Mayor Elam campaigning at City Hall; says she is not covered by personnel ordinance

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According to numerous reports, Mayor Elam spent some time last week soliciting signatures from city employees for her petition to qualify as a candidate for the state legislature. Her activities occurred during business hours.

The city’s personnel ordinance prohibits city employees from engaging in political activity during business hours. After numerous complaints were made by employees to members of the city commission, Mayor Elam has defended her actions by claiming that members of the city commission are not covered by the personnel ordinance.

Apparently, both the Mt. Juliet News and The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet will have major stories this week covering the story in depth, with reactions from city commissioners and from Mayor Elam. Should be some interesting reading on Wednesday!

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10 Comments

Filed under City Charter, ethics, Mt. Juliet City Commission

10 responses to “Mayor Elam campaigning at City Hall; says she is not covered by personnel ordinance

  1. Kevin

    The mayor should be leading by example with good judgment – obviously not and this is another reason why this administration needs to be voted out at election time. Its not OK for her to violate policy and needs to be held to a higher standard!

  2. Butch Huber

    I want you to imagine for a moment that you are a lower-level city employee, or even upper-level for that matter, and the City Mayor comes to visit you in your office. Next thing you know there is a petition to qualify her for a seat in the State Legislature. The thoughts of how she successfully forced out the former City Manager in what was essentially an attack on the man. The thoughts of how she was involved in the unsubstantiated sexual harassment complaint against the former public works director race through your mind. The thoughts of the mayor’s involvement in the firing of another employee because her daughter solicited donations to her own beauty pageant using the city’s phones haunts you. The pressures she has placed on others over the years, such as the former City Planner, who actually won a lawsuit against the city for wrongful termination, is something that you have to contemplate. And yet, there she stands, hovering over you like a vulture, asking you to sign this petition. Never mind that you are forbidden by the personnel policy to perform such an act. Never mind that she is violating the city personnel policy by even asking you to do so at city hall, during working hours. This is much more personal, much more serious, than the personnel policy, this is right here, right now. You are fully aware of what happens to people who cross this woman and people who don’t do her bidding. You recognize this is a pivotal moment in your career, and the only thing you can really think of is how do I feed my children, how do I pay my bills, if I refuse her? Will she attack me as she has attacked so many others if I don’t do as she asks? Imagine yourself in that position.

    That is exactly the position she has been putting city employees in if in fact she has been soliciting there signatures for her campaign. They are being intimidated by her actions and any reasonable person would recognize that intimidation is exactly what is going on here.

    Employees have complained according to the article above. That means that she wasn’t just going to people she knew real well and who she knew would willingly and gladly sign, she must have approached people who were not so happy with being put in that position.

    The Mayor says that she is not subject to the personnel policy. I disagree, but let’s suppose she isn’t subject for just a moment. Can you imagine your confusion if you worked for the city and had to follow the personnel policy, which forbids you from political activities during working hours, and the mayor herself is standing there asking you to participate in political activities during working hours? What exactly is the city employee supposed to do at that point? The mayor was recently admonished by the board for throwing her weight around at city hall, and now it comes out that she has been asking city employees to sign her petition for state legislature?!! The city employee, perceivably, is in a no win situation. They either do as she asks, and sign the petition, which requires that they put their job on the line by violating the city personnel policy, or they don’t do what she asks of them and they risk her wrath. Complain about it? Wow, what would that mean to the poor unfortunate soul who actually stood up and pointed out the violation???!!!!!

    Folks, she, if what is stated in the article above turns out to be true, has solicited employees of the city government to violate the personnel policy. That, in and of itself, is grounds for her removal from office as Mayor. It is grounds for her removal from office whether she is subject to the personnel policy or not. This is grave misconduct on her part and should not be tolerated. This is over the top. This cannot be allowed to stand. This is voter intimidation. It is a violation of ethics. It is a violation of civility. It is a violation of the city personnel policy. It is an abuse of power. Finally, it is proof positive that she will not stop abusing her power and authority. When she was censored she called it a witch hunt. When she was smacked down last week for her behavior at city hall she called it a “Sham”. Now we find out that she has been irritating city employees, if not intimidating city employees, and she has been soliciting them to violate the city’s own personnel policy. How much exactly is necessary for this commission to remove her from office? Do they need an actual body?

