Mayor tries to move ‘retreat’ out of town

That’s the headline on a story in this weeks Chronicle of Mt. Juliet (which can be read online by clicking on the link).

It’s actually far more serious than just an attempt to move the deliberations of the City Commission to an inconvenient location. The clear intent of the Tennessee Open Meetings Law is to insure that the business of the city commission is conducted in public. And it is clear that moving a 2-day meeting to a remote location out of the city is for the express purpose of being able to conduct city commission business out of the view of the public.

Compounding the deliberate insult to Mt. Juliet citizens was the way in which the mayor attempted to make this change – by adding it to the agenda for Monday night’s meeting even though there had been no advance notice that the item would be discussed. Apparently the mayor failed to submit her agenda item in time to make the agenda.

The mayor, of course, does not take lightly anything that thwarts her desires. Rules are for other people. She attempted to add it to the agenda anyway. This requires a suspension of the rules, which needs a 2/3 vote according to Robert’s. In Mt. Juliet that means a vote of at least four of the five commissioners. Hagerty and Bradshaw both objected.

The mayor then attempted to violate Robert’s Rules, by over-ruling the objections of the two commissioners and announced that her item was on the agenda. This occurred AFTER the city attorney pointed out to the entire commission that placing the item on the agenda required a suspension of the rules and that a suspension of the rules required four votes.

After announcing her unilateral, red queen ruling, Commissioner Bradshaw requested an opportunity to speak. The mayor refused to allow Commissioner Bradshaw to speak on the matter.

The real howler in all of this is that the mayor believes the public wants her to serve in the state legislature, in order to continue to provide a “conservative, Republican” voice from the 57th district.

She’s neither a conservative, nor a Republican.

In spite of being a lawyer, she either doesn’t understand the city charter, or Robert’s Rules – or she believes that she can dispense with either whenever it suits her fancy.



Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission, Open Meetings Law

15 responses to “Mayor tries to move ‘retreat’ out of town

  1. Southsider

    Elam refuses to abide by the rules adopted by the Board of Commissioners. She continues to try to sneak items on the agenda so the public is given no notice of controversial issues.

    Lifetime healthcare benefits for her and a quest to move the Commissioner retreat outside the city are just the last two examples. She has been doing this for years.

    The ex-city planner brought up the Mayor’s abuse of the rules way back in 2007:

    She will abuse her power as long as the rest of the board allows it.

  2. Butch Huber

    This is the kind of things that gives snakes a bad name. People often refer to politicians as snakes, but that really isn’t fair to snakes. Snakes actually serve a purpose in life, and they stay within their purpose. I mean, you never see a snake trying to be something other than a snake. They have their nature, and their nature is sometimes scary to some, but all in all, they do what they were intended to do.

    Politicians on the other hand, tend to do everything except what they were intended to do. They are put in office to serve us, and within days, they turn around and try to make things so that we serve them. They stole off to far away places so nobody will see their nefarious deeds. There they hatch their plans to get over on the very people who put them in office. What does it take to get one honest politician to stand up and say, “I will hold myself, and my fellow politicians, accountable for their actions. If they stray from the true course of rectitude, I will admonish them and demand they right themselves. If they refuse to fly straight, I will bring them to account in the courts of law by bringing charges against them?” They have a clear and undeniable responsibility to self-regulate. Where are the people who would run for office who would self-regulate? They won’t run for office because they don’t want to associate with snakes. But they are wrong. Associating with politicians (Not all of them) is worse than associating with snakes. Associating with snakes would be more acceptable, at least you know they are all capable of biting you and that they probably will. A snake doesn’t fain that it won’t bite you and then bite you, it tells you with their hiss or their rattle that if you come to close to them, or mess with them, they will bite you good and hard. Politicians will tell you, “I won’t bite you”, and then, after they lure you in closer, just after you trust them, they strike!

    Linda Elam is the worst of the worst. She can’t be trusted by anyone, at anytime. She is so power drunk (which for someone in her position as mayor, getting drunk on the little bit of power she has is like drowning on a teaspoon of water.) she thinks she can do anything she wants. Sooner or later this is going to catch up with her. Her actions remind me of the actions of the politicians who all seem to ultimately land in jail. They get so power drunk, so full of themselves, and they go so over the top with their conceit and arrogance that they think they actually can get away with breaking the law and they eventually step on the wrong set of toes, and they go to jail.

