complaint has merit, does not have merit, or has sufficient merit to warrant further investigation. However, you should know that the members of that commission are all hand picked by none other than the city council members themselves. The ethics commission may be a group of well intended, honorable people, but, would a Judge allow the sister of the defendant to serve on a jury? How about his best friend? I don’t think so, do you? But what is it when commissioners hand pick the people they want to serve on the commission that will decide if there is sufficient evidence to warrant action against them on a complaint? Isn’t the ethics commission a quasi-jury?

    So there you have it, if you ever hope to file an ethics complaint against any of the members of this city commission you have your work cut out for you; and God forbid you fail in your complaint because you risk being charged with perjury.

    Folks, the Ethics Act was put in place so that it would be easier for ordinary citizens to hold public officials accountable for misdeeds. This commission has flouted the intention of the Tennessee Ethics Act by creating a process that makes it even harder for us to do our jobs as citizens. It’s as if they are saying, “You uppity citizens think you are going to tell on us, good luck!”

    Just another day of politics as usual in the city of Mt. Juliet. Do you feel better now that you know the truth of what is going on or worse. I for one feel sick to my stomach, but then again, I have had that feeling for quite some time now.

  2. Tennessee Jed

    You morons just continue to stay on here and posture and preen about your little silly egotistical games.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting in traffic with the rest of Mt. Juliet wondering why no one takes decisive action to fix our traffic crisis.

    You are all jokes. Only we ain’t laughing. Except laughing at you at times.

    What amateurs. From the high Mayor to the Commissioners to the wannabes who post on here. (one and the same, in some cases).

    A pox on all your houses.

    Fix the roads and the traffic. Job 1.

  3. Butch Huber

    Seeing how this commission has been acting lately, I wanted to make sure that the commissioners have all filed their disclosure of interest forms as required by law.

    Linda Elam filed on 6 February
    Will Sellers filed on 20 January
    James Bradshaw filed on 23 January
    Ed Hagerty filed on 5 February

    Unfortunately, the State Ethics Commission was unable to find Commissioner Justice’s disclosure statement. Hmmmm.

    Well done to Linda, Will, Jim and Ed.

  4. Common Sense

    Hey Butch,
    Was it that the TEC was unable to find the disclosure or were you unable to find it on the website? You say that they were unable, but it seems odd that they would look instead of pointing you to the website to do your own search. Or did you speak to soon? No problem if you did. We all make mistakes.

  5. Butch Huber

    Okay Common Sense, I will tell you the whole sordid story. Ya see, I called the ethics commission and the person working for the ethics commission looked up the names of all of the commissioners for me. The person I spoke with was a man. He was able to find all of the other commissioners, however, he could not find a “Ray” Justice. He found a “Delter” Justice, but not a “Ray” Justice. I thought maybe Ray “might” be Delter, and that I just didn’t know “Ray’s” real name. (Considering how he likes to use my real name as if he is making fun of it, I would not think that he had a name like “Delter”. ) However, the person helping me told me the address for “Delter” , but the address was not on Park Glen, so I didn’t think that was the right name. I informed the person I was speaking to that Commissioner Justice was also a Sheriff’s Deputy, but not once did he point out that “Delter” worked for the Sheriff’s Department. Never in our conversation did he mention the on-line database that includes all of the information. I was unaware that the data-file existed on-line until you sent your post with the link.

    However, since you are being so thorough, how is it that you have given Ray, Linda and Ed a pass for being late filing their disclosures? How is it that you pass by the fact that at least one of the commissioners has not been honest on their disclosure?

    You want to run for political office, but it appears that you are no more interested in fixing the problems than anyone else. Otherwise you would catch these things and post remarks about them in the same way that you seem to like making posts trying to take jabs at me. Could it be that you are really trying to cover for your buddy Ray?

    You see, Common Sense, you do keep setting things up for me, I am so glad you are who you are. Thanks. (I guess you are going to say that it was my fault that the TEC employee couldn’t find the file because I didn’t know Ray Justice’s real name. But shouldn’t they be able to find his name by his position as well? Hmmmm.)

