Will Sellers and The Chronicle – What did the Commissioner say, and when did he say it?

On the cover of the July 30th Chronicle, there was a prominent quote from D2 Commissioner Will Sellers – “They’ve got reason to worry.”

At the August 11th meeting of the City Commission, Commissioner Sellers approached the editor of The Chronicle, Tomi Wiley, and demanded a front-page retraction, claiming he never said that.

Wiley had her notes from the meeting and told Sellers he had said it.

Unable to get satisfaction directly from the editor, Sellers took the matter up again, a few moments later during the televised City Commission meeting – repeating his demand for a retraction and an apology. He said he had reviewed the “instant replay” of the City Commission meeting and “I didn’t say that.”

Wiley requested a DVD of the meeting (for which the City charged her $10). When Wiley got the DVD, it included a note which said that the video recorder had turned off during the taping of that particular meeting and the recording was in two parts. The part that was missing? The report from the City Manager and the Police Chief on the fire code problems in Providence residences.

Thankfully, Tomi was able to find a citizen who had recorded the entire meeting at home. The audio portion of that recording has now been uploaded to YouTube. The link below starts with Commissioner Sellers’ rant demanding a retraction. At the end of the rant, the recording plays Sellers’ comments from the July 28th meeting, where he is clearly heard saying, “They’ve got reason to be worried.”

We have three observations.

1. Will Sellers owes Tomi Wiley a public apology. In keeping with his own standards of fair play, this should come during his Commissioner’s report at the next City Commission meeting. A letter to the Chronicle would also be a nice touch.

Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased tape recordings

Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased tape recordings

2. It is extremely suspicious that ONLY this portion of the meeting failed to be recorded. Does anybody remember, Rose Mary Woods, and the infamous 18-minute gap from the Watergate tapes? She was Richard Nixon’s secretary and accidentally “erased” a long section of a key recording.

3. Since the recording happened on July 28th, the statute of limitations on filing an ethics complaint about possible misdeeds by the Mayor, the City Manager, the D2 Commissioner, and any other city employee who might be involved runs out next week. But unless you witnessed anything first-hand, don’t bother. Your complaint will be dismissed under the City Commission’s ridiculous Ethics Code anyway.

– Publius

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62 Comments

Filed under ethics, Fire Protection, Public Records

62 responses to “Will Sellers and The Chronicle – What did the Commissioner say, and when did he say it?

  1. Pingback: Headlines from the Chronicle, August 20, 2008 « Radio Free Mt. Juliet

  2. The Truth

    Did Sellers say the other commissioners didn’t hear him say it either ? So the public should not be aware of the 100’s of homes still with failed inspection? I have a question if your house burns
    do you think the insurance company will pay if they know it was not to code. I think not, insurance companies look for reasons not to pay and why should they if it’s not to code. Have you home owners had anyone contact you from the city for fixing this problem? I hear things are slow down there.

  3. logic al

    Folks, something strange has just happened at the city concerning Commissioner Sellers and the Chronicle controversy. It is awful convenient that the recording equipment missed only the part of the meeting that dealt with the fire code controversy. It is also strange that Sellers would say publicly that he had seen the replay and didn’t notice the subject he commented on was completely missing.

    There are two possible explanations. One, the lost recording time could have occurred as reported. The equipment stopped and had to be rebooted and it caused the recording to be in two files with some of the meeting missing. Or two, the data was deleted after the fact to cover for Mr. Sellers.

    If the footage had been lost as explained by the city, wouldn’t Sellers have noticed that the most controversial part of the meeting was missing? It was the subject he commented on – the fire code controversy. Wouldn’t the IT person tell Sellers that part of the meeting was missing? He told Ms. Wiley of the Chronicle. Why would Sellers publicly say that he reviewed the replay when he would have had to know part of the recording was missing? Maybe he never really reviewed the replay before speaking.

    That brings me to the second possible explanation. Sellers may have just said he reviewed the replay at the meeting for effect. This is quite possible given that he obviously cannot remember what he says, perhaps he cannot remember what he does either. When the recording was later really reviewed by staff it became quite apparent that Sellers made the statement and was caught in a blatant lie too. The only way to cover that would be to do away with that portion of the meeting. Sellers could then apologize and say he didn’t see his comment on the replay because it wasn’t recorded in the first place.

    I believe an ethics investigation is warranted here. There is reasonable suspicion that this did not happen the way it has been reported by the city. It doesn’t make any sense as explained.

    Commissioner Sellers is guilty of using his status as an elected official to slander the product of a Mt. Juliet business. The Chronicle sells information and Sellers claimed incorrectly that their product was defective. This is just as bad as claiming incorrectly that a local restaurant is making people sick. You can damage people when you misuse public office making false statements about private individuals and their businesses.

    City staff members could be guilty of destroying public documents (the recording) in an effort to cover for Commissioner Sellers. We may never know given the City’s lack of a responsible Ethics Ordinance.

    https://radiofreemj.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/mt-juliet-a-city-commission-without-ethics/

    The 30-day statute of limitation has probably run by now.

  4. Madi

    Looks like there are a lot of city issues that get covered up; who will bring the truth out???

  5. Glen Linthicum

    No one should be surprised. This type of thing was par for the course when he was Pres. of the Willoughby HOA. But I find it hard to believe that some sort of cover up is happening. It is more likely that he (Will) did not look at the tapes and spoke off the top of his head to make his case. He was embarassed by his statement and has “bowed up” in an effort to over-power the issue. Hats off Tomi for sticking to her guns.

  6. Lex Luther

    What I don’t understand is why Sellers is even denouncing the statement he made. They were discussing homes in Providence that had been built below the fire code standard. He said that people that who live in Providence watching all these newscasts have a reason to be worried. That’s probably an accurate observation!

    The first time in a long time the guy makes any sense and he attacks the reporter who quotes him?

    Someone must have complained a lot about this to turn Sellers against himself this way.

  7. Chris Sorey

    There is a lot going on behind the scenes about the fire code issue. Of course, none of what is going on is going to fix the issue or even solve the question of who or why. They have done their best to cover this up. What more proof was needed than the audio of Keel ?

    I have the proof of intent, and told Garrett that I could prove it. He told me to call him with it, and the phone call I made was not returned. There is not one shred of an investigation into this matter by the city. To quote Will, “They have reason to worry” and even though Robertson believes this to be a dead issue, it is nowhere near that.

  8. Larry Whitney

    Glen is absolutely correct. Will was abusive as the Pres of WSHOA. The minutes were condensed, went through multiple revisions and Will was the final editor. He edited HOA minutes over a 10 year period, he needs to understand that he cannot edit official comments made at the Commission meeting.

    Someone needs to investigate how it was edited out. Not sure if a law was broken or not, if not there should be.

    Will, you are on notice, you will be held accountable if you are responsible for the “equipment malfunction.”

  9. Larry Whitney

    Need to add, Tomi will never get an apology out of Will Sellers, he wrongly believes it is a sign of weakness.

  10. Butch Huber

    Folks, I have been at it for over a year. These people will not be held accountable until there is a new commission that is willing to launch an investigation. Fortunately, Ed was willing to investigate before, so with replacements for Ray (who was ironically also willing to investigate before) and Linda (who is the last person in the world that wants a real investigation into what has been going on) we stand a chance that justice (Meaning legal Justice) will be served in the end.

    Good luck if you actually hope to hold these folks accountable until then, there is no enforcement authority willing to take on the task. This surprised me and anguished me until I realized that if they ever got started on an investigation they might never see an end to it! The train of abuses just goes on an on!

    “Morning in Mt. Juliet” is coming and I am afraid along with it will come a terrible hangover. But once the headache is gone (guess who that is), and we have our balance once again, the skies will be clear again!

    Folks, don’t be fooled, what are the chances that Will didn’t look at the recording, said that he had, and it just so happens that the part of the meeting he would have looked at happens to be missing? What are the odds that would happen? Will said that he looked at the instant replay, right? Either he looked at the video or he didn’t. If he did look at the video than it must have once been there and now it is gone, in which case there should be an investigation to determine what caused it to disappear. If he looked at the video he would have clearly seen that he in fact did say what the reporter claimed. If he looked at the video and saw that he did in fact say what he was accused of, and if he were unaware that the video was now missing, why on earth would he try to say that he observed the video and then try to refute that he said what he clearly said? He would have to know that the reporter could go back and view it and prove him wrong. I bet nobody ever thought that perhaps someone TIVO’ed the video of the meeting! Now, if Will knew that the video of that part of the meeting was missing, wouldn’t he have said, “I went back to look at the video of that part of the meeting to verify that I hadn’t said what I was accused of and found that part of the video to be missing”? I mean if it were missing when he went to look at it wouldn’t he have known that if he used the video to try to make his case that the reporter would look into it and find that there is no way that he could have looked at the instant replay because it was missing? Folks, it has taken a little time for this to settle in in my mind, but I do think that something is amiss here!