    It is a shame, a real shame, that she has been able to stick it out this long. She doesn’t deserve to be in the position she is in, she can’t handle it.

  3. marketing 101

    I believe the last time the commissioners held one of these “retreats,” one concerned citizen actually trecked out to the site to be a witness. The report was that Elam & “The Cast” weren’t too pleased.
    Even though this foolishness is called a “retreat,” legally the meetings are still open to the public, from what I understand. Perhaps this time a full posse of concerned citizens should make the pilgrimage to their hide out – I mean, Retreat location, just to see for ourselves what kind of good things might happen there that can’t happen at a normal meeting at City Hall.

  4. Doc Cider

    With all the bad news that this story represents, there are some good news nuggets here.

    First, the Chronicle actually had the gumption to print this story, instead of the ‘kitten in a flower shop’ brand of brave journalism they have exhibited over the past year.

    Second, the Commission is obviously becoming tired of madam mayor’s imperial reign, with some commissioners actually providing evidence that they have read the city charter. As an FYI, that document does NOT state that ‘the mayor, although a part-time official, can do whatever (s)he wants and need pay no attention to the rules stated herein’.

    With the most recent political do-si-do’s on statewide and countywide offices, be afraid that this mayor will seek the target of greatest opportunity in August. Go to the polls and vote to stop her.

  5. Butch Huber

    I was waiting for Publius to respond to the stories in the Mt. Juliet News and in the Chronicle regarding the smack-down in the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioner’s meeting Monday. It seems that the board of commissioners, the city manager, and many of those who work for the city have had just about enough of Linda “I am the queen” Elam.

    I can’t say I feel sorry for Randy Robertson, because he fought me when I was trying to take care of her little red wagon a couple years ago. Now, I bet he wishes he would have just stayed out of the way. I wonder what her little “private conversation” with Randy Robertson was when he first was being considered for the job he now holds. I venture a guess that she was making sure that he was very beholden to her. She fought hard to get his salary increased beyond the absolute maximum that was allowable at the time. Then, after he was in the job for just a little while, she went to bat to get him a raise to $125,000 ($17,000 more than the max before Robertson came to town). There were some other perks she fought for, but the exact nature of those perks now escapes me. Let’s not forget that Robertson was her second pick, though, for it is important to note that her first pick was some bow-tie wearing gay rights activist from Providence or someplace.

    Now, after all she has done for Mr. Robertson, he has had his fill of her. She is certainly feeling a little betrayed right now, and you know what happens when she gets her dander up. I bet it is only a matter of time now before the sexual harassment accusations start to fly again! I wonder who will file the complaint this time around. Isn’t the the nature of things in this city? Isn’t it such that when someone gets in Linda Elam’s way that somehow a sexual harassment complaint seems to follow? I am not making accusations, I am just making an observation.
    It just seems to be the way things work in this city, call it coincidence.

    How will this work out? What kind of thing will Mayor Elam put on the table to get two commissioners to go along with whatever she wants in order to get rid of Robertson? I believe he only has a couple months left on his contract before he can be fired without cause without the city having to pay some big severance package. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago since Linda and two other commissioners were prepared to sponsor a resolution to fire Rob Shearer for cause even though they had no basis for doing so. Surely she can spin a web that will garner the support she needs in order to get rid of Randy Robertson. After all, she has gotten away with everything so far. Slap on the hand here, admonishment there, but nothing with teeth. She can do just about anything she wants, and they won’t touch her. Or will they? I have to wonder if the commission has the intestinal fortitude necessary to actually hold her accountable. Do they have the nerve, the spine, the guts, and the courage to do the right thing, or will they fold and let her go on? Only time will tell.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of back room deals she puts together to win back two of the four commissioners who have now had enough of her? Sellers is up for re-election this year, as is Bradshaw. I wonder what she can do for those two that will make them forget about whatever else she is doing or has done?

    Time to send her packing. Mt. Juliet has had enough of her sneaky little tricks. It is time to elect good and honest men and women to the board of commissioners. It is time for people with vision to sit at the table. This city has so little vision right now they could be classified as being legally blind. Their lack of leadership is stunning. Nothing of any magnitude has been put in the pipeline for years. This city will have a tremendous lull in a couple years because they lacked the foresight to initiate any real plan for the future over the last several years. They are simply riding the wave that was created by Kevin Mack, Rob Shearer, and Bobby Franklin. When that wave has passed and run its course this city will likely see a real dead-zone for awhile. The slap down could be a good thing, but as usual, Linda’s obstinate attitude, couple with the spinelessness of the commission in general, leads me to believe it amounts to nothing. It merely gives her targets to shoot at.