    As far as speaking too soon, I don’t know about that. You see, I guess that would depend on whose side of the issue you are on. From Ray’s position, my speaking on the issue anytime before April third or fourth (When he finally filed his disclosure. It was only two months late!!!) would have been too soon. From my perspective, I guess if I were trying to make him look bad, I spoke too late. It’s all a perspective thing.

    Seems like this commission is having a really hard time making dead-lines these days. Perhaps what they need is Rob Shearer to keep them on schedule and on track. Come on, admit it, life in Mt. Juliet was better and the city was more vibrant when Rob and Bobby were in there to keep the commission straight, wasn’t it? Come on, be honest.

  6. Butch Huber

    STATEMENT OF DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
    STATE AND LOCAL OFFICE HOLDERS, CANDIDATES AND APPOINTEES TO SUCH POSITIONS,
    NON-GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS, ETC.

    Please see the attached Instructions before completing this form (the failure to timely and properly submit the
    required disclosure statement can, under T.C.A. §3-6-205, result in the imposition of civil penalties in amounts up to
    $10,000). Attach additional pages as necessary. Note that this disclosure statement must be signed and the
    signature attested to by a witness in item 13. In addition, please be aware that the information listed on this
    statement will be transferred to an electronic format for posting on the Commission’s website.

  7. common sense

    Butchg, Are you serious? No more interesed in fixing the problems? If you weren’t fed your info on Sunday morning you wouldn’t know what to look for.

    Again, I have no conflicts of interest at city hall, and went to speak on some issues. You will only pick up a torch when it is handed to you, and only if it doesn’t have anything to do with any of your buddies.

    Have fun playing on here with yourself!

  8. Ray Justice

    Hi Butch

    For the record…my full name is Delter Ray Justice, I am not ashamed of this. My father’s name was Delter Raymond Justice and I obviously was named after him. I have never made fun of your name. The email you referred to was in response to the manner that you referred to yourself. I assumed if you wanted to be referred to as “Butch” you would have signed your email as such. I did not intend to offend you in any way. I do not like you very much but I will not ridicule you because of your name. That was given to you by your parents and is something personal and not something that I will make fun of. As for the ethics disclosure…I filed a couple of months earlier but was advised that due to some problem, I’m not sure whether it was my fault or theirs, that I needed to refile and did so as soon as I was made aware there was a problem. If you look on the website you will find my information, my wife’s information and my minor child’s information.
    If you want to question me about a decision I have made that is fair game but I would warn you, if you want to question my ethics you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m too darn broke to be corrupt. I am the poster child for the “poor old broke public servant” and I can prove that one really easy if I had to. Again, please accept my apologies if I did anything to hurt your feelings in reference to your name, that was not my intention.
    Also, Common Sense, thank you for taking the time to look into this I appreciate your being fair and open minded.

    Ray

  9. Gary Chumley

    Ray,

    Your high ethical standard is as much a figment of your imagination as am I.

  10. Butch Huber

    Ray,

    Thank you for clearing all of that up for us.

    The word “Corrupt” means a lot of things, Ray, including things that have nothing to do with money. It could mean that a person is guilty of having performed dishonest practices or that they are debased or depraved in their personal character.

    Ray, I assume that by your statement that you are the poster child for the “poor old broke public servant” that I have intimated somehow that you are on the take. I find it interesting that you thought that, Ray. Is there something you feel like you need to tell us? Go ahead, Ray, if there is something bothering you get it off your chest.

    Ray, I suggest that you think long and hard about your different sources of income, then look at what you reported to the ethics commission. If you are happy with what you reported then be willing to stand by what you have stated. That is all I am going to say about that….for now.

    I will let your record stand for itself as far as your ethics are concerned, Ray.

    Fact:

    You attempted to fire Rob Shearer because he wouldn’t fire Bobby Franklin.