    Will someone else file the ethics complaint this time, I am tired of being ignored, someone else needs to be ignored this time! Larry, isn’t it your turn to be ignored? Chris has been ignored. I have been ignored. Kevin has been ignored. Bobby Franklin was ignored. Sonny Griffin was ignored. If it isn’t your turn, Larry, than whose turn is it to be ignored? Someone else needs to take a turn!

  11. Mrs. Lincoln

    To summarize:
    Sellers said, “They have reason to be worried.”
    Sellers said he didn’t say that!
    The Chronicle says he did!
    TIVO says he did!.

    How can this be?

    Possibility 1:
    Sellers is lying: Sellers did say,”They have reason to be worried.”

    Possibility 2:
    Sellers is lying: when he said he watched the video of the meeting (where we know he said, “They have reason to be worried”) and said the video proves he didn’t say, “They have reason to be worried.”

    There’s a lot more than his 6 word comment missing if 18 minutes is gone. Seems to me it would be difficult to miss that detail…honestly.

    Now he could have said, “Based on the video you can’t prove it said that.” But that’s not the same as, “The incomplete video proves I didn’t say it.”

    Possibility 3:
    Sellers is lying: he said he watched the video, but he never really watched the video.

    Possibility 4:
    Sellers is lying.
    Sellers said, “They have reason to be worried.”
    For some reason, Sellers regrets saying those bad words.
    Oh, look! Fate took the bad words away.

    Possibility 5:
    Sellers is lying.
    Sellers said, “They have reason to be worried. For some reason Sellers regrets saying those bad words.
    Oh, look! Space aliens took those bad words away!

    Possibility 6:
    Sellers is lying.
    Sellers said, “They have reason to be worried.:
    For some reason Sellers regrets saying those bad words.
    Oh, look! Some one at the city took the bad words away!

    All 6 possibilities have one thing in common.
    Beyond that, I guess we have to decide whether we believe in Fate, official misconduct, or space aliens?

    Mrs. Lincoln

  12. Edit Red

    Thanks for the support, everyone. It’s been overwhelming, and I appreciate it.

    And Mrs. Lincoln, you are a riot.

  13. Butch Huber

    I didn’ have a good place to put this, so I will put it here.

    I noticed something in life that is interesting to me, like Jack “Straw”, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Condoleezza “Rice”, United States Secretary of State (“Rice” and “Straw”, what were the odds that these to people, who are counterparts to one another, would have those last names? You can’t make this kind of thing up.) I can’t remember the others right off the top of my head, but I have noticed similar things over the past several years. The real world isn’t that much different from James Bond’s world.

    So, here is one that hit me this morning.

    Obama/Biden. That is the ticket for the Democrats this year…Obama-Biden. Does that make you say “hummm”?

    How about this?

    Osama Bin Laden
    Obama Biden

    Notice that if you switch the “b” in “Obama” to an “s”, and then take out the [n La] from the center of “Bin Laden” and then slide the names together they are the same? What are the left over characters? “b n La”. I don’t know what all of that means, but doesn’t it make you wonder what is going to happen n La?

    Now, keep in mind that Barry’s middle name is Hussein and Saddam’s last name was Hussein.

    Ian Fleming would have gotten a kick out of this one.

  14. Butch Huber

    The following was sent to each of the commissioners, the city attorney, the city manager, the Chronicle, the Mt. Juliet News, and others.

    To all:

    Questions must be answered regarding the recent gaff between Mr. Sellers and the Chronicle. I cannot conceive a possible scenario where it doesn’t turn out that Mr. Sellers has lied to the public regarding this matter.

    If what was reported in the paper is correct, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, Mr. Sellers approached Tomi Wiley and stated that he was giving her a chance to retract her quote that Commissioner Sellers had said “they’ve got reason to be worried”. Mr. Sellers said that he went back and looked at the instant replay of the meeting and that he had asked other commissioners and that he didn’t say what he was quoted as having said.

    The paper said that Tomi went to the city to obtain a copy of the meeting but that there was no recording of the segment of the meeting where Mr. Sellers had made his statement.

    Now, if Mr. Sellers had seen the “instant replay” he would have clearly seen that he did in fact say; “they’ve got reason to be worried”. So, to say that he watched the instant replay and that he didn’t say what he was quoted in the paper as having said is very hard to believe; he clearly said; “they’ve got reason to be worried”.

    If Mr. Sellers didn’t go back and view the instant replay it would mean that he lied to the public and that he misused his position as city commissioner.

    If Mr. Sellers went back to look at the tape and that segment was missing altogether he surely would have noticed an 18 minute segment was missing, right? I mean, how could he have missed his entire statement and not notice it?

    If he did go back and look at the replay and then, after he viewed the replay, somehow that recording was erased, it is important to determine what happened and who caused it to be erased.

    The pieces of this story don’t fit together and I believe the public has a right to the truth in this matter. I can’t conceive of a scenario under which it turns out that Mr. Sellers hasn’t misled, or outright lied, to the public and/or under which he hasn’t misused his office and abused his authority and powers as a commissioner. I can’t conceive of a scenario like that, but I am willing to listen as one is explained.

    Please don’t consider this to be a complaint on my part, yet, but rather and admonishment that you should launch an investigation on your own as a commission. If there is a legitimate explanation it should be discovered, but if there isn’t a legitimate explanation then I believe you have a duty to take appropriate action. This commission has proven in the past that you will not investigate a legitimate complaint from me, so, if I am forced to pursue the truth in this matter I will likely do so through the grand jury.

    I will even tell you why this is such a concern to me. Considering the recent publicity regarding improper inspections of homes, the fire protection issues, the history of one or more members of the board of commissioners crafting deals with developers, the issues surrounding Mayor Elam and builders, and other questionable matters within this government, I want to be sure that no steps have been taken by leadership or staff of this government to destroy a public record or to deceive the public at large. Further, I want to be sure that no developer has illegally exerted any influence on a public official.

    In addition to this matter is a matter of public records. In the beginning of July I submitted a request for public records concerning health insurance. In that request I asked that an estimate be developed for the cost to me for obtaining those records before the city began to compile the information I requested. Further, I asked that the records be delivered to me by e-mail.

    The new public records act was in force when the request was made, so the city has to follow the new law. In that new law it clearly states that I am entitled to an estimate of costs, as I requested. The new law also clearly states that I am entitled to receive those records in any form kept by the city. What that means is if the city has the record in digital, electronic format, I am entitled to receive that information by digital, electronic format. As the City Manager and his staff corresponded with me regarding this request I continued to advise them to refer to my original request. I was advised that the city attorney had stated that the city was not required to convert formats. I believe this was in response to an e-mail that I had sent to Jill Johnson advising her that I didn’t want the information in the form of Photo-static copies, as she was preparing, but rather I wanted the information in the form of an e-mail. I even advised Ms. Johnson that the city’s copiers had a pdf function that would enable her to copy the records to pdf as easily, or even easier, than making photostatic copies. I even told her that if she needed I could have someone show her how to do it.

    Eventually, was advised that the information had been compiled and that it was ready for pick up. I got a letter in the mail stating what the bill would be for that information as well. I went to city hall and observed the compiled information only to discover that each and every piece of information I looked at was an e-mail that had been printed out. The city wasn’t required to convert the information, yet that is exactly what they did. The new law states that I am to receive the information in the least costly (to me) manner practicable. Printing out information certainly wasn’t the least costly manner possible.

    In addition to all of this, I formally had requested the correspondence that was sent and received between April 1st of this year and July 1st of this year, however, the information that was compiled to fulfill my formal request included correspondence from other months as well, in fact it included correspondence from several other months. The reason this is important is because the city must provide 5 hours of time to my request at no charge to me, however, they used 6.5 hours to compile this information. Now, the city is trying to charge me $56 for this information. It would be impossible for the city to determine exactly what time was spent working on fulfilling my request for information and what time was spent working on information I didn’t request, so how can the city charge me anything at this point? In fact, I am not responsible for any of the charges because I was never given the information I requested in the manner in which I requested it and I wasn’t given the estimate of charges before they began their work. In fact, during my correspondence with Ms. Johnson, I advised her not to exceed 5 hours on my request. I advised her that I would submit an additional request or have someone else request the additional information if necessary, but that I had no intention of paying for this information.

    The city manager seems unwilling to fulfill and follow the law on public records and he also seems to want to do whatever he can to charge me for access to public records, even if it means violating or failing to follow the law in order to charge me. Now, we mysteriously have a public records debacle on our hands with this fire protection issue as well.

    According to the new public records act, my records request was officially denied because the city failed to deliver the records to me within 7 business days and failed to formally advise me within 7 days that my request was either denied or that the city would require additional time to provide it. According to the new law, I have a right to seek relief from the courts on this matter, especially since my request has still not been fulfilled. I am tempted to seek the assistance of an attorney in this matter to force the city to comply with the public records act. Please look into why it is so hard to receive public records from this government according to law and please look into the issue of missing public records (the video recording of the infamous commission meeting mentioned herein) as well.

    Again, this is not a formal complaint, I am trying to avoid having to make a major deal of these issues, however, you know me well enough to know that I will stand up for my rights. You have a duty to the public in these matters as a function of your positions as elected and appointed officials, please do your duty.

