Mt. Juliet settles suit by Franklin for $166,000

chronicle-2009-02-18The story is covered by both The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet (who had a little photoshop fun with their cover) and The Mt. Juliet News.

The Mt. Juliet City Commission voted 3-0-1 (Hagerty absent, Elam abstaining) to settle the suit for $166,000 – with $75,000 coming from the City’s general fund and $91,000 to be paid by the City’s insurance carrier.

Elam, Bradshaw, & Sellers all maintained the settlement was only agreed to because of the costs of defending the lawsuit. City Attorney Jason Holleman, however, “confirmed if the case was lost in federal court, it could cost the city as much as seven figures.”

The Mt. Juliet News has an intriguing tidbit in their final paragraph:

A copy of the settlement could not be obtained by press time. However, Elam said there were other things settled on separate from the monetary aspect, but would not comment on those items.

link to The Mt. Juliet News story

link to The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet

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6 Comments

Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission

6 responses to “Mt. Juliet settles suit by Franklin for $166,000

  1. Butch Huber

    For all who are reading this post, please take a moment of your time to reflect on this case, and put yourself in Mr. Franklin’s shoes, and contemplate how you would feel if you were him.

    Mr. Franklin, whether you agree with the job he did or not, poured himself into his job for 6 to 7 years. He didn’t just go in and do as little as he could to get by, but rather he did his best for the city. Whether or not you or anyone else believe his best was good enough is not the matter here, but rather that he gave what he had to give, which is all you can ask of anyone. Imagine yourself doing your job to the best of your ability for 6 or 7 years, all-the-while having developers threatening to sue you in court and having commissioners threatening your job. Mr. Franklin isn’t an independently wealthy person who was doing the job of City Planner for the City of Mt. Juliet, for you and I, just for kicks. He was asked to take this position and he grew into over time. I happen to know that Mr. Franklin didn’t just do what was under his job description, but rather he was willing to do whatever was asked of him by his supervisor and he actively looked for ways to help improve things at city hall and in this city. A lot of the positive changes that happened in this city over the 6 to 7 years were brought to us through his tireless efforts. Imagine yourself, having given your all, going above and beyond the call of duty again and again, doing your level best all along the way for this city…that is who Bobby Franklin was.

    Now, imagine getting that infamous phone call from Mayor Elam during which she apparently vociferously demanded that he illegally and improperly remove a condition upon the property that was owned by a developer she had secretly gone to work for after having failed in her bid to win election to the position of County Executive. Imagine your bewilderment over that call. The call I am referring to is the same call that she was censured for having made. Imagine yourself having developed an image of the Mayor as being a person who prides herself on “holding developer’s feet to the fire”, and now here she is trying to get you as city planner to improperly remove a condition on a developer’s property, an action that would be illegal and would likely end up getting the city sued in court by another landowner. Imagine your confusion. Imagine your disbelief and your dismay over that call.

    Now, imagine yourself sitting in a room in a meeting that was called by the City Mayor during which she is once again vociferously demanding, “slamming her hand on the table” according to one account, that the city employees illegally give permits to Pulte Homes.

    Now, imagine yourself as you see the Mayor illegally push your boss out of his job. Imagine yourself working for Rob Shearer, a man you have come to know and respect over the past 6 to 7 years, a man that you know has the city’s best interests at heart, a man who you know put into his job way more than he ever got out of it, and then there you are watching as he is railroaded out of his job in an illegal plot.

    Now, imagine yourself as you watch the other people who were in that meeting when the Mayor illegally was trying to get building permits for Pulte Homes are systematically being pushed out of their jobs in one manner or another. Mind you, these are people that you have come to respect for having done their job, whether you agreed with them 100% of the time or not. Imagine your frustration, confusion and dismay.

    Now, imagine it is you who has been fired from your position as city planner, not because you didn’t do your job, and not really because you did anything worthy of being fired for, but because you had the audacity to stand up to the Mayor and speak the truth in an official meeting of the board of commissioner’s meeting. Now, imagine that you have false things said about you as being the cause of your termination. Imagine that they say that you attempted to commit fraud, when you never wrote or signed the document that they said was fraud. Now, imagine that all of the commissioners and the acting city manager all knew that you were not responsible for the document, and you had already told them through e-mail messages everything you were going to say or do in regard to your involvement with the effort to secure the grant for which they accuse you of having committed fraud. Consider this: if you are a superior officer or leader in the military is made aware that incorrect information is going to be passed on by one of his or her subordinates and he or she does nothing to stop it the superior officer is in deep and hot water. Bobby made this commission and Sheila aware of the information he was sending to the grant writer, the writer of that infamous fraudulent grant. However, the grant was not fraudulent, nor would it have been had they used the information provided by Bobby Franklin. Imagine yourself trying to give someone information to someone in the most accurate manner possible and then being accused of fraud.

