Headlines from the Mt. Juliet News, July 30, 2008

Is your home safe?
Some MJ homes built without proper firewalls

[a report on the press conference called by the city in advance of the Channel 5 news story]

Auto emissions testing comes to MJ
[mobile testing center will set up at Mundy Park the last week of each month]

Safer passage for all
City to receive $2M grant for Curd Road L Connector
Ribbon cutting celebrates installation of traffic light at Benders Ferry/Lebanon Road

[good news. Pssst: the new high school opens tomorrow]

Bradsahw makes bid for MJ mayor
“I listen to people. That’s why I’ve been elected four times.”
[Still no word from Mayor Elam on whether she intends to run for a second term.]

Mt. Juliet News wins seven awards
[to which RFMJ says, “Congratulations”]

Mt. Juliet finance director resigns
[Mayor Elam says “she did not want to spend her days dealing with irresponsible individuals asking her for tons of information and at times accusing her of incompetence.” Mayor, there’s a simple solution. If the budget had been posted on the city’s website, the finance director wouldn’t have had to spend ANY time providing “tons of information.” As to accusations of incompetence, how would you characterize a budget where the columns of numbers didn’t add up to the published totals?]

Commission’s decision for in-city retreat correct move
[there’s another “retreat” scheduled for August 8-9, at Tennessee Sports Medicine. By law, it must be open to the public and a videotape record must be made.]

– Publius

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3 Comments

Filed under Open Meetings Law, Public Records

3 responses to “Headlines from the Mt. Juliet News, July 30, 2008

  1. Butch Huber

    “Irresponsible individuals asking her for tons of information and at times accusing her of incompetence”!

    For those who watch the twice monthly farce called a commission meeting on channel three, please remember that I went to the commission meeting to let them know that their numbers were off by as much as $4,000,000, (turned out I was right)! I was nice at first, but they chose to ignore me (as usual: you’d think they would learn). Mr. Robertson blamed the errors on the prior administration and defended his numbers. I had been to city hall earlier that day and showed Mr. Robertson that the numbers were wrong, and I showed Ms. Vollett that the numbers were wrong. Yet, they defended them and stated that there were mistakes made by the “prior administration”. In the end, it turns out the the “prior administration” was accurate to a degree that is at times spooky. Turned out the the problem was actually caused by Ms. Vollett getting spreadsheet formulas all messed up (the big errors anyway). Mrs. Vollett missed the fact that her numbers were off by as much as $4,000,000! But the incompetence doesn’t stop with Ms. Vollett, the entire board of commissioners “and” Mr. Robertson missed the errors as well! How in the hell can your numbers be off by $4,000,000 and 7 people, who are supposed to scrutinize the budget, miss it?

    “Irresponsible”? You mean like when government leadership sets up a system where a city employee is able to walk off with thousands upon thousands of taxpayer money and they can’t even tell exactly how much was stolen? Or do you mean like when a city commission passes a budget that still contains errors to the tune of more than $2.5 million, yet they don’t know where the errors came from or what they mean in to the upcoming budget? Or do you mean where the city fires Bobby Franklin for failing crayon 101 (when it wasn’t even him that was coloring), yet Ms. Vollet is given a complete pass when she submits a budget workbook with errors that range up to $4,000,000+?

    Irresponsible? This is indicative of the attitude that local government leadership has adopted toward the citizenry. It speaks to the attitude they have regarding open records. “We are not supposed to be a part of the process” “our job is to show up and vote for them and then shut up and go home”.

    I am sorry Ms. Vollett couldn’t take it, but all she really needed to do is correct the errors instead of acting like they were the fault of the prior administration.

    Now the mayor is running off at the mouth…Irresponsible, Linda, Really? Do you mean like calling the city planner under color of office to try to force him through intimidation to remove a condition on the property belonging to one’s boss? Or are you taking about “Irresponsible” like illegally acting under color of office? Or do you mean like when someone calls a meeting of a city manager, city planner, city zoning administrator, planning attorney, Public Works Director, and City Engineer and trying to force them to illegally issue building permits to a local developer because that developer is offering to donate six-figures toward a ladder truck fund that will directly benefit one’s boss? Is that the kind of irresponsible you are talking about? Or do you mean irresponsible like illegally forcing the city manager, a man who for the most part had done an exemplary job, to resign under duress because he wouldn’t force the public works director to apologize to you for embarrassing you in an illegal meeting? Do you mean like forcing a capable and proficient city manager to resign only to have him replaced by someone who is obviously not capable of handling the job? Or do you mean like the way you got yourself involved in the filing of an unfounded sexual harassment complaint against the public works director? Could you be talking about how you illegally announced that there was “yet another sexual harassment claim” against Hatton Wright? Or do you mean signing a bond offering written statement that contains inaccurate numbers when the city had just recently fired the city planner for incorrect numbers being on a grant proposal (even though the numbers weren’t really wrong, and even though he had nothing to do with the numbers being put on the grant proposal)?

    So tell me, when citizens see public officials using their office to further their own personal agenda, hurting people, and being deceptive, what are we supposed to do to be “responsible”? Shall we all stick our heads in the sand and act as though nothing happened? Would that be “responsible”?

    Do you see it yet, folks, they need us…they have lost their way. They are out of order. They think we work for them. They make mistakes, use their power illegally to hurt others and to further their personal agendas and careers, and when we dig in to figure out what is going on we are being “irresponsible”. Figures!

  2. Lori Ruotolo

    Hi Joe,

    I saw that article, it’s totally unbelievable what they will allow lawsuits for…

    And it’s also one of the reasons things cost so much. All that liability insurance coverage, court costs and lawyer fees.

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