    Harold C. Huber (Butch)

  15. Chris Sorey

    $56 bucks? Is that all? They must be getting soft over there. They wanted a minimum of $624 for records when I was starting to work on the fire codes issue. They must really like you Butch to give you such a discount!

  16. The Truth

    Did Sellers say the other commissioners didn’t hear him say it either ? So the public should not be aware of the 100’s of homes still with failed inspection? I have a question if your house burns
    do you think the insurance company will pay if they know it was not to code. I think not, insurance companies look for reasons not to pay and why should they if it’s not to code. Have you home owners had anyone contact you from the city for fixing this problem? I hear things are slow down there.

  17. General Public

    A story of deception. The storm is coming.
    Public Worst

    Will E. Coyote stands ready to light the cannon he had just ordered from Acme Hollow-man.
    The cannon is aimed at Tomi Roadrunner.
    “HOW DARE SHE TELL THE TRUTH!!”…… and make my lies seem like deception. But, as he spoke, the weight of his guilt broke the cliff he stood on, and down, down, down, he falls only to land on Major Colonel Randy Pinoche. “What went wrong?” Will E. Coyote shouts. “ We should not have ordered from Acme Hollow-man,“ Colonel Pinoche shouts. We’ll get them next time!” he says, not noticing that the cameras and tapes were rolling. “I know nothing, it was before my time!” Before he could finish his words his nose had pierced City hall. In the bright twinkling of an earring Inspector Gary Gadget is on the scene, as Randy Pinoche is heard saying….“OH SHINY”
    Gary speaks, “ I can fix that problem!” “Just build a Rain Garden and pay my Cousin to build it and all your problems will go away”. As he stops to admire his reflection in the window, he sees Linda-the-Lamb, dressed in sheep’s clothing chasing Mad Hatton through broken doors and trampled Moss. They run right past Martin Kill and his puppet Aimless Rookie who are guarding the place, firing warning shots, trying to keep people out, or was it in? Not the first time they were confused. Just then, I heard a voice crying out of the wilderness, “YOU’VE BEEN TRICKED !!! They say your house was built of brick, but it’s really of ½ inch hay and stubble”. “That’s a lie!!” Cries out Major Colonel Randy Picocche as he stops trimming the trees with the golden scissors given by Ace Hollow-man. “That’s a lie!!” He says again as his nose shoots past infinity and beyond. It was getting darker and darker in Mt. Julie (named after the queen of public works) as I flipped on the light everyone scattered like roaches, or should I say spiders, except…… a little round man sitting in the middle of the floor. It was Gary Brando surrounded by stacks and stacks of failed inspections, saying, “I love me, I love me not” “I love me, I love me not” as one by one, hands shaking, he pushes them through the shredder.

    I turned and called out,
    Can anyone see this??? Can anyone???

    As many blindfolded builders drove by leaving buckets of money on the city steps.

  18. Butch Huber

    Chris, I believe they were trying to charge me over $200, I was surprised when they sent me a letter stating that the charge would be $56. Maybe they actually did some research on the law and figured out that I was right.

    But then what in the hell could you have asked for that they wanted $624? I take it you didn’t pay that amount? I hope not at least. $624! That must have been some request! You qualify to be called an “irresponsible citizen”! Keep that kind of thing up and you will soon earn your stripes to be a card carrying member of the Mt. Juliet cabal. The fall cabal is coming up soon, perhaps you will get an invitation. November 7th, mark that date on your calendar.

  19. Chris Sorey

    That request was made just before the Henry Horton Park meeting. Paula Flowers pulled me aside during a break and asked if I had gotten the numbers on the request, and whether or not I wanted to proceed. I told her not to do anything, and that on Monday, I would sue their ass off in chancery court because she knows that they can’t charge for time to look up records that are readily available. Needless to say, she hit the roof, and ran to Randy. Randy brought Holleman in on the discussion and then asked me to join them. I said no thanks, and then when he threw a fit and said I would be missing out, I thought he might have been convinced by Holleman that they had no choice but to give them to me. Instead, it was BS and they offered nothing. Later that evening, I got an email with some of the training records I had requested. There was no charge…

  20. Butch Huber

    Is this Mt. Julietgate?

  21. Bobby Franklin

    I worked there almost seven years and cannot remember anyone ever complaining about being denied access to public records.

  22. Chris Sorey

    For what it is worth, I don’t doubt that if Will did look at the video he never noticed the missing time. Should he have noticed the entire section dealing with the fire codes was not there? You would think he would have but…

  23. Madi

    About my house… No one has contacted me to check my house. I have vinyl as my exterior coverage. Maybe, they are backed up and will check it soon. I heard Mr. Keel state on the news; that they would use a paint that would give a one hour fire retardent. I don’t know alot about this, but I was told by my neighbor that this paint they are to use only has a 10 minute fire retardent. Does anyone have any information about this??

  24. Builder

    Yes Madi the paint has only 10 min but that is for smoke not fire. It seems Mr Keel was not telling
    the truth. It was a way to get Beazer Homes passed.
    Did you notice on Monday night how Beazer gave
    land to Mt Juliet for a park ? That’s funny because Beazer was auctioning off some houses in
    willoughby not long ago. And weren’t they close to bankruptcy a few months ago but yet they can give away land.
    So Will , Randy and Marlin are all just lying!!!
    What do they pray about in church “God don’t hurt me”.

  25. Builder

    We are getting numerous calls from home owners and what we can tell them is to call public works
    because they were failed inspections that were then passed. We will fix the problem but the city was also negligent in there duty and need to stand accountable. I think the only fix is to get rid of the people who have put the public at risk. This will help regain the public trust. We will take care of our end now take care of yours. And also tell your head inspector ( he knows who he is) to stop trashing the other city employees to my employees
    we know the truth of how they were treated. And some are good friends and honest people.

  26. Looking Toward The Future

    Speaking of Commissioners messing up, someone told me that Ray Justice was involved in some quick talking a while back involving him and some person who was “allegedly” under the influence. Any truth to this? I couldn’t find it in the news archives.

  27. Brent Dyer

    I was at the meeting the night Commissioner Sellars made the comment that is in question. I was setting behind the editor who Sellars is accusing of lying. I heard exactly what the newspaper is reporting. The reason I remember this specifically is because I made a comment to myself and others around that there was absolutely reason to worry. There is reason to worry more though about the fact that there are inadequate emergency services available in and around the Mt. Juliet area. Perhaps if Commissioner Sellars and the other people in city administration would work as hard to fix this problem as they worked to cover up some stupid comment then maybe, just maybe they could get some real results for a much bigger problem that potentially threatens the lifes of every citizen in/around Mt. Juliet. Will Sellars has been associated with WEMA through the department’s volunteer division and CERT program for years. Many of the professional emergency responders who live in this community are disappointed with the fact that someone who is supposed to be “one of ours” has not done more to bring about solution to this critical issue.

  28. Butch Huber

    Looking toward the future:

    Ray lied to Former Chief Of Police Kenny Martin about a fictitious incident during which he pulled over an imaginary woman leaving a local pub who appeared to be under the influence. Ray told Kenny that he pulled the woman over and was about to hook her up when she told him that she was the fiance of a metro police officer. Ray told Kenny that he called the officer (who doesn’t exist by the way) and waited for him to arrive and take the woman home. Ray was relating this story because a former politician’s daughter had just been arrested for driving under the influence and Ray thought that the city police department should have extended “professional courtesy” to the woman because she was the daughter of a former politician. Although Ray voted to censure himself, and somewhat apologized for his actions, he actually still believes that he was right.

    Not only was Ray guilty of official misconduct in that call, he is also lied as well. If you live in district one you might consider another candidate.

  29. Looking Toward The Future

    So as a Commissioner AND a Deputy he falsified a story to try and prove a point? Did he get in trouble for this or was it just a censure “slap on the wrist”? How often does he pull tricks like this? Was this before or after his last election?

  30. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Its called money Brent. If you ask the commission why they don’t get involved further is because there is a fire contract in place between the City and the County that states what is required to keep it in place and MJ is doing or trying to do that.

    One thing you don’t read abuot is how Wilson County is not holding up their side of the contract. If you read it, there is supposed to be 2 fire engines located at Station 3, hmm last time I checked there was only 1. Now they can try and say Lakeview, but Lakeview is not IN the city limits, its in the county.

  31. Looking Toward The Future

    Hey Butch. I heard another story about Ray and how he “strongly discussed” a bad call made by an umpire at the ballfields. I was told that it went so far as he suggested meeting the ump in the parking lot. Know anything about this one? Why are these stories kept under wraps and not addressed immediately? Does Ray get special treatment?

  32. Butch Huber

    No I didn’t know about this one. I am not sure how much of that is true and how much isn’t true. I wouldn’t say that Ray is beyond getting physical, but then again, isn’t ump beating a new sport?

    Ray does get special treatment…its called “professional courtesy”.