    My belief:
    I believe you wanted to fire Rob for cause so that you could deprive him of his severance package. You certainly had the votes to fire him without cause if you wanted and there wouldn’t have been much anyone could do about that, but I don’t think you could bring yourself to fire him without cause because that would mean he would get his severance package.

    Fact:

    You wouldn’t answer the question of whether or not you would arrest me for a crime I didn’t commit in order to punish me for a crime I did commit. You called that a “Black and White question that I cannot answer”. (This one was a real shocker to me, Ray.)

    Fact:

    You called the former Chief of Police and chastised him for not extending professional courtesy to the daughter of a former mayor when she was arrested for driving under the influence. You lectured the Chief of police about the merit of extending professional courtesy to public figures.

    Fact:

    During that phone conversation you made up a story (meaning you lied to him) about this woman at the country pub and Gary Chumley and how you extended “professional courtesy” to the girl friend of a police officer.

    Fact:

    When Mayor Linda Elam illegally called you and asked you if you were still interested in firing Rob Shearer, you responded to her by saying “yes” rather than tell her that by calling you regarding that matter she is in violation of state law.

    Fact:

    I made it public knowledge that Rob Shearer’s resignation was obtained under duress, that state sunshine laws had been broken to obtain it, that Mayor Elam had illegally acted under color of office to obtain his resignation, that she had illegally negotiated his severance package and that, according to state law, if you acted on his resignation the vote would be null and void because sunshine laws were violated in the process of forcing his resignation. Being made aware of all of that, you voted to accept his resignation rather than sponsor a resolution to investigate what I had told you to discern the truth.

    Fact:

    During a conversation you and I had concerning Rob’s forced resignation I pointed out to you how laws had been broken in order to obtain it, to which you said, “If the end result is that Rob is out of office, I guess I am okay with that”.

    Fact:

    You are trying to use the people’s money to make a whale of a donation to the YMCA when only about 9 percent of the people in the city responded to the YMCA’s survey that they would be interested in a YMCA in Mt. Juliet.

    Ray, corruption doesn’t have only to do with taking bribes, a person can be as poor as a church mouse and still be “corrupt”. Corruption has as much to do with one’s heart as it does one’s wallet. You have been vested with the power and authority to ensure that the laws of the nation, the state, and the ordinances and resolutions of this city are followed, you have taken an oath to uphold those laws, ordinances, and resolutions, yet you pick and choose which laws, ordinances and resolutions you will uphold and which ones you won’t uphold based on your own personal agenda.
    Rather than open things up so that citizens can more easily hold public officials accountable for their actions, you vote to make it nearly impossible for us to file an ethics complaint. Even if we are successful in filing a complaint, you have made it highly improbable that a complaint will spawn an investigation. Even if there is an ethics investigation, you have made it nearly impossible for that investigation to bring about official charges and/or removal from office. You knew what you were doing when you took the actions you took on the city’s ethics policy and you did it anyway.

    Ray, I think it is probably obvious by now that I could care less whether or not you “like” me. However, you are personally responsible for my being involved, Ray. Had you not done the things you have done you most likely wouldn’t have ever known my name. Like me or not, Ray, Mt. Juliet has you to blame for my involvement in what is happening in this city. On top of what you have done, Ray, it is something you said that got under my skin that has kept me involved. In a commission meeting you said “most people, if their toilet flushes, think the government must be operating okay”. Man, that got under my skin, Ray, not because it was false, but because there was too much truth to that statement. Those words still ring in my ears today. I spent a lifetime running from that still small inner voice that was telling me that it isn’t okay for politicians or people of authority to abuse their authority for personal gain or to wield their personal agenda against the people and that I should take a stand. As a very young man I witnessed a local contractor get his way on something by paying policy makers about $3,600. I will never forget that day. That day I saw the reality that those with the gold make the rules. Your behavior and your statement about flushing toilets shocked me out of my stupor, Ray, and for that I am grateful (Even though I think you are wrong on so many levels.)

