The ballot for the November elections in the City of Mt. Juliet is now set.
For District One:
For District Three:
Let the games begin.
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as 2008 city election, Ed Hagerty, Jim Bradshaw, Jonathan Brydalski, Mayor Linda Elam, Ray Justice, Ted Floyd, Wendell Marlowe
Hopefully these candidates will use this site as a platform to express themselves, conduct debates, and discuss the issues that this city faces. Hopefully, we will use this site as a tool to help us make our decisions.
As for me, I have only one vote to cast for this group, and that is for the office of Mayor. Kevin has my vote already. He has served this city well in the past, he is directly and indirectly responsible for the massive and unprecedented growth in Mt. Juliet, and he served in this position with class and maturity. He took a well deserved break and is now ready to return to take Mt. Juliet to the next level. Linda and Jim have been on the commission for quite some time now and they haven’t really accomplished much at all.
At the end of the day it all boils down to “who gets things done”, and I think Kevin has proven himself.
As far as Wendell Marlowe is concerned, he should have opted to run against Ed. Wendell would be my second choice, but not my first.
Is Brydalski the only one who didn’t pay to have his photo professionally done? He has my vote, already saving the city money.
There’s still time for a write-in candidate to mount a challenge to Haggerty.
With Haggerty still on the commission, the most this election will accomplish is take out Elam and Justice, leaving the same old-same old in the mix — 2 to 2 with Bradshaw (returning as Commissioner) as the swing vote. Not a pretty picture.
At least with Justice and Elam out of the Commission it is a start, and maybe the new kids will teach the same-old same-old some new tricks.
3 clowns and 2 fools. 2 good ones and 1 i dont know.
you figure it out.
Give me a hint, who is who? Can RadioFree contact them and get some opinions? The only clear race is Hagerty unless people insist on writing in a candidate. I’d like to know more about each candidate.
When presented with multiple ethics complaints in September of 2007 by citizens of Mt. Juliet, the Board of Commissioners chose to repeal their ethics ordinance instead of using it to seek the truth.
They repealed a very good ethics ordinance written by MTAS that had been adopted by almost every city in the state. The replacement ordinance was purposefully designed to make it difficult, if not impossible, for citizens and city employees to hold Mt. Juliet elected officials accountable to any ethical standard.
Two of the four Mayoral candidates voted to do this – Elam and Bradshaw. That essentially narrowed the race to two candidates for me. I could never vote to loan four years of authority to a person who has already abused it.
What about Justice and Hagerty?
Sent to the open records office today:
Hello, my name is Butch Huber. I am an active citizen in the City of Mt. Juliet. Over the past several years I have been dealing with a city commission that conducts backroom meetings in contravention to the State Sunshine Laws, blocks access to public records, inflicts harm on employees, and acts on secret and illicit and illegal deals that exceed their authority. They all know my name very well because I am very vocal over my concerns regarding their conduct and I have actively sought investigations into their behavior and prosecution for violations that they have admitted to either in public meetings or to me personally.
I submitted a request in the beginning of July requesting all of the correspondence regarding health insurance that the city had received between April 1st and June 30th of this year. The City did not provide me the information within the 7 business days that they are allowed under the new law, nor did they submit to me a denial or a statement that they would require additional time in order to fulfill my request (also as required by law). I eventually got an e-mail message from the city attorney stating that they would submit the requested information to me once all of the quotes were received by the city. However, what I was requesting was what was received by the city up to the 30th of June. In other words, they would have already received all of the information that I have requested before I even submitted the request, so the City Attorney’s response to me was inappropriate and, in my opinion, nothing but a stall tactic.
I received an e-mail from Jill Johnson, the City Human Resource Director, stating that she was working on my request, but that she was the only staff in the Human Resource office and that she would complete her work as soon as possible. She stated that she had to redact the information due to HIPPA laws and that it would take time. She gave me an estimate that it would take longer than the 5 hours allowed by law without charge.
I was informed by the city manager during this process that the compilation of the materials I requested would be about 1,000 pages and that the city charges $.25 per copy (I was aware of this charge as I have already paid their outrageous charges in the past, however, I also knew that the city would have to comply with the new law, which would not allow them to charge the $.25 per copy.) I was also informed by the city manager that it was going to take longer than the 5 hours to compile the information in my request and that I would be charged for the additional time.