  33. Brent Dyer

    1 voice,

    It’s called money indeed my friend, money that cannot be produced to fund vital resources by relying on sales tax alone in a time of national economic distress. It’s called money that could be used by a complacent city government to supplement existing services who seem to have a hard time keeping with money and an even worse problem staying honest. It’s called money that dedicated and underpayed paramedics, EMT’s, and firefighters in this community are skipped over with as county commissioners let one man have a raise of $32,500/year on top of his $80,000/yr salary as a finance director, while we are guarding the lives of the taxpayers, barely putting food on our tables. It’s called money that buys parks but doesn’t get used to safeguard the people who pay the money. I feel you on the money thing my friend.

    I have read the contract made by Mt. Juliet and Wilson County. I saw it when it was being developed. I disagreed with it then, and still do. If the county was willing to let Mt. Juliet continue to disregard the need for their own fire department, then the county should have requested more than 10 volunteers. The city also provides the building that we call WEMA station 3, over on Hill Street. However, if anyone has the time to stop by there, check out the mold under the capet in the sleeping quarters, and if you stop by on a day that it is raining, take good shoes. The last big rain we had, there was standing water where our people have to live every third day. The whole buidling has more spiders in it than Elam has reasons to worry about re-election.

    After the contract was made, the county continued to hoard resources from the west end of the county, especially at our station in Mt. Juliet. I am sure this stems from upper leadership on the county level. This being one of the reasons I want to focus future political efforts towards the county commission 2010 elections.

    That being said, perhaps one of the reasons the county hasn’t fullfilled their end of the contract entirely could be the fact that Mt. Juliet has taken so long to provide what they had agreed on, hmm, as a matter of fact they still haven’t. Mt. Juliet was supposed to provide 10 firefighters (fully equipped). Also, the contractual agreement or as I call it, the “full of crapual agreement” was for the county to keep a second unstaffed fire engine at the station. That happened for many years, even before the contract was born. WEMA had so many old dilapidated fire engines that kept breaking down and eventually the second engine in Mt. Juliet made it’s way to the new WEMA station on Carthage Highway, which we all said would happen. The reason that a second fire engine was not kept at station 3 is because we didn’t have the trucks to put there. Hopefully with the new equipment we are awaiting to arrive by November will help this.

    I am not sure who has told you that Lakeview was part of Mt. Juliet. It must have been someone outside of WEMA because we are all very passionate about this issue and seeing as how we are the dedicated professionals who have been protecting our community and continue to do so, we are very familiar with the geographical boundaries of the areas we serve.

    I am looking to work with other professionals and concerned citizens in this community to help fix this. This contract was nothing more than a distraction for a definitive solution. I do not want to make anyone upset with me as I take pride in my personal and professional reputation, but I have to ask you a question. Are you on the same page as I am here, since you aren’t using a real name that I may recognize as another public safety professional. The screen name “1 voice of the brotherhood” makes me wonder here if we are talking about the same “brotherhood” I refer to. No offense, just want to clarify.

  34. Shawn Donovan

    Good points Brent.

    You may want to tell the whole story about the volunteers issue in MJ because there is more to it then you mention, since you and I both know the truth on that issue.

  35. The Truth

    There are still about 800 homes that need to be checked in new construction. I remember at first the city manager Randy Robertson saying there were only 3 homes effected , How can we trust his judgement.
    In today’s Chronicle
    “We’ve had a lot of complaints,” DA Tommy Thompson said Tuesday regarding the thickness of drywall in garages in new construction. “We have not had time to do anything about it yet, but someone at the City should take responsibility for it.”

    “If I had a house down there I’d be concerned,”
    Thompson said, “wouldn’t you?”

  36. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Yes Brent we are part of the same brotherhood. It is common now-adays for some to say there part of it, but not demonstrate it though.

    As a brother of the brotherhood I follow 5 abbreviations that all brothers should know and follow. They are:

    FTM
    EGH
    RFB
    KTF
    DTRT

    For those of you “brothers” out there that don’t know what these 5 stand for. Take the time to look it up and find out. Each one is how a “true brother” should hold themselves.

  37. Chris Sorey

    I read the acronyms in the post above from one of the “brothers” and as a fire fighter with nine cumulative years of experience from military and civilian life, I can honestly say I have no idea what 1 voice is talking about. I asked a person with over 20 years of experience if he knew what they were. Again, no idea. The acronyms were then passed via email to a few friends in the job, at all levels of the job, and various areas of the state.

    Not one person who works in the field and has gotten the email has any idea what you are talking about. So, Voice, please don’t take this the wrong way, but what are you talking about?

    FTM – Farm to Market such as the secondary roads in Texas?

    RFB – Run Faster Bro, which is what a poorly trained bomb tech might say???

  38. Looking Toward The Future

    http://www.nefools.org/

    FTM-For The Men
    EGH-Everybody Goes Home
    RFB-Remember Fallen Brothers
    KTF-Keep The Faith
    DTRT-Do The Right Thing

  39. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Very good “Looking Toward The Future”

    Chris, these are the “rules” of the international brotherhood fraternity, made up of thousands of firefighters throughout the US.

    As you can read, they all relate to how we should think as firefighters.

  40. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    One additional you gave the nice version of FTM.

  41. Chris Sorey

    That may be the way they are listed on the website for the public, but they way I understand it is that some have a double meaning.

    I believe one in particular that was left off was WSWMF.

  42. Brent Dyer

    1 voice,

    Sorry it took a few days to get back to you here, I have enjoyed a weekend off with no sirens, no pagers, no phone, ahhh. You know how it feels right? I was intigued by your knowledge of the previously mentioned abbreviations… I do want to specify what the first one actually means for anyone who wants to know.

    FTM- “four letter word beginning with F” the mutts, PTB- Protect the Brothers… as the “mutts” are referring to anyone or any situation perhaps that challenges a firefighter. The “anyone” in question, mainly being those who are in political power or administrative power who make decisions that may harm a firefighter or the people he or she has chosen to dedicate their lives to protecting.

    In our situation locally, we could refer to the “mutts” as those who are in power to DTRT, but have chosen not to, especially any of them who pose as true firefighters, volunteer or professional. 1 voice, thanks for bringing this up, being able to use the term “mutts” to describe some of the incumbents is invigorating and we can KTF that they will soon be replaced.

    PS- how about letting us in on your name and maybe a little about yourself? Thanks

  43. Brent Dyer

    Shawn,

    You are right, I will briefly tell more about the volunteer issue. MJ had a volunteer fire dept. many years ago, which evolved into a part of WEMA. Way back then, and even to this very day, county government has hoarded emergency resources from the west end of the county. With both MJ and the county looking to fullfill obligations of a contract for fire protection that was agreed upon years ago, we are just now seeing both sides playing by the rules of this contract. I commend MJ on getting around to doing their part which is recruiting, equipping, and training 10 volunteers. The most recent stage of this process was when Shawn Donovan, myself, a colleague of mine Lt. Eric Eldridge, and from what I understood some other people with fire experience who were there the day my colleague and I had to work, had met with each applicant for the MJ volunteer fire company for the selection process of at least 10 from about 30 applicants. The last I heard, MJ had again relinquished the program over to WEMA to be under the county’s rule and I suspect that this will be the biggest downfall of the program as of yet.

    That being said, MJ has taken steps to meet the agreement in the contract. In return, the county had agreed to continue providing a fire station in the city limits with two fire engines. There has not been a second fire engine at station 3 in MJ for several months now. Initially this was due to the fact that we did not have one to send because of mechanical issues with outdated equipment. But now, or at least for now, there is a functioning reserve fire engine at WEMA’s headquarters in Lebanon, but to my knowledge there has been no mention to get it assigned to station 3 in MJ anytime soon.

    (Not to get off of subject, but…)

    Even if the county says WEMA doesn’t have a fire engine to send to station 3 to fullfill the contract now, we are expecting the arrival of 1 new heavy rescue truck (will go to Lebanon), 4 new quad-cab fire engines, and 2 new brush trucks. Last I heard, the MJ station would most likely not get anything except a new brush truck out of all that equipment, not a definite thing, just what was being said around HQ at WEMA. MJ also continues to have the oldest and most dilapidated ambulance we have, while the station in Lebanon has two staffed ambulances that are brand new, with three brand new reserve ambulances setting in the parking lot. This really became an issue with me personally as I was treating a patient from a vehicle accident recenty who had suffered a back injury. The ride to the hosital became so rough in the worn out truck the county (WEMA) keeps in MJ, the patient I was treating layed there in pain, and finally asked me to have my partner stop so they could catch their breath. There is no excuse for this when the county’s taxpayers have three brand new trucks parked as reserves in Lebanon and 2 brand new trucks staffed at our headquarters to run our of Lebanon, but people who need us in MJ get the worn out equipment when better is available.

  44. Butch Huber

    Brent,

    If it is true that the county has acquired all of this new equipment and has equipment in reserve in West Wilson County while we have a lack of equipment and only have run-down equipment I believe it is time to take serious action.

    I am for resolving the east/west conflict, I am for working with the county rather than against the county, I am for finding real solutions that make sense both from a safety standpoint and from a financial standpoint, however, I do believe that it requires a carrot and a stick approach.