    Now, imagine yourself addressing the city commission and asking them to make your record right and being refused. They know you didn’t do anything wrong and yet they are refusing to fix your record and clear your name and reputation. You have been attacked and those who are entrusted with your protection are turning their backs on you.

    Now, imagine yourself having to sue the city to force them to right the wrongs against you, getting a settlement that clears your name and pays you for the damages they caused you, only to have them disparaging you in the paper once again! Saying that you don’t deserve the money, that you are wasting their time, and that your suit was frivolous!

    Bobby is a hero to those who work under tyranny and oppression at city hall in Mt. Juliet everyday. He stood his oppressors down. The city has the Tennessee Municipal League backing them up, with an army of lawyers at their disposal, and yet they settled what they called a frivolous lawsuit? Do you believe his lawsuit was frivolous? If you do then consider this, if his lawsuit was so frivolous, does it really make sense for TML, an organization that is responsible for defending not just Mt. Juliet, but perhaps hundreds of governments across the state, an organization that is going to spend more to settle this case than the city is going to spend…does it make sense for them to settle a frivolous lawsuit for such a large sum of money? I say it doesn’t make sense, I say that if TML thought they could win this case they would have negotiated the settlement down to a much, much smaller number than $166,000. Now, it does make sense, a lot of sense, for TML to settle this case if they knew that there was a high likelihood they would lose their case if it went to trial. TML isn’t on the hook if the city loses the case at trial, they only have to pay for the lawyer’s that defend the case, the city would be on the hook for the damages, which could be as large as 7 figures. TML is kicking in their money that they know they would easily go through if they had to take the case to trial, and they are kicking that money in because, in my opinion, they know they are going to lose in court and they are better off settling out of court.

    I personally hope this settlement comes unwound and this case goes to trial. I want to see the truth coming out in this case. I want to be able to look under the hood and see what these folks are up to in our government. Linda secretly went to work for a developer, only admitting to her employment after the Chronicle broke the story, so if she would secretly go to work for a developer what else could she be up to? I believe they don’t want us to know the truth. I believe they knew the truth would come out and they would lose the case, and they “want” to settle. Don’t believe a second of their dribble about how they just want to end this thing and stop wasting time. If they thought they would win they would take this to the limit. Observe their venom toward Bobby in what they are saying even after they have settled on the case, is that the character of a group of people who would settle a case if they thought they could win? I think not.

    Folks, this government has been hurting people and allowing people to be hurt as one or more of our political leaders pursue their political careers. I filed a very valid and accurate complaint against this city and they just illegally dismissed it. Two of the commissioners, who were also named, said that my complaint was accurate! But that didn’t matter to Will, Linda and Jim, they just dismissed my case and the crimes and injustice continued!

    Your government here in Mt. Juliet is out of order and out of control. How dare they risk any more of our money with their irresponsible dribble! I like Bobby Franklin, and I am glad he got his settlement, but I don’t want to buy him a beach house to go with whatever he spends his $166,000 on. They need to shut-up and pay-up and hope he accepts the payment and goes on with his life.

    Meanwhile, there is another problem, we still have others who have been harmed and are being harmed by this government and the harm goes on unabated. There will be more lawsuits I am sure, and now that the precedent has been set we can predict the outcome. The government of our fair city has been fashioning a welcome mat that says, “Mt. Juliet, city of a thousand lawsuits”.

    I swear they have to stay up late at night to figure out ways to mess things up this badly because there simply isn’t enough time in a normal workday to screw things up this much.

  2. marketing 101

    Is there any way possible for the Citizens to band together and fire Elam, Robertson and the rest of these idiots? A petition? A giant lawsuit? Something????
    Honestly – here we are with a mayor who didn’t win by majority, a city manager that thinks he’s guarding the secrets of the Vatican, a vice mayor whose nose is so far up the mayor’s colon that he knows what she had for dinner last Tuesday, and the rest of them are too scared to stand up for fear Robertson will sic his dogs on them and reveal all their dirty little secrets.
    Gee whiz – we need a do-over.

  3. Madi

    I agree with you 101, I do have a question for anyone that can answer this…. The laptop’s issue; Did the commission vote on laptop’s for all the commissioners? If so, does this mean monthly contract on air cards? Does this mean, they could possibly violate the “open records law”, they stated in the paper, it was to save money to go paperless. That means when they plan the meetings & conduct city matters in making decisions, it will not be public record. Is that the intention? Does it have to do with Mr. Huber and others asking for city documents? Their must be more to this than a convience. Discussions are too private as it is. I believe the city has turned into Fort Knox. Mr. Robertson speaks in the paper that the city is tight in the budget, isnt this spending that’s unfounded? Lots of questions, I believe is important.

  4. Bobby Franklin

    Madi,

    The City having digital agendas is not necessarily a bad thing. It is also not a new thing. I tried to get the Mt. Juliet City Commission to do this back in 2004. The only Commissioner willing to try it at the time was Ray Justice. I sent Ray his agenda by email as a PDF. He tried it for about 4 months and decided to go back to paper. The rest of the Commission never participated.