I informed Ms. Johnson not to exceed 5 hours on my request and I referred her to my original request for these records. You see, I didn’t request photo-static copies of this information, I asked for the information to be delivered to my via e-mail, as is allowed by the new law. I was informed by Ms. Johnson that the city attorney said that they were not required to convert documents and that I would receive the information in hardcopy. I again referred Ms. Johnson to my original request.
I went to city hall to observe the final compilation, as is my right, and found that nearly every, if not all, piece of information in that compilation was a copy of an e-mail. What that means is that the city had to convert the information from E-mail to photo-static copy in order to develop this file. In other words, they were trying to run up a substantial bill for me to deter me from obtaining the information I requested. Also included in that compilation was correspondence from periods outside my originally requested time frame. Again, I believe they were trying to run up a substantial bill for me.
The city sent me a letter stating that the files I requested were ready for pick up and that my charge would be $56. (I guess my admonishment that they had no right to charge me $.25 per copy finally sank in when I informed them that since they were never asked to produce this information on a hardcopy that I was going to fight to have the city manager have to pay that cost if they tried to charge those expenses to me. The $56 was for 1.5 hours of Ms. Johnson’s time. However, considering how much time was spent on producing hard copies and how much time was spent on developing information other than what I requested, how can they even think of trying to state that the information I requested took that additional 1.5 hours of her time?) Again, they are trying to keep me from accessing the information I seek by running up a large bill. This effort is in contravention to the new law as the new law says that the information is to be delivered in the most inexpensive (to me) manner possible.
You should also know that I asked the city to provide me with an estimate of charges before they began to work on my request as prescribed by the new law. They failed to do so before they began to work on my request. It is my opinion that the city is trying to keep public information from being used to develop a case against these nefarious people who sit on the board of commissioners. You should know that three of the five commissioners sitting on this commission have been censured over their behavior. You should also know that this commission voted to replace the MTAS Ethics Ordinance with their own version that makes it nearly impossible to hold them accountable for their mischief. In fact, they gave themselves a 30-day statute of limitations! If we observe misconduct on their part we have 30 days to file a complaint or we cannot ever file an ethics complaint against them!
Last month the city manager placed a letter of intent on the agenda of the board of commissioners. The letter of intent was involved with a plan on the part of members of this commission to donate $1.3 million worth of land to the YMCA. I have been very actively working against them on this issue. In fact, it is my belief that had I not gotten involved this city would have broken many laws over this issue, including bond fraud.
I requested a copy of this letter of intent on Tuesday of this week. Now, this letter is something that was submitted to the city commissioners, so it is a public document, but I have still not been provided with a copy of it. This is not a document that would be hard for them to put their hands on, nor is it something that would be difficult for them to reproduce. What I am telling you is that they are once again stalling on the delivery of the information that I am requesting.
In May I requested a digital copy of the budget workbook the city manager submitted to the city commission for their review. It was in July before I finally got what I was asking for and then only after I fought them very hard to get it. The city manager and finance director had gross errors in the budget workbook, which for 6 weeks they refused to accept. In fact, the city passed the budget on first reading when the budget workbook contained a 4 million dollar error, an error that I informed them of, and they passed it on second reading when there was a 2.6 million dollar error, which I also informed them of before their vote. Had the city manager and finance director provided me with the information I was seeking I could have determined the cause of the error, made the appropriate corrections, proven to them that the error existed and that the error was with the current budget (the city manager constantly stated that the errors were with the product of the prior administration’s budget), and I could have given the commission the correct numbers. Instead, they ignored my request for information, only providing me with hardcopy rather than the digital version, thereby keeping me from determining the cause of the error.
The purpose of records being kept public and keeping public access to those records open and easy is so that “we the people” can hold them accountable for their actions and so that we can also help them with their duties. The new law was a step in the right direction, however, it appears that the leaders of the city of Mt. Juliet are trying to use the new law against the citizens of this city.
I would greatly appreciate it if your organization would make access to open records as inexpensive as possible and as painless as possible. Public scrutiny of government is, and should be, a natural expense to the government, not the individual. If a police officer needs to investigate a crime he doesn’t have to pay the cost of the investigation out of his own pocket, why should we have to pay the cost of investigating possible misconduct of our public officials?
Please understand that most, if not all, cases of misconduct on the part of public officials comes as a result of citizen or employees divulging evidence to either newspapers or blogs or investigators. Any attempt on the part of public officials to conceal public records or block access to public records should be considered obstruction of justice. We as citizens do have a right to make citizen’s arrests, and as such, any effort to block our investigations should be held to the same level of obstruction that an effort to block access to information being sought after by a police officer.