    Ray, the reason you don’t like me is because I hold a mirror up in front of you. I reveal to you who you really are and you don’t like what you see. If you weren’t trying to do things you shouldn’t be trying to do you wouldn’t have a problem with me. Never once have I launched an attack on you, Ray. I have only returned volley when you attacked me. Never once have I been nasty to you until after you have been nasty to me. All I have ever done is to try to bring the truth out into the light of day so everyone can see what is going on. That is how it is supposed to be, Ray, out in the open. If you and the other commissioners would stop holding back-room meetings and speaking to each other outside a properly called meeting most, if not all, of the issues would go away. But try as I might, I can’t get you and the others to follow the state sunshine laws and do your business in front of the public as you are required by law to do.

    It is all really quite simple, Ray, follow the law. Don’t look for ways to stretch the limits of the law, but rather endeavor to fulfill the spirit of the law and try to land as close to dead center of the law as possible. If the law is wrong do what you can to change it. If you can’t change the law learn to live with it.

    Ray, can’t you see that a public that witnesses its elected leaders violating the law, and getting away with it, have no reason to act within the law themselves? Don’t you understand the concept of organizational behavior? When the people at the top of an organization have lost their moral compass, their foundation, then the whole organization falls in on itself ethically. An organization devoid of standardized guiding principles is an organization that is destined for pandemonium and chaos. That is exactly what has happened here in Mt. Juliet. You and the other commissioners have been made aware of some very grievous violations of the law and yet, rather than investigate and prosecute, you elect to make it nearly impossible for citizens to take you to task for your actions. Even though you have voted to investigate and were outvoted, you still have an underlying duty to pursue all legal measures to find the truth and to pursue justice. I really don’t believe you live up to the spirit of your oath, Ray.

    You see, Ray, when you throw out the law there are only two paths to choose from; one path is based on your personal moral foundation, which comes from how you were raised. It is a function of what you feel is right or wrong based on beliefs that are ingrained and instilled in you as you grew up. The other path is based on your own personal agenda and is only influenced by what can help you achieve your personal goals. Since this commission has shown that it has no compunction whatever to follow the law, you have created five separate sets of personal political guiding principles. There is no way that this commission can accomplish anything of substance when you have five different play books you are working from.

    I didn’t want to be involved, you made me get involved, Ray. You did this to yourself. Your struggle isn’t with me, Ray, your struggle is with the man in the mirror.

  11. Butch Huber

    Common Sense,

    I bet you thought you had gotten away with your earlier post. Nah.

    You wrote:
    “Butch, Are you serious? No more interested in fixing the problems? If you weren’t fed your info on Sunday morning you wouldn’t know what to look for.”

    I say: “Common Sense, You’re right, if not through people who inform me of what is going on in city hall, and by watching commission meetings, I probably wouldn’t know where to look. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who get the word to me about what is happening at city hall. However, Sunday morning has little to nothing to do with it though. Along the same lines, though, if John and Cathy Reitz weren’t spoon feeding you information you wouldn’t know where to look or what to look for either.”

    You Say:
    “Again, I have no conflicts of interest at city hall, and went to speak on some issues. You will only pick up a torch when it is handed to you, and only if it doesn’t have anything to do with any of your buddies.”

    I am not sure what you are trying to say in that statement. I do pick-up that you are trying to say that I am only concerned about my “Buddies”. You only feel that way because you brought me some very thin theory about cases of retaliation for past action and I didn’t buy it. I have stood beside, and stood up for, an awful lot of people in this city…I guess I have a lot of Buddies. You on the other hand only seem to stick up for three or four…I guess you don’t have a lot of buddies.

    You say;

    “Have fun playing on here with yourself!”

    If there is one thing that I can count on, Common Sense, it is that you will be back for more again and again.

    I think I will start calling you Wile E.

  12. Common Sense

    [comment deleted]
    [ad hominem]

  13. Butch Huber

    Common Sense,

    I grew up on a farm,

    [comment deleted]
    [ad hominem]

  14. Alright guys… enough.

    I hope you got that out of your systems. Please keep your comments on topic. If you have points to make, make them.