    When I became City Manager in Lakewood the Board received their agendas at the meetings. They just met and dictated ordinances and resolutions to be written afterward. I immediately started crafting the agendas and ordinances prior to the meetings.

    Since Lakewood never created paper agendas or ordinances beforehand, they didn’t object to me going digital from the start.

    I create the agendas as an Adobe PDF package. Each agenda item is a link to the Ordinance or Resolution. The meeting minutes and City Manager’s report are also linked.

    When the agenda is finished it is placed on the City website so the public can see it. I then email the agenda link to all the Commissioners and staff. The public gets to see our agendas, ordinances, resolutions, and minutes the same time the Commissioners do.

    The Lakewood Commissioners did not buy themselves laptops to do this.

    I hope Mt. Juliet goes to the digital agenda so the public can see the ordinances before the meetings. They currently only post the agendas without the ordinances:

    http://www.egovlink.com/public_documents300/mtjuliet/published_documents/Agendas%20-%20Minutes%20-%20Packets/City%20Commission/Agendas/2009/3-9-09%20BOC%20AGENDA.pdf

    In Lakewood we post everything:

    http://www.lakewoodtn.org/resources/Meetings/March5-2009AgendaPacket.pdf

  5. Butch Huber

    Bobby,

    Now you’ve gone and done it. You’ve shown them how things are supposed to be done…now they will never do it! It started to look like they were going to stumble their way into doing things the right way, but now that they can see first hand how it should be done they will know not to go there. Thanks, Bobby.

    Good job getting things set up right in your city, though.

  6. General Public

    It is early morning at The Fortress. Major Randy Pinoche has just finished polishing his Tank and is pacing back and forth in hopes of seeing his fairy godmother. Linda the Lamb had promised he would become a real boy if he played with her marbles. But lately, now that his splinters have wounded so many, he can pretend no longer. Now Pinoche reaches for a bigger stage. Flames of fire fill city hall, a dark cloud appears with eyes that reflect rules of power and fear.

    “I am the great OZ.” comes this thundering voice. “You will all obey me.” Then the prisoner casually walks over and pulls the curtain back. It’s Major Randy Pinoche; the wooden fingers gave him away. “Never mind that strange little man behind the curtain, I am the Great OZ” comes his towering voice. “Get that prisoner before the curtains fall. I said get that prisoner!” Inspector Gadget is on the scene, his flying monkeys take to the sky only to burst into flames when confronted by the many failed inspections held by The Prisoner. “Oh no!” cries Mr. Pinoche “not my inspector monkeys”. Then we find all at city hall fighting over Randy’s ruby slippers as darkness closes in. The only light to be seen is from the New Laptops searching goggle for help and maybe a new job. Then we hear them all in unison “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no fire codes, there’s no fire codes.”

    The Prisoner turns to Ever-lost. “Are you getting all this down?” “Yes, I am.” She boasts then reads her script. “We see thousands of camels carrying our babies across the great desert in search of the very illusive MRI machine.” “What?” Major Pichoche says. “You have one right next to Mt. Juliet Funnies. I go there because of these trumpets I keep hearing.” Embarrassed, Ever-lost grabs some files and jumps out of the window. “I think I have a dead-line to meet,” she says. And now, everyone is starting to hear distant trumpets. Great Warriors are beginning to surround the city. “Do not be afraid,” Mr. Kill speaks with shaky voice. “These walls are made of hay and stubble, Gary Brando and Aimless Rookie personally inspected them, we have nothing to fear, or is that everything to fear?”(Finding it hard to choose between the Dark and the Light).

    Now one by one people start to flee from the city. “Stop” Acme Hollow-Man and his hired guns, from Harvard, Stanford and of course Radar from Mash (who wishes he were in Kansas) screams out, “Stop running!” We just have to “Wait Them Out.” That’s the sacred code of the hired gun. And remember our oath, “It is not about the truth, it is about the Power of Lies.” And now comes a noble turn of events. Sir Edward is seen standing outside the fortress with Sir Paul, one of the fallen warriors. “I am calling you out,” Sir Edward says to Linda the Lamb. “You and Pinoche will not steal our gold and take our land, for it belongs to the great Mount Juliet.” “Drop your weapon,” he yells pointing right at Pinoche’s nose.

    The Major starts to cry and cowers in the corner. There’s a flash, his fairy godmother shows up then slaps him across the face with a Wet Willie. “Snap out of it!” she screams. Mr. Pinoche looks up “am I a real boy now?” And just on queue Inspector Gadget bursts on the scene, “I’ll protect you my Wooden King!” “We now have permits to carry sticks, now where’s my monkeys?” Another day has fallen from the map of this troubled city. The trumpets are sounding closer and growing in number. Some are starting to believe in their hearts and be saved?

    There is still time, while there is still time.

    ps. “God speed Sir Paul”

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