    You said in another post that I should run for Mayor. I appreciate your statement, however, I have no intention of running for Mayor of Mt. Juliet. I may one day run for a political office, but for now I am content doing what I do. I feel that I am making a difference by being who I am. In fact, I think that I am making more of a difference by being who I am than if I were to actually win a seat on the commission. Others may disagree, but they don’t know what I know and they don’t see what I see.

    Brent, the best thing that can happen is what is in the process right now. You guys who are on the inside, the guys who are doing the job, need to work together and come up with a comprehensive plan that you believe would actually provide the best coverage for all of Wilson County. I believe that you need to be able to make the appeal to every family in the county, not just the families of Mt. Juliet. Brent, I have this believe, naive as it may be, that the issue of fire protection and emergency services strikes at the heart of every parent regardless of geographical boundaries. We like to know that there is adequate protection in the event of an emergency. Once you have a plan that you passionately believe in, put in on paper, meaning have flyers made up, and take it to the people. Take your case to the public. Post your plan on Radiofreemj and make sure that you get people to tune in and read your plan. Let people know that they are not adequately protected.

    This isn’t a Mt. Juliet problem, it is a Wilson County problem, perhaps even an East Nashville problem. Can I give up a couple hundred dollars per year to make sure that we have proper coverage in Mt. Juliet, you bet, but that really doesn’t solve the greater issue. The greater issue is the east/west political saga that continues to rage and divide us along geopolitical boundaries.

    It is only a matter of time before West Wilson wrests the power away from East Wilson politically. We are now the largest city in the county and we are growing at a much faster pace than the rest of the county. That trend is not likely to end. The County Commissioners that are and have been winning the political battles in this county are going to have to face the cold hard facts that Mt. Juliet is soon going to be the power broker in this county and it would be in there best interests to change their ways now, before we come into real power in this county.

    Brent, negotiations require that you set the perception in the minds of those you are negotiating with that you have the ability to help them with their needs and that failure to work out an amicable agreement with you will result in a loss for them. Fear of loss is probably the most powerful motivator you can use in a negotiation. The geopolitical battle that is raging in this county is one that West Wilson County will in fact win if both sides don’t come to an agreement soon.

    The problem with things in the past is that we haven’t been unified in Mt. Juliet and we haven’t been able to sit down at the table with the county and the other cities from a position of strength. I think the last census gave us exactly what we needed in order to have the power we need to effect a change. The current administration is so weak that it doesn’t know how to use the power that the last census gave us. “We” are the power brokers now, we just haven’t learned to use it.

    If the entire county population were to realize that Mt. Juliet means business, and that we are not interested in the East/West politics, but if force to play that game, we intend to win, I believe we would get a lot of support if we craft things in such a way that the people living in the county were to realize that we are trying to help them, not hurt them.

    If we address fire protection and emergency services from a macro level, and make the case to the citizens of the entire county, and we do it in such a way that they know that in four years or less Mt. Juliet will completely control the politics of Wilson County, I think it would give us some traction.

    If we are going to do property taxes let’s go all the way. Let’s go from the lowest taxed to the highest taxed and let’s focus on growth. Let’s give them a run for their money that they simply can’t win. Remember the end of the cold war? Reagan developed the 600 ship Navy program and the Star Wars program. We beat the Russians into submission because they simply couldn’t keep pace. If we let the county residents, and Lebanon’s City Residents, and even Watertown’s residents know that we are not going to continue to be whipping boys of Wilson County and that we mean serious business, they will either have to recognize us and treat us with respect or enter the battle. They simply cannot win that battle, we are too much closer to Nashville than they are, we have the twenty year growth plan that takes us all the way to 109, and we are truly the Jewel of Middle Tennessee. We could, in reality, overtake the county and the other cities easily and then we can turn things around and make thing equitable once we have them in a submission hold. The goal should be equity and fairness, but if we have to hold them down and give them some medicine in order to achieve that goal than so-be-it.

    We have all the strength and power we need in order to end this battle, one way or another. What we have to determine is “do we have the will”. Remember, Reagan didn’t have to put Star Wars into effect, he just had to convince the Russians that he would. If Wilson County won’t get off our backs because we don’t have a property tax we need to use that to our advantage. The dialog needs to sound like this;

    “Mt. Juliet doesn’t want to engage in a battle with the east. We are all citizens of Wilson County and we would much rather get along and work together. There is so much that could be accomplished if we would lay down our arms and shake hands. That is what we desire. That is what we think is in the best interests of everyone. However, if we can’t get past this property tax issue, whereby you won’t stop the political games because we don’t have a property tax, we promise you we will put a property tax in place like nothing you have ever seen. We will funnel everything we bring in from those taxes into two main categories…the first is an offensive legal fund through which we will wear you out in the courts….the second is a fund for growth in Mt. Juliet through which we will wear you out economically. We will do everything in our power to grow Mt. Juliet in size and numbers over the next 4 years so that when the time comes for redistricting for the next election we come end up with all the power. (Or something to that effect).” They need to understand that we don’t want a fight, but if we have to fight we will fight to win.

    The City of Mt. Juliet currently doesn’t want citizen involvement. The reason is because they have done so many bad things they don’t want us to hold them accountable. However, a new dawn is breaking over Mt. Juliet. We have a chance to put two new commissioners on the board in November. We can create a better harmony in Mt. Juliet. The city needs to reconcile with the citizenry and bring people together and inform them of the issues. We need a citizen action committee through which we foster cohesion within the county citizenry, not just Mt. Juliet.

    If we make the case to the entire county that they have been left unprotected and that it is Mt. Juliet that is fighting to get them the protection they deserve and not Wilson County, and if we make our case properly, we will erode the County powerbase from within their own ranks.

    What you end up is a growing army to the West and dissension among the ranks of their own power base. There is no way they win that battle. If we let them know what we are going to do if they don’t work with us before we even do it they will have to respond. They simply cannot win, and they will know it. Once reality sets in they will have no choice but to work with us or risk tremendous turmoil in their own ranks.

    However, I get the impression that the county isn’t made up of bad people. I think, to a large degree, they are good and honest people who have a wrong paradigm. We may simply have to change their paradigm. Some times that takes a shock factor, sometimes it just needs a little explanation.

    You fire fighters and emergency responders have way more power than you may know. There is nothing that would get more attention in Wilson County than if you guys raised a little hell. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs says that security needs are our second most basic needs. Regardless of how I feel about the rest of his theory, I do agree that security is at the bottom of people’s minds when they have it and at the top of their minds when they don’t. Make the appeal to the public that they are not adequately protected. Prove your case in the court of public opinion. Appeal to the voters in Wilson County and do it now. Meet with the candidates running for office and get them to state their positions for the record and get them to state their plan to fix this situation. Make it a campaign issue.

    Ask Ray Justice why he is more in favor of giving the YMCA a 1.3 million dollar gift than he is making sure we are safe and well protected.

    Bring the reporters in and show them the state of our equipment and then take them to Lebanon and show them the state of their equipment. Do the research on the amount of money that we provide the county in comparison to the average citizen living outside Mt. Juliet. Drive home the fact that we are subsidizing the rest of Wilson County while they are getting the best equipment and we are getting the left overs.

    But get people to come to this site. This is the best source of information in Wilson County.

    Our war is not with the people of Lebanon, Watertown, or Unincorporated Wilson County, our war is with a mindset that is deep rooted in Wilson County Politics. We need to change that mindset just like Reagan changed the mindset of the communist world we fought for thirty years. I am a Cold War Veteran and I can’t tell you how proud I was to serve under his leadership. He saved the world, at least for a little while, and showed everyone that change can happen. If he could change the minds of Communist Russia we can change the minds of a county commission.

    But in all of this, we have to be willing to accept that perhaps we are wrong on some issues as well. I for one am eager to hear their side of the issues. I want to try to understand the mentality that has been so persistent and staunch that has allowed a government to allow its citizenry to go unprotected or under-protected so they can win a war of ideals.

  45. Lex Luther

    The number one issue in Mt. Juliet is roads. Period. Five more fire stations in West Wilson County will not help get a fire truck to the High School area. You can’t get there in the morning or afternoon. Emergency services need to be improved too, I agree. But we need roads bad.

    The Mt. Juliet City Commission has turned its back on road building. It chose staff turnover, animal control, and a YMCA land gift instead. It spent more time repealing the ethics law than it spent building roads. How many man-hours has this Commission spent trying to buy parkland at the end of York Road?

    The county did not build the High School in the middle of the night. The whole process took nearly three years! The roads could have been upgraded during any one of those three years. Why weren’t they?

    It isn’t just that road project this Commission has dropped the ball on. The Central Pike interchange has not moved forward. Dump trucks are still knocking the mirrors off each other on Old Lebanon Dirt Road. Mt. Juliet Road is still 2-lane from Division to Lebanon Road. Why?

    Every road project you see started before Elam was Mayor. Can you name any that have started since?