    Ad hominem attacks are inappropriate.

    – Publius

  15. Butch Huber

    Publius,

    Thank you.

    Folks,

    I apologize for allowing myself to engage in inappropriate dialog on this site.

    Common Sense.

    I apologize. There is nothing wrong with working airport security. I obviously touched on a subject that you are sensitive about. I don’t doubt that you are good at your job. Your comments in a previous post rankled me because you were insinuating that I couldn’t think for myself. Since you took a jab at me, I figured I would take one at you.

    I guess I am just going to have to ignore the little barbs that occur on this site so that we can remain focused on the real issues.

    It really doesn’t matter if either of us are spoon fed our information or whether we pick up on things all on our own. What really matters is what we do with the information that we discover. The question is, “are we trying to drag the truth out in the light of day or are we pursuing a personal agenda?”

    The more we drag things out into the light the less politicians will be likely to try something they shouldn’t be doing.

  16. Butch Huber

    This Monday the city commission will vote on second reading to amend the hotel/motel tax. I promise you that if you read the proposed amendment you will be astonished. As has been well publicized on RadioFreeMj, the city is planning to purchase the old Mt. Juliet Elementary School site from the county for $2,000,000. The county has agreed to extend a loan to the city in the amount of $1,050,000 to be paid back through five annual payments of $210,000 and with a credit of $950,000 toward the construction costs to enhance Curd Road to the new High School. When asked where the money for the $210,000 will come from, Commissioner Justice blurted out “From the Hotel/Motel Tax”.

    Problem:
    The ordinance that the city passed doesn’t quite resemble the offer extended to the city through County Resolution 07-12-3.

    Problem:
    There is no longer an offer on the table from the county. The city let the deadline to act pass without acting on it.

    Problem:
    The city’s version of the deal does not include a provision that absolves the county of any responsibility for further contributions toward construction costs to enhance Curd Road: A provision I am sure the county will want to have included in the final version of the deal.

    Problem:
    The city manager cannot offer the county any type of deal other than the one defined in the city ordinance adopted a couple meetings ago.

    Problem:
    The county cannot offer a different deal to the city without either amending resolution 07-12-3 or adopting another resolution.

    Problem:
    The next regular meeting of the County Commission is going to be held on May 19th.

    Problem:
    The next regular meeting of the city commission after May 19th is going to be held on May 26th.

    Problem:
    Even if the city commission were able to strike a deal with the county, unless the county were to accept, without amendment, the deal contemplated under the city ordinance, the city would have to substantially amend the city ordinance that directs the city manager to purchase the land.

    Problem:
    Since the city has included the grant to the YMCA in the same ordinance, they will have to pass the amended ordinance in two meetings instead of just one.

    Problem:
    Unless the city can convince the county to vote on, and approve, the city’s version of the deal in some sort of special session of the county commission, at a date earlier than the next scheduled meeting of the county commission, the soonest the city could pass the measure in a regular meeting of the city commission would be June 9th. (They may be able to do their bidding through special sessions of the city commission, but even then the soonest they could approve an ordinance would be around June 3rd.)

    Problem:
    I don’t believe an ordinance of this nature takes affect until 15 days from adoption. I could be wrong about that, but that is my interpretation. So, unless the city is willing to go out on a limb, it will probably be around June 17th to June 24th before they actually get started on enhancing the road to the school.

    Problem:
    Whether or not the city follows the law as defined in TCA6-22-124 or 6-22-128, and identifies from which fund the city will pay for this purchase, and certifies that the funds will in fact be available, and whether or not they push this off to the next budget, the city will eventually have to account for where it will come up with the funds to pay for this land purchase.

    Problem:
    The hotel/motel tax will not be of a sufficient amount to pay for the $210,000 first payment that is due in September as defined in County Resolution 07-12-3. In fact, there is little doubt that the hotel/motel tax will not be sufficient in any of the next five years to pay for that year’s payment. So, if the hotel/motel tax can’t cover the payment, Mr. Justice must have been wrong when he stated that the hotel/motel tax would pay for the purchase.