Please understand, the issues we face in this city are very real and very serious. I have tried to get law enforcement agencies to step in and bring this city under order, however they have refused. Please understand that I have not been told by any law enforcement agency that I am “wrong”, in fact, I have even been told that I am right, but still no investigation. I have found that trying to hold public officials accountable is a very difficult task; if you have never tried it, I can tell you that you would be shocked at how difficult it is. I have recorded admissions of wrongdoing and still nothing is done about it.
Please contact the City Manager of Mt. Juliet and explain the current public records law to him as he clearly either doesn’t understand it or he is electing to neglect his duties under the law. I am trying to avoid having to take the City of Mt. Juliet to court over these issues, however, I am becoming more and more inclined to consult with an attorney seeing as they refuse to do their duty.
Harold C. Huber
Do you remember “The Firm”? Remember how they finally took down “The Firm”? The Firm was sending out fraudulent bills through the mail, which carried stiff penalties.
I submit to you for your observation the body of the letter sent to me by the city by certified mail regarding the information I requested.
I have completed your open records request, for the information relating to the City of Mt. Juliet’s employee benefits package and subsequent bids. Under the open records act, the first five (5) hours of work are computed at no charge, which includes copies made during such time. In addition to five (5) hours of time allotted per the records law, I spent an additional 1.75 hours of time researching the requested documentation for redactions, due to the privacy under the HIPPA laws for the personal information included within the requested documentation.
Therefore the cost for time spent above the allotted five (5) hours of time, is $56,29. I will have the records available through the receptionist office for your receipt.
Note: a substantial amount of time was spent on items other than what I requested, which would be included in the 1.75 hours noted herein.
Justice and Hagerty both voted to repeal the MTAS ethics ordinance too.
In regards to the 158,000 dollars to be given to 11 employees for unused vacation time. I Know some not all have taken vacation and or comp time off from work and never applied it to
their vacation. Seeing how this government has been making it’s own rules, I think the records of these employees should be pulled to see if their time off has been charged accordingly.
Jill in HR should have these records. 158,000 dollars could be used to build on to our library or maybe a down payment for a fire truck. I can’t believe how our money is at the hands of these careless people. Lets give everyone an award and now lets give out 10,20,30 thousand to whoever might have missed a vacation.
Show us the facts and who are the 11.
The Mt. Juliet elected officials appear to be allowing the present City Manager to ignore the state open records act. Do you think all five members of this commission would ever have allowed Rob Shearer to openly and continuously break a law? Any law? They complained about the weather when he was manager.
And this board only hires two people; the City Manager and the Judge. So 50% of their employees are breaking the law and not one of the commissioners even mentions it?
These commissioners have obviously forgotten whom they work for.
Lets remind them November 4th.
Agree, we need some new individuals who can make decisions without worrying about which friend they might be loosing from not giving professional courtesies.
New blood November 4th…
New Blood November 4th…
New Blood November 4th…
It is in their best interest that he violate the law in regard to public records. They don’t want the information getting out to the public. If we knew what is really going on in Mt. Juliet’s government operations they would have a lot to answer for, don’t you think?
I mean, take the Letter of Intent for instance, why would they have a problem with me having that letter? The reason is because they know that no matter what they do they can’t legally do what they are trying to do for the YMCA and if I get my hands on all of the information I can stop them from pushing the deal through before the November election. That is what this letter of intent is about in the first place, right? Isn’t it because the YMCA is getting nervous about the election and they want some sort of guarantee put in place before the election?
Folks, two months to go before election day, the longer we can force them to sit on the YMCA deal the less likely they will be able to strap us with the debt.
Put pressure on them to vote down any measure that would lead to the YMCA deal.
Again, I have nothing against the YMCA except that they would opt to take our tax money rather than the land that was offered to them for free. I just don’t want to be forced by government to subsidize the YMCA.
I am suprised there hasn’t been any discussion on here about the school budget. I have the word of the Director of Schools that coach’s supplements will not be cut and that he will make that announcement on Monday morning on the “Coleman and Company” radio show. The Board of Education will meet again to change the cuts sometime next week.
Please pass this information along to any school student you know who might be affected by this.
Most of the employee’s that get liberty to have comp time are management. They are salaried employee’s that never punched a time clock to begin with. With lower level employee’s they would not allow comp time or overtime even though they worked it. As far as accumulating unused vacation time, I was told in the employee’s policy manuel that it had to be used. No where did it say I will cut you a check. The only way a check is disbursed is if the employee retires. Why did the city not keep up with this? As strict as management is on all employee’s, it looks like someone drop the ball… Once again…..