  46. Butch Huber

    Lex,

    I think there are a lot of cross-over issues that we are dealing with here. The county isn’t upgrading their portion of Curd Road because of a few different reasons. One: The Commissioners I have spoken to about the issue, and I have spoken to a lot of them, are concerned that the city will annex the road after they spend the money to upgrade it. Two: Ray Justice stuck his nose in and set this deal up with the YMCA donation and the purchase of the land at the old MJES site and the city and county have been in a process with that deal. Three: The County may be waiting out Mt. Juliet with the belief that Mt. Juliet will eventually build out the road. After all, we did bring in $10 million from a bond offering to build the road out. We also have some money that came in recently from the fed or the state for that road as well. (I think that Bobby Franklin and/or Rob Shearer put that money in play before they were so viciously forced out of office.)

    Roads certainly are at the top of the list of things needed, but I am not sure that security ranks below roads, perhaps they are co-equal in importance. However, I believe the way to win the day is with a carrot (olive branch) and a stick (Aggressive growth in Mt. Juliet and a three prong strategic plan to take political control of this county).

    The Eastern Bypass with an upgraded Division Road from Mt. Juliet Road to the Bypass will ignite growth in the Class “A” arena in this city. Along with that growth will come roof tops and soda shops. Lebanon and Wilson County don’t realize the potential power and strength of an overly provoked and disrespected Mt. Juliet. I think you are right about roads, but how we get there is yet to be seen.

  47. Shawn Donovan

    Brent,

    Thanks for the background on the program since we have both been in the process. Actually all the interviewers were WEMA with the exception of one of my brothers from my former department.

    Actually, at this point Mt. Juliet is still in control of the process and hasn’t relinquished the program to WEMA Administration. The City is completing its obligation to the contract prior to the program launch under the WEMA umbrella.

    This program isn’t popular with some folks as we know, but is still moving forward. I will not expand on that statement since it isn’t the forum for that issue.

  48. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Your welcome Brent. Anything I can do to promote the true brothers I do and being that I live by those abbreviations in the brotherhood its good to “educate” the one’s who haven’t heard that before.

    Good description about the mutts as well. As you noted that can be admin and firefighter alike.

    My name and a little bit about me. Well obviously I have a firefighter background and keep up with the issues around Wilson County, by reading the local papers, asking questions, and reading Radio Free MJ.

    My name is FTM-DTRT. Now why would I want to give you my name.

  49. Brent Dyer

    Shawn,

    please let me know what can be done at this stage of the development of the vol. program to keep it locally operated. If we hope to see any of it stem into a better deal in the future for the people of west Wilson County, then we must not let it be taken over by the mutt who will be in charge of it if it does go to the county. I hope Randy Robertson and others who are representing the city in this realize what will happen to all of the work that has been put into the program so far in MJ. I have personally heard administrative personnel at wema desribe how eager they are (he is) to destroy this idea. I don’t understand why, but you know how at least one of these individuals lays like a snake in tall grass. I hope I didn’t give a misrepresenation of the situation with the vol. fire situation, I was going off of what I was hearing from our administration and the last I heard as far as plans go from the MJ end.

  50. General Public

    The Prisoner

    There comes a knocking on the city door. A wooden slot slides open, two eyes peer out, twitching nervously. “Who is it?” comes the reply. “We are the inspectors of the Great Inspector Gadget”.
    “Where is Gadget?” Pinoche asks. “Oh, he’s in the truck.”
    “Well get him in here,” Randy bellows.
    Gadget comes running in out of breath. “Sir!” he says, “we have spoken to all the surrounding leaders and no one believes our stories. What do we do now?”
    “I have to think,” Randy says, and starts to pace back and forth through city hall. Gadget and all his inspectors start to pace right behind the Major. Bursting through the door is Linda Lamb and her pet Willie.
    “What is this? A parade?” She barks.
    “No,” replies Gadgets inspectors, “we are thinking.”
    “Where is the prisoner?” She screeches.
    Randy Pinoche steps forward, his eyes still twitching. “They have been moved back from the stables. We don’t know what to do with the prisoner. Wherever we place them, they keep exposing more and more and more and more…” Linda slaps the Major. “Snap out of it! I can see its time to get rid of the prisoner. But, if we do,” she ponders, “the people will think we did it because they told the truth.” “Just like all the others we got rid of for the very same reason.”
    “We are in a house of deception,” Randy boasts proudly. “And we have to keep it that way.” Then we hear a familiar voice echoing down the halls. It is Acme Hollowman. “Have you been on vacation?” everyone speaks. “No I have been trying to deal with these suits that have been laid on our table.”
    “I’ll take one,” Inspector Gadget speaks right up. “I am so tired of wearing these drab colors. That would be really far out.“ “Not those kinds of suits,” Hollowman shouts. “Pay attention!. Now, we have been getting some help from the dark side, but light appears to be coming in from other places.” “We need to get rid of all these leaks, these leaks, these leaks,” Hollowman slaps himself. “Sorry, I have been to long with Marty, Aimless Rookie and Gary Brando helping them with the endless cover up and shredding.” “But I am afraid that most of the truth has already gone outside the camp.“
    And in one fearful voice, they say, should we just give in, give up and tell the truth?”
    Just then Jelly Johnson comes running in, white as a ghost. “We just got two more suits.”
    The other inspectors speak up. “I’ll take one.”

    Will they ever learn?
    How many suits will they have to wear?
    And……..
    What really happened with Pinoche’s last job?
    To be continued……………….

  51. Butch Huber

    Okay, who has filed lawsuits against the city now? What have they filed their suits over? How much are they suing for? Who is named in the suit?

    The city voted to indemnify past and present employees, including elected officials, against lawsuit for wrongdoing on the part of the employee.
    This will just be like putting out a welcome mat saying, “please sue us”! The vast majority of people in America are judgment proof simply because they don’t have enough money to go after. There are a lot of things that judgments can’t award, and there is little equity in most homes due to refinancing and home equity loans, so even if you win a case against someone you are left with little to collect on. Sure, you can get a judgment against them, and then garnishee their wages, but there are plenty of ways to get around having your income taken from you. However, if you have a city that is prepared to pay the freight if someone gets sued then its like flinging the doors wide open and saying, “Please sue us”. The city has unlimited ad valorem tax (which means they can tax us against the value of our property without limitation), so suing the city can be a very profitable deal for someone.

    I mean, let’s say that someone were to go to city hall, request public information, only to be told they can’t have it for some reason (Like because they won’t pay a bill they don’t owe, for instance). Their rights will have been violated. Now, state law doesn’t give the open records law much teeth in this matter from a criminal perspective, but from a civil perspective the federal government can be an ally. You see, there is a federal statute that says that if a government employee denies someone a right or a privilege they otherwise would have, then the government employee can be personally sued. A lawyer might look at that case and say, “Mr. Robertson doesn’t have enough for me to go after to take this case on a contingency”, but when that same lawyer sees that the City of Mt. Juliet is going to pay the bill, well, that will be a horse of a different color.

    They thought the lawsuits were getting bad before, wait until the litigious crowd hears about this! You know those little ticket things they used to have at meat departments? You know, the one that gave you your position in line? Well, I think the city will soon need one of those at city hall for the lawyers.

    Brilliant idea on the part of the City commission, just brilliant.

    Let’s look at the flip side of that coin. If I were an employee for the government, and I was interacting with the public, and I knew that if I mistreated a member of the public, or if I mistreated an employee, I could be personally sued, and if I lost I could be personally liable for the damages, I think I would be on my best behavior. I would err on the side of caution in every interaction. I would cross my “t”s and dot my “i”s. I would document everything. However, if I have nothing to fear, I might become lax in the way I conduct myself. Why not? If the government is going to pay the bills if I am sued I have nothing to worry about, right? As long as I don’t do anything that would void the indemnification I am okay, Right? Wrong! Don’t think the city will stand back and allow themselves to get into a lawsuit where they will have to pay the bill. No, they will throw the employee under the bus in order to void the indemnification. This whole indemnification issue is going to be very, very tricky.

    I believe these people must stay up all night looking for ways to mess things up, because there just isn’t enough time just during the day for them to mess things up so badly. I guess this is one of the things they talked about in their little retreat earlier this month. City employees should have insurance to protect them against a lawsuit, and that should be enough.

    Someone is going to get a brand new car and a brand new house compliments of the citizens of Mt. Juliet over this one, you wait and see.

    Oh, yeah, don’t miss the part about the elected officials being protected against lawsuits. Is that really a good idea for the city? The BOC has been stepping all over the toes of a lot of people for a very long time, is protecting them against lawsuits the best thing we could be doing?

  52. MJ Resident

    Question to you readers at RFMJ.

    How would a resident go about processing a freedom of information act to Wilson County for budgets and employee wages. With this big budget crunch I would like to see how much “pork” is being funded with our tax dollars since we pay a big chunk to Wilson County yet don’t have access anywhere to the budget or in reality getting little services for our funds, i.e. the spending at places like the Sheriffs department and our county fire department that MJ sends more and more funds to but we don’t get any more protection do we?