    Problem:
    The city ordinance directing the city manager to purchase the land from the county does not state that the county must give clear title to the property, nor does the county resolution state that they will give the city clear title to the property. However, the city ordinance clearly intends for the city manager to purchase the property from the county and then “Donate” 8 acres of the land to the YMCA. However, unless the city has clear title to the property, it cannot Donate the property to the YMCA.

    Problem:
    IF the intention of the ordinance is to purchase the land so that they can give it away, unless the deal is structured in such a manner as to allow the city manager to give the land away, no deal that is made under that ordinance could be legal….Right? I mean, the city manager could not knowingly enter into a contract that would not fully fulfill the requirements of the ordinance itself.

    Problem:
    The city is going to have to convince the county to accept a deal that gives the city free and clear title to the Old MJES site while the county is holding a note for $1,050,000 on the property.

    Problem:
    The county doesn’t get a credit from the city in the city’s version of the deal, the city gets a credit from the county in the city’s version of the deal. The city is going to have a problem putting that deal together.

    Major Problem:
    The county needs the city to go to work immediately to fix curd road to the school.

    Major Problem:
    The city has drug its heels getting started on that road enhancement project and the school is scheduled to open, at least to my understanding, in August.

    Major Problem:
    If the city waits until it has a signed deal from the county it will be sometime in late June or July before the city gets started on the road. However, by June or July we will be right in the middle of road construction season. (Remember the Chris Ryan/Pulte Homes building permit issues? He couldn’t wait to get started on the roads before he started building homes and he couldn’t start on the roads until the ground had dried.) How hard will it be to get work done on a moment’s notice if they wait until June or July to get started?

    Problem:
    How long does it take to build a road in Middle Tennessee?

    Problem:
    Traffic.

    Problem:
    Someone is going to end up with a lot, and I mean a lot, of political egg on their face if the city and the county can’t come to terms on how to proceed with fixing Curd Road.

    Problem:
    The city is going to use hotel/motel taxes to pay for a donation to a non-profit entity. Hotel/motel taxes are typically used to draw visitors to an area so that they spend money locally. There is no up-side to this deal. However, go read the amendment that the city will vote for on Monday. Tell me where it states that they can use the hotel/motel tax to pay for a donation to the YMCA. Now, tell me where it doesn’t say it, either. That amendment was so vaguely, and carefully constructed, that it would require a judge or jury to “Interpret” the ordinance in order to discern whether or not it gives them permission to use the money to purchase land and then donate it to the YMCA.

    Problem:
    Having to “Interpret” law.

    Potentially deal killing problem:
    The cost to enhance curd road to the school has been projected to be $950,000. The school needs this road to be constructed ASAP. The county intended the land deal to be the county’s contribution to the construction of the road to the School. If the city ends up taking the county’s offer, the city will have to come up with $950,000 to pay for those construction costs without dipping into Bond Funds, because they can’t use bond funds to offset a credit on another deal, and the city will have to come up with $210,000 by September to pay the county the first installment on the five year note the county would give the city in the deal contemplated under 07-12-3. That means that in a very short period of time, unless the city obtains another loan, the city will have to come up with an extra $1,160,000 ($950,000 + $210,000). Where is the city going to come up with that kind of money on such short notice?

    Problem:
    Politicians who play cute little games and who wield their personal agenda upon the masses.

  17. Butch Huber

    Tune in to the commission tomorrow night to watch your city government work against your best interests to serve their own. I don’t know everything that they will be voting on tomorrow because, for some strange reason, I can’t seem to download the agenda from the city website. I am sure that is just a technical error.

    Tomorrow, the city commission will vote on second reading to amend the city’s hotel/motel tax.