  6. Southsider

    There is only one entity in the world that can do anything about Linda Elam – the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners. If that board allows her to continue to ignore the City Charter, it is as guilty as she is. They put their seal of approval on what they accept from Ms. Elam.

    Will Sellers voted against censuring Elam in 2007. He was the only board member who voted against it. It appears that Mr. Sellers now sees what the other board members all knew back in 2007. This is important because Ms. Elam has now lost her only ally on the board.

    There is no telling how much money has been spent defending and settling lawsuits the mayor has brought on. Elam has cost Mt. Juliet taxpayers a lot of money. It is easy to focus on these costs and ignore the largest one – the opportunity cost of having a mayor who cannot lead. We will never know what could have happened if Mt. Juliet only had a mayor who could be trusted to lead. It is impossible to put a dollar figure on that.

    Someone else on the board needs to step up. I wonder who it will be?

  7. Worried Citizen

    Well it looks like an offsite meeting will happen after all. Just not out of town:



    April 17, 2010 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

    Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 6-20-208, City Recorder Sheila Luckett hereby gives written notice that an Off-Site Work Session / Special Meeting of the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners will be held on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at the Mt. Juliet Community Center, 1100 Charlie Daniels Parkway, Mt. Juliet, TN at 8:30 AM to approximately 5:00 PM. The business to be discussed at this meeting is as follows: long range planning, current and future budgets, road & sewer projects, park expansion & projects and other topics arising therefrom or related thereto. The Public is invited to attend.”

    Wonder what’s wrong with the chairs at city hall maybe it’s the cameras are there?

  8. Southsider

    Thanks for the info Worried Citizen.

    I am worried too.

    The good news is than an ordinance exists that requires all meetings be videotaped and archived. There should be a camera recording this work session.

  9. Well, it should be recording this work session. There may be another “technical difficulty” and there most certainly will be an executive meeting where they go into a room with the city attorney to discuss God knows what. Those Executive sessions are only legal if there is pending litigation, and then only for the purpose of discussing the litigation.

  10. ross

    Linda Elam is so power and money hungry its pathetic we have kept her in office. She has no morals, ethics or decency. She broken rules and the law and everyone looks the other way. Its time we as citizens take back our city. Vote out “queen” Elam. End her reign

  11. Old Citizen

    It looks like Mayor Elam is above the law. If you have some time you might want to check out Mayor Elam’s signs posted at the entry to Windtree Trace. I’m thinking they are not in compliance with the 10 ft requirement in the sign ordinance. That poor sign policeman is really between a rock and a hard place on this one. Those signs have been there for at least a week or two and he hasn’t confiscated them yet. We don’t need a scofflaw in our government. LOL

  12. Old Citizen

    Its good to see that the Mayor has seen fit to comply with the law now that her disobedience has been brought to the public’s attention, however, there is one more just down the hill at the entry to the Golf Course. I almost had a head on collision trying to see that sign. Its definitely hazardous to the public’s safety. LOL

  13. Old Citizen

    How many of you have heard that Obama’s Department of Justice is not going to prosecute blacks when white people are the victims? Not only is he protecting blacks but now it’s black muslims.
    Kids in college can’t keep non christians out of Christian Only clubs? So why does Black caucuses still remain.
    I sincerely believe that we will end up politically correcting ourselves out of existence.

  14. Old Citizen

    One last comment for the day. I just figured out how to solve the illegal immigrant problem. Since we are all very politically correct in all we do, why don’t we just station our “National” Guard along the southern border and when they stop an illegal, they can make them legal on the spot. Get their fingerprint, fill out the necessary paperwork for instant citizenship and issue them a social security card right then. If they don’t want to be a citizen take them directly to jail for five years. Then let the IRS deal with them like they do all us other citizens. I have nothing against their race and they are doing jobs most other people won’t do anyway. Production goes up and up the line more jobs will be created, thus improving the economy.

  15. Old Citizen

    That dang sign policeman must have gone on vacation. The way I read the sign ordinace there is supposed to be only two political signs on each property. Whats going on with all those signs along Mt Juliet Rd just down the hill from Captain D;s? If there is temporary relief from the law for those people campaigning on those properties, the rest of us would like to know if we too can have over 2 signs per property.

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