  53. Butch Huber

    I can only tell you about my experience with the county regarding open records requests. My experience does not guarantee that you will have as easy of an experience as I have had if you start digging into the finances of the County. If you google “Wilson County Tennessee” you will find the website for the County. Once there you will be able to see the phone number to the finance department. Call them and ask what you need to do, what you need to file, and an estimate of costs for them providing what you are asking for, then follow what they say. The county is much more friendly than the city when it comes to providing official information. I think they will give you what you are looking for without much of a problem if you are nice to them going in.

    My only problem with the city of Mt. Juliet and the receipt of public information is Randy Robertson. Before he came to Mt. Juliet, if you were to ask for public information, you would be given what you wanted and perhaps a lot more. The former city manager believed in your rights.

  54. bettie boop

    This city manager managed to get his 10,000+ raise by threating to take another job in DC. We still don’t know if that was a real job. That money could have served the city in many other worthy ways. Is he really in this for this city or his own pocketbook. The last city manager, though not perfect, did have a great vision for the city. And city hall was an open book. I really think Randy needs to move on. We have all been treated second rate by this inexperienced Randy Robertson. Only 8 months as a city manager before he came here where he was let go. Do we know why he was let go? Or is that another secret locked up at city hall?

  55. Butch Huber

    Bettie,

    There is more to than what you have posted here. Randy came to the city with very little experience as a city manager, although he does have some type of degree or degrees regarding city management. To be fair, he has had a lot of military experience, although that does not naturally transfer to city management experience as civil management is vastly different than military management. Before Randy Robertson accepted the position as city manager the city commission lifted the salary cap for him by several thousand dollars. If I remember correctly, Randy Robertson went from $103,000 per year to $125,000 per year, which is considerable more than a $10,000 increase. If my numbers are correct, his salary went up $22,000 in one year.

    Now, you should also know that I was on the payroll committee that was tasked with resolving payroll issues for this city. We studied the relevant facts, did the analysis, did the math, and we determined that the city was about 11% to 14% (depending on how you computed the numbers) behind on salary and needed to make up the disparity, we determined that the city should cover the employee’s portion of the health insurance, the city should cover the employees contribution to retirement, and the city should cover life insurance. By making these changes to the compensation package the city would only be on par with the average of the other cities included in the study. Additionally, we ranged salaries in our package so that there was room for people who deserved a raise to be able to earn more money for performing better.

    The employees were anxious to get something before the board of commissioners so they could get it in the budget for the upcoming year. So, we went for what the employees wanted most, we got every part of it if I remember right, but we were supposed to go back into committee to complete the work. We never made it back to committee, which is what I was afraid of from the start. I knew that if we didn’t do it right the employees would get shafted, and I was right. Go look at their pay plan now and do the comparison to comparable markets and then tell me they aren’t worse off now then they were before we went into committee. The comparable markets have since given their employees raises (at least some of the cities have), and our employees have seen an erosion of even the little gain we were able to make back then.

    Who do we have to thank for that? I believe the culprit is none other than Randy Robertson, although I haven’t been able to put my finger on all of the facts as of yet.

    When they city commission got together to decide on whether they were going to offer Randy more money to stay I was there. I reminded the city commission that regardless of what they thought about Randy, there were 90 some other employees that were being grossly underpaid, and that it was not right for Randy to take such a raise while he had people working for him that were so grossly underpaid. Randy pushed for his raise anyway, which cost him the rest of the respect I had left for him. No leader does that; only a self-serving, self-centered, egotist does that. He was made aware of the shortfall that his employees were experiencing, and he took the raise anyway.

    But that isn’t all! When he built his budget for this year he was only planning on giving the city employees a 1% cost of living raise when the cost of living was 4.9%! Isn’t that interesting? He gets a $22,000 raise in one year, and increase of over 21% (on top of the raise fact that the city increased the salary cap to bring him here less than one year earlier) and he gives his employees a 1% raise!??? Ray Justice of all people was the one who pressed the issue for the employees to get more than a 1% raise!

    This is the type of leader our employees are working under right now, ladies and gentlemen, and I for one don’t appreciate it one bit. He has caused them tremendous damage.

    I remember when he first got to the city, some of the employees were very supportive of him, they were willing to give him a chance. Those same employees are not feeling the love now! I told them what this guy was going to be like once I got the chance to see him in action. I recognize the type from my days in the military. The military has good leaders, great leaders, and bad leaders, but then they have those who are like Randy Robertson. Randy represents the worst kind of leader in my opinion…he is the type that is “out for himself”! He can fool the fans, but he can’t fool the players. Sooner or later, he is going to step on the wrong set of toes, and when he does he will once again be looking for a job.

    What kind of a leader fights and scams to get himself a raise of over 21% and then only works to get his troops a 1% raise? Not the kind of leader I would want to follow!

  56. Chris Sorey

    If anyone needs numbers from Wilson County Government, feel free to contact me and I will try to get what you are looking for. I have a copy of the budget, and would be more than happy to show the hard copy to you, scan and email it, or relay what you are looking for over the phone. If you have questions after looking at it, let me know and if the answer is not available, we’ll try to find the answer together. The entire budget would be difficult to scan, but a few pages shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t check this site too often, so feel free to call.

    Chris
    579-6068

  57. Madi

    Butch,

    Why is everything with the city such top level classifed? Doesn’t the citizen’s have the right to view the budget and it’s accurency? I read some of your post prior and it looks like a struggle when you try to obtain information. Especially, when they tried to charge you for documents printed as you did not request. It appears to me when it comes down to it, its all about the money. Issues like that never appeared prior of the last city manager that I could see. Could it be that the administration is run like a military base? (Team MJ) Everything should not be war with the guys. They say they are working for the citizen’s but I really think it’s selective. That’s my opinion, anyway.

    Mr. Sorey,

    I think what your doing is wonderful. It’s great to have a county commissioner that is accomadating for the needs of people. May we wish one day, they will all take note and do the same. Keep up the great work!

  58. Butch Huber

    Madi,

    Randy Robertson came into town riding on Linda Elam’s coattails. He drank her Kool Aid. And she made him very beholden to her by getting him more money than he ever should have gotten to start with and then she was instrumental in getting him even more money in his raise. This was probably already worked out during their “private” meeting during the weekend when he first came to town for the job interview process. Obviously, once he found out about me and that I was looking for justice over what she and others had been doing to illegally force Rob Shearer out of office, fire Bobby Franklin and Debbie Moss illegally and unjustifiably, and force Hatton Wright to retire, and once Linda and others were able to paint me out to be the bad guy in all of that mess, he took a defensive stance toward me at the risk of being personally sued in federal court for violating my rights. He is going on advice from Jason Holleman, a politician himself, instead of listing to the direction of the State’s open records office.

    I am not done with all of this issue public records issue, nor am I finished with the illegal access to the Criminal Justice Portal, but rather, I am waiting for the right moments in time when I can have the most influence and impact.

    I believe that the reason public records access has been curtailed so badly and illegally is because there is now much to hide. If a citizen were ever to be granted unfettered access to public records who knows what they might find. Remember the when Mike stole from the city? No charges? How’s that happen? What did he have on them to be able to steal from them and not get brought up on charges? If you or I were to go to city hall and try to steal a table from the lobby they would have us arrested in a heartbeat, but Mike gets away with stealing over $10,000 from the city, with the real amount stolen never disclosed (or perhaps even discovered) to the public? I’m not buying it that they were just taking it easy on Mike.

    The city manager will one day realize that he was duped by the Mayor, that the others were really patting him on the back because they were trying to bolster their case that they made the right decision by illegally forcing Rob to resign and hiring Randy.

    Remember, in the time that Randy has been onboard, and from the time the City got rid of Rob, the city budget has doubled (thanks to things that were done during the Kevin Mack administration) and the debt has quadrupled (thanks to what the first Elam administration), the reserve fund has nearly been depleted, and they are about to crash financially. Rob returned us a surplus on half or less of the money that they now enjoy every year!

    If your performance was to quadruple the debt with twice the income the previous city manager had to work with and you still couldn’t make ends meet for the city wouldn’t you want people to go away and stop looking under the hood to see what is going on?

    Madi, the city doesn’t even have enough reserve money to operate for one month without income. Rob Shearer was required to have three or four month’s operating capital in reserve. They want to blame all their woes on Rob, but documentation beats conversation every time, right? Look at the numbers for yourselves and see if what I say isn’t true.

    The city doesn’t have an income problem, it has a spending problem. They got rid of Rob Shearer and Bobby Franklin and then started paying full price for things that Rob and Bobby would either get for the city for free or at greatly reduced prices. Rob saved the city no less than $1 million per year while he was in office. That is a pretty good return when you are only operating with about $4 or $5 million to start with!