    Her conduct, in my opinion, classifies as official misconduct. The board of commissioners should remove her from office, which is within their power, then turn this matter over to the law enforcement community for investigation. This is about as serious as it gets.

    Don’t think this is misconduct? Think about what would happen if you or I pulled a petition for qualification to run for state legislature and then started going through government offices, either here in Mt. Juliet, at the County Office building, or at State Government office buildings, not just at the entry-way, but actually going through the halls, behind the reception desk, beyond the gate keepers, and without authorization, and started soliciting signatures. Now, we don’t have any authority by which we can intimidate the employees, but regardless, what would happen to us? Now, give us the power to influence their careers for a moment under the same scenario. What would happen?

    This is an egregious and blatant violation of office, and it clearly warrants removal from office. She is flagrantly abusing her power. This is about as serious as it gets. Nothing is more critical to a free and open society than to be able to hold honest elections. To use intimidation of elected office to acquire signatures on a petition for state legislature is surely no way to hold honest elections.

    But ask yourself this series of questions; “Why would the mayor feel she needs to go through city hall asking for signatures? Couldn’t she obtain the required number of signatures outside of intimidation of city employees? Is there some psychosis that demands that she do such an act? Is there a power hungry monster in our midst? Does she have some emotional problem that causes her to need to feel powerful over other people? Is that why she does the things she does?”

    Folks, if this is allowed to stand, there is no law and order in Mt. Juliet.

  3. Jim

    Mt. Juliet is one of the leading communities in the Greater Nashville Area.
    The city government needs to reflect that in it’s actions.

  4. Worried Citizen

    Ok assume the policy does not apply to her… But if this occurred in business hours wouldn’t the city employees be breaking the policy by signing the petition during business hours? Assuming this is all true and occurred during business hours it sounds to me like the mayor is encouraging employees to break city policy.

  5. marketing 101

    The mayor and city manager have not only asked, but expected city employees to break policy in the past. It’s nothing new. Butch did a great job in explaining the position these poor people were put in – they know what happens when the Red Queen is denied, and it’s simply wrong.
    As for the Wednesday news, I’m sure Laurie will print something that will be akin to a full page ad for Elam’s campaign for state legislature.
    Perhaps The Chronicle will finally rise to the occasion and call for the Mayor’s removal.

  6. Just Curious

    Anyone know the process of initiating a recall?

  7. Butch Huber

    Just Curious, I don’t believe there is any such process in Mt. Juliet. I don’t believe there is a recall provision, but the four commissioners can remove her from office for grave misconduct. The question becomes, what constitutes “grave misconduct”. This becomes a grand event that takes three commission meetings, if I am not mistaken, and includes a hearing. I would certainly love to see this happen because it ties in so nicely with so many other issues. Perhaps this would drag everything out into the light of day finally!

  8. Butch Huber

    I read the article in the Chronicle today regarding this matter. Did the mayor actually say that she didn’t know what was in the personnel policy that she reviewed, authorized, and signed a resolution to adopt? Did I read that, or are my eyes playing a trick on me?

    Did I read about her blaming the actions of another person for her own actions? Is that what I read?

    Did I read about her not accepting fault regarding her actions because it was wrong for her to do what she did, but rather saying that she would have refrained from acting this way had she known that a city employee running for a county commission seat wasn’t allowed to act in the same manner? Is that what I read?

    How old is the woman? Three?

    Mayor Elam, what you did was wrong because it was wrong! You should have had the common decency and common sense not to have acted this way in the first place! Regardless of policy, regardless of anything, you should have known it was simply immoral and unethical for you to use your privileged access to city employees on the basis of your position to solicit signatures on your petition. You just can’t seem to help yourself can you? It seems you suffer from a psychosis. You cannot handle even the smallest dose of power without causing great harm, what would happen if you were actually in a powerful position? Time to go!

  9. Doc Cider

    ‘And yet, there she stands, hovering over you like a vulture.’ That is classic, Butch, Pulitzer worthy almost, and certainly evocative of our mayor.

  10. Doc Cider

    Recall? Remember we DO have home rule. Also remember that recalling the entire government can be done by petition, as was tried in 1999 or so, by petitioning to change the FORM of government. Want to be careful with that one tho’….

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