I am a bit confused about the public records issue that seems to be going on here. Are you telling me there are no open files to look up and search for records on your own at City Hall and that someone from the city office has to do it for us?
Anything that falls under public record should be computer searchable or at least have a copy that citizens could search out themselves in public files.
Butch, Charging you for that service seems illegal to me if these records are not available for you to get yourself.
I could be totally wrong on this, but that is how I thought the public record laws went.
There is a new law that is designed to make it easier to access public information. In a conversation with Randy Robertson during a phone call in early July he and I were discussing the new public records law. Randy seemed to be of the mind that it made it harder for citizens to access public information and increased the costs for citizens to access information. He seemed to take glee in his belief that the new law would serve to make information less accessible.
The new law spells out in fair detail how they are to handle public information and that it is supposed to be easy to access and receive. However, according to Mr. Robertson, the city attorney and the MTAS attorney disagree with my assessment of the new law…that doesn’t surprise me as I have rarely encountered an attorney that I was impressed with (not saying that there aren’t some out there, just that they are far and few between).
You see, attorneys have to watch out for their interests. If you or I could read plain text and understand it they would be out of a job, wouldn’t they? To put that more simply, they read plain text and say that is says something entirely different from what you and I would think it says. For instance: a statement may say; “the cat is sitting on the table”, but they would say “the cat has a right to sit on the table if it wants to, but right now the cat is in a state of flux. You can’t really say that it is sitting on the table because it has its left front paw resting on the chair pulled up under the table. If no appendage of the cat is touching anything other than the table you still couldn’t say that the cat is sitting on the table because there is no legal definition of what constitutes sitting when speaking of a cat. Before you can say that the cat is sitting on the table you would first have to bring in experts to determine which position constitutes sitting for a cat, then you have to determine any exclusions or alternatives that could alter the definition. Once you have the correct determination for what constitutes sitting for a cat you then have to ensure that no other case law impacts the definition, because if there ever was a situation under which any animal in any other case was determined to not be sitting, it may legally mean that our cat in question here is in fact not sitting, but is in another heretofore not yet determined position.”
Sorry for the rant.
In all seriousness, the government is setting itself up here. Take my situation for instance. If they charge me the $56 they want from me because they took time developing this file and then someone else goes in to request the file what will they do? Does the next guy get charged $56? If they charge her $56 they would then have a profit on that effort. Does the government then pay me back half of what they charged me? Or do they then only charge the next person for the actual cost of making copies? If they do that don’t charge the next person what they charge me they would be unfairly charging me.
They seem to be concerned about citizens coming in with multiple requests. They seem to be trying to stop that or increase the costs to that person. The problem is that very few people will take it upon themselves to go through the abuse this city is putting me through when I am requesting this information. So, the few people who will fight them end up with multiple requests. What difference does it make if I ask for all the information and make it available on blogs and e-mails or if three hundred of us go in to ask for the information? If they would simply behave themselves and make information available on-line as it comes in they wouldn’t have to worry about people like me.
No, Lori, there isn’t a file at city hall that I can go to in order to look this information up, they have to retrieve it for me. It isn’t like going to a library. I encourage everyone who sees this post to go to city hall and request some information from them. Let them know that had they not been trying to conceal information or block me from receiving information you would never have even thought to ask for it, but now that you have been informed of how hard it is to get information you wanted to test it out for yourself. I can give you a lot of things to ask for, in fact, if you ask for it and then post it here we will all have a public record of what they are up to.
In fact, we would be doing their jobs for them, wouldn’t we? They should pay us.
If the city allowed total access to their records we would find so many contradicting and doctored files that it would make our heads spin. That’s why they need attorneys to protect them from the public. I do believe they will reap what they sow. But I would still encourage everyone to go to city hall and request any files you would need. Jill would be happy to give you the run around. That’s why she gets the big bucks.
I did have a hard time getting information from them on some approved subdivisioin drainage designs I had disagreements on. The last county and city I lived in both had the files available in the file room for anyone to browse and photocopy or scan. I guess I am a bit spoiled from that.
Ask them for electronic copies of e-mails between that exist between commissioners. Those e-mails are illegal. They do exist, they can’t deny it, so see if it is easy for you to get an electronic copy of those items. I don’t think it will be as easy as what you have gotten in the past. Once you get them please post them on Radiofreemj so the whole world will see that they do in fact communicate with one another outside a properly called meeting.
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