    As far as the issue with medical insurance and Randy not wanting to provide me with the records, well, what does that tell you? It tells me that there is something in those records he desperately does not want me to know. Remember, all of a sudden the city’s insurance rates were going to go up by 36%. For years the insurance rates were going up by about 8% to 12% per year (which is still ridiculous because income doesn’t increase at that rate so it only stands to reason that medical insurance would eventually price itself out of existence) and now it goes to 36%? What changed? One thing I can think of that changed was that the insurance company was now dealing with Randy Robertson. What did he do? The city leadership doesn’t want anyone to find out what went wrong. I asked them to make him behave himself and follow the law. Randy read them my request word-for-word, which proved to them that what I was saying was true, and yet they never did anything to make him do what the law said for him to do. Why? Well, if I am right, and if I could prove that Randy had screwed up the medical insurance for the city, they would have egg all over their faces, wouldn’t they? I mean, they pushed Rob out of office to replace him with someone who promptly comes in and, if it could be proven that Randy a major mistake in the medical insurance arena, made a mistake that is now costing the employees money out of their pockets (but doesn’t really affect Randy because he is retired military and gets free medical from the military), and is now covering his tracks? How would that look? What if the mistake was criminal? Could that be the reason Mike didn’t get prosecuted for theft? Could it be that Mike had some dirt on someone of power in the city that they didn’t want to see come to the surface?

    I don’t know about you, Madi, but these are things that make me go, “hummm?” The problem with allowing the public to see what is going on under the hood of their government is that they might just revolt. We now have a federal government that is going to take out loans of over a trillion dollars to give it to the thieves who were robbing us of hundreds of billions of dollars before the recession. I will say it another way. The bankers and other fat cats were inflating prices, inflating stock prices, and charging extremely high interest rates, running ads that would drive people to buy things they can’t afford and charge them on credit cards with low interest rates, then, when the people got so far over their heads they couldn’t see straight or pay their bills, they would raise the interest rates to over 30%, these are the people who would lend people money to buy houses without them providing any documentation to prove they can afford the payments and without a credit check, these are the people who started lending people the money to buy furniture today and not have to pay interest on it for two or three years (after the furniture they bought was already worn), and if the people didn’t follow the agreement to the letter of the law they would have to pay interest on the loan all the way back to the date of signing, plus interest on the interest as well! These are the same companies that are now trying to sell us thirty thousand dollar cars for twenty thousand dollars! Doesn’t that mean that we were paying $10,000 too much for our cars to begin with? These are the people who did everything they could to stop people from being able to declare bankruptcy on their debts once they got so over their heads with ez financing deals they couldn’t pay their bills and still eat. Now the bad behavior of these fat cats is coming home to roost for them. People have stopped spending money and the fat cats are in trouble! Why? Because they were doing the same thing everyone else was doing, but only the price of their toys had a couple more sets of zeros behind them. Now, if the government doesn’t step in an give them more money they will crash and burn, just like so many others have crashed and burned because of their bad behavior. So, the government is going to borrow even more money, since we won’t spend our money on our own, and they will give it to the fat cats. Who is going to pay the loans back? I only wish I could say that you and I are, not because I want to pay to give the fat cats money, but because I believe that they have finally pushed the limit to what they can do to our economy over so far they have gone over the cliff. I believe our country is headed to actually having to declare bankruptcy. Those loans will never be paid. I am not sure where we are going as a nation, but as citizens, as people of this nation, we need to begin to work out our plan for what we are going to do after the fall. So, what does this have to do with records at city hall? It has everything to do with records at city hall! If we are able to hold our local, regional, and state governments at bay, hold them to account, force them to work within our means, then perhaps we could learn how to do the same with the federal government. If we could learn how to be responsible citizens, and not just bleating sheep, perhaps we could save this country. But it takes practice to become good at something, and the best place to practice being a good citizen is right in your own home-town, where you can have a direct impact.

    I think everyone should go to city hall and demand that Randy Robertson provide them with a copy of the database that contains the city financial information. Perhaps if a bunch of people started breathing down his neck he would come in line.

  59. bettie boop

    The city keeps saying the computers are down when someone comes looking for information. They keep hiring different IT personnel, I would guess, to clean the computers of convicting information. My question is, if an investigation was brought in could the IT person be held accountable for illegal activity or fraudulent behavior? Isn’t it sad that the city has taken this road. Just to cover up for their mistakes instead of admitting them.

  60. Madi

    Butch,

    Unbelievable, WOW, What a post!!! Isn’t their a State Agency that can go in to the City of MJ to expose all of this? I know MJ has good citizen’s (new to the city) and old that come with history. I’m fairly new to the city but have heard that the city government is run on the good ole boys system. Based on the performance of the city officials and management, it looks like we need a house cleaning completely. As we are known and proud to be the City between the Lakes, it appears to be a forthcoming disaster finanacially. Maybe the Her Royal Hineness will pull something out of her hat. You speak of the time that the good citizens of MJ can make a direct impact now, how do you address citizen’s making a stand, if the city officials will not open an ear, will shut you down when you talk, and ignore you questions directly, and cut you off from the microphone, create controversy stating comments in public meeting and then deny in local papers, I could go on and on. It seems like a battle over and over that can’t be won. I guess as long as the fat cats are earning their pay checks, the rest is not important.

  61. General Public

    Randy’s marbles

    Major Pinoche lowers the flag to half-mast. This first defeat of their kingdom has been a hard one to take. Acme Hollow-man was hauled off and locked in his room. Linda Lamb holds the key. “You are a disgrace to our profession. We believed in you. We even put your name in the Mt. Juliet funnies as a great warrior,” she yells, at the now whimpering Hollow-man. “Where is Major Randy Pinoche?” she shouts. Then Jellie Johnson whispers, “He is outside playing with the flag and looking for his marbles.” “What marbles?” Lamb barks, “I didn’t hire him for his marbles. Everyone must play with MY marbles or they can just go home”. Then she stomps her foot and walks out, which we know speaks volumes.
    The news had reached city hall of more battles on their way. Still weary from the last battle, Major Pinoche’s puppets prepare for the next of many attacks. One by one they are all briefed. And copies of backdated timelines, on forged paper lies, are passed out to all the accused. “I know we are almost out of gold,” the Major speaks out. “But, there has been a new development in the Planning Department. Our leader, Linda Lamb has secured the post, to bring in more gold for our future battles. The builders will pay handsomely for her services.”
    “Now, unlock Hollow-man’s door. He has cried enough,” the Major barks. “Tell him to start more potions. We need to make gallons of steamy, self- righteousness to feed to all of city hall. It is all about power, not truth.”
    “And also,” the Major speaks, “has the payment reached Ever-lost at the Mt. Juliet Funnies? No one knows she is on our payroll. Let us keep it that way. We will need her in the near future for promoting our lies against the up coming attacks.”
    As another day ends, Major Randy Pinoche stands alone, gazing out windows of city hall. “I could have been a contender,” he whispers. But there are no ears to hear, no eyes to see, only a single scroll left for him by,
    The prisoner. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

  62. General public

    General Public

    The Prisoner

    There comes a knocking on the city door. A wooden slot slides open, two eyes peer out, twitching nervously. “Who is it?” comes the reply. “We are the inspectors of the Great Inspector Gadget”.
    “Where is Gadget?” Pinoche asks. “Oh, he’s in the truck.”
    “Well get him in here,” Randy bellows.
    Gadget comes running in out of breath. “Sir!” he says, “we have spoken to all the surrounding leaders and no one believes our stories. What do we do now?”
    “I have to think,” Randy says, and starts to pace back and forth through city hall. Gadget and all his inspectors start to pace right behind the Major. Bursting through the door is Linda Lamb and her pet Willie.
    “What is this? A parade?” She barks.
    “No,” replies Gadgets inspectors, “we are thinking.”
    “Where is the prisoner?” She screeches.
    Randy Pinoche steps forward, his eyes still twitching. “They have been moved back from the stables. We don’t know what to do with the prisoner. Wherever we place them, they keep exposing more and more and more and more…” Linda slaps the Major. “Snap out of it! I can see its time to get rid of the prisoner. But, if we do,” she ponders, “the people will think we did it because they told the truth.” “Just like all the others we got rid of for the very same reason.”
    “We are in a house of deception,” Randy boasts proudly. “And we have to keep it that way.” Then we hear a familiar voice echoing down the halls. It is Acme Hollowman. “Have you been on vacation?” everyone speaks. “No I have been trying to deal with these suits that have been laid on our table.”
    “I’ll take one,” Inspector Gadget speaks right up. “I am so tired of wearing these drab colors. That would be really far out.“ “Not those kinds of suits,” Hollowman shouts. “Pay attention!. Now, we have been getting some help from the dark side, but light appears to be coming in from other places.” “We need to get rid of all these leaks, these leaks, these leaks,” Hollowman slaps himself. “Sorry, I have been to long with Marty, Aimless Rookie and Gary Brando helping them with the endless cover up and shredding.” “But I am afraid that most of the truth has already gone outside the camp.“
    And in one fearful voice, they say, should we just give in, give up and tell the truth?”
    Just then Jelly Johnson comes running in, white as a ghost. “We just got two more suits.”
    The other inspectors speak up. “I’ll take one.”

    Will they ever learn?
    How many suits will they have to wear?
    And……..
    What really happened with Pinoche’s last job?
    To be continued……………….

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