    You will be able to see them vote, but you won’t be able to see what they are actually voting on. What you won’t be able to see, even if you obtain a copy of the amendment, is where it says:

    Whereas, we the members of this commission know that we told you citizens that we were going to enact this tax so that we could spend the proceeds on city owned parks and recreation; and

    Whereas, by now, the citizens of this city should have known better than to trust what we were saying; and,

    Whereas, the purported purpose for the enactment of this tax in the first place was just a ruse to fool the citizens so that they wouldn’t fight against this tax; and,

    Whereas, we knew you citizens wouldn’t fight us because we promised to provide you with free parks and recreation revenues through taxes that you wouldn’t have to personally pay; and,

    Whereas, we are now going to pull the wool over your eyes once more by passing a vaguely worded amendment that will give us political and legal cover when we take the money we promised you that we would use to provide you with free parks and recreation and give it to the YMCA; and

    Whereas, if that big mouth Butch Huber would have kept his big nose out of this, you citizens might not even know what was going on; and,

    Whereas, now, if the citizens want to take advantage of the benefits of the newly enacted hotel/motel tax, they will have to sign up as members of the YMCA and take another $700 or more out of their family budget each year; and

    Whereas, we already know that only about 9% of the people who live in Mt. Juliet are interested in joining the YMCA; and,

    Whereas, we realize that 91% of the citizens of Mt. Juliet are now disenfranchised by our intended actions, but we don’t care; and,

    Whereas, we are fully aware that the hotel/motel tax won’t cover the costs we have to pay in order to give this land to the YMCA; and,

    Whereas, we are going to have to come back at some point and charge you a property tax because we are making such a boneheaded move with this YMCA donation; and,

    Whereas, when we increase the property taxes we will be able to blame you because you wanted a YMCA in this city; and,

    Whereas, because we won’t stop with just giving the YCMA the 8 acres of land, and will later come back and vote to make direct cash contributions to the YMCA so that they can build the building and buy the equipment, we will raise your property taxes by about $1,000 per year, you will now be spending about $1,700 each year so that 9% of the citizens can enjoy the YMCA; and,

    Whereas, by making this deal we are taking one of the most prime retail locations in the entire city and ruining it for retail, but we don’t care; and,

    Whereas, we have formed a new triumvirate within the Mt. Juliet Commission that consists of Will Sellers, Ed Hagerty, and Ray Justice; and,

    Whereas, we, the triumvirate, have colluded behind closed doors and have secretly agreed to pass each other’s pet projects in a rubber stamp 3/2 vote, effectively negating any affect the Mayor and Commissioner Bradshaw could have with their votes; and,

    Whereas, we have once again violated the public trust in us as their elected officials, but we don’t care; and,

    Whereas, we intended to illegally use bond funds to help with the purchase of this property until those big mouths on Radiofreemj got in our way; and,

    Whereas, had they not gotten in our way we might of gotten away with bond fraud: and,

    Whereas, there is a lot more of this to come in the next few months as it comes down to election time, after all, if we have someone run against us there is little chance we will be re-elected and we want to get as much of our bidding done now, when we have three votes, as possible; and,

    Whereas, we have finally gotten rid of Rob Shearer and Bobby Franklin, who made sure, to the best of their ability, that the city commission had to follow the law, and, now, therefore, we are able to do just about anything we want; and,

    Whereas, we kind of like having the power to do whatever we want; and,

    Whereas, no matter how ill-conceived this plan is,
    we are determined to do whatever we want no matter what it costs you tax payers, and,
    therefore,

    we amend the hotel/motel tax as proposed.

    You won’t be able to read that in the ordinance because, to see it, you might need a secret decoder ring, and you might need special glasses to be able to see the invisible ink, and you might have to read upside down and backward, and you might have to read between the lines, and you might even have to be able to read the decoded message in their secret language, but if they actually put all of that on the ordinance, and you have the special glasses, and the decoder ring, and you can read upside down and backwards, and you can read the secret message in their secret language, you might be able to discern just what they are up to, but be very careful, if you can understand their language, and you can read the secret message, they might make you become one of them or risk being accused of being a “Conspiracy Theorist”.

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