Mayor Elam peddles petition at City Hall

That’s the headline on the front page of this week’s Mt. Juliet News. Story confirms details posted here on Monday, but adds quotes from Mayor and all four commissioners.

MJ News also has an editorial (presumably by Laurie Everette) with the headline, “Peddling petitions in City Hall is a bad idea.”

Both items are worth reading for those who want to attempt to understand MJ politics. Get a copy of the MJ News, or wait a day or so for the article and editorial to appear online at their website.

The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet also weighs in with a front cover headline and page 3 story titled, “MJ commissioners disagree with political petitions in city hall.” The Chron story also has numerous quotes from the Mayor and four commissioners.

Tomi Wiley of The Chron had this classic line:

Elam said that if she had known about the rule prohibiting petitions in City Hall in the Procedure Manual that she reviewed and eventually approved, “she would have refrained from seeking employee signatures within city hall out of respect and deference to Mr. Brockman.”

Mayor Elam in both papers attacked Commissioner Floyd, who she charged had circulated his petition among Mt. Juliet police officers when he filed to run for the city commission in 2008. Those circumstances were, of course, quite different. Floyd had retired and was no longer in a position to reward or punish any employee for declining to sign his petition. Indeed, employees who signed his petition might have faced the displeasure of the incumbent city commissioner that Floyd was challenging.

Linda Elam is neither a conservative, nor a Republican. Her record as Mayor of Mt. Juliet is appalling. Heaven help us all if she is elected to the state legislature.

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6 Comments

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

6 responses to “Mayor Elam peddles petition at City Hall

  1. Doc Cider

    Having read the Chronicle article I had to laugh. Apparently Bill has let his editor start writing news articles again. This is a good sign as the Chronicle was at the forefront of exposing the last mayor run amok.

    The sheet on the red queen grows every day. I notice that with the iminent potential development of the MJE site gone, a reinstatement of the Town Center plan is being reviewed. Hmmm….Paddocks certainly got their money’s worth.

    By the way, there is a way to remove Ms. Elam and that is by petitioning for a change in the governmental structure to a mayoral form of government. This was tried before as longtime residents may know. But this is a double-edged sword.

    And just a reminder, we still have home rule in place here. I think the required signatures for removal form office could be gathered easily. I don’t understand the process, but I do understand that there are options here and that there is flexibility.

    It is time for Ms. Elam to go back to doing the legal paperwork for parking lots in Nashville and to get out of public life in Mount Juliet.

  2. Chris Sorey

    There will be a petition to call for a charter committee and that will appear on the November ballot. The question on the ballot will be something to the effect of shall there be a charter committee established in Mt. Juliet? If the majority of voters vote to establish the charter committee, a charter committee will be elected at the following election (2012). This is a long process, but it is a step in the right direction no matter how long it takes to get the process done.

    The city commission could also create a charter committee by resolution, which would save two years of the process, and allow the charter committee to be elected at the November elections, get started on a charter or amendments to the current charter, and then present those in 2012. Since they haven’t been out knocking on doors, they most likely don’t realize that this is what the voters want, and employees at city hall obviously would not voice any opinion when they sign a petition.

  3. marketing 101

    The words “I didn’t know” aren’t a worthy excuse in any form of government. Knowing and understanding the laws, rules & ethics (ha!) of government is part of the job description, folks! Those who are too lazy or too stupid to accept that responsibility should step away from the podium.
    I sure miss the days of tar and feathers.

  4. Butch Huber

    This is no trivial matter. This is proof positive that this woman will never keep within the borders of her authority. She was admonished one day for her activities at city hall, then the very next day she is at city hall asking city employees to violate the city personnel policy for her benefit! Imagine if your boss were to bring you into his or her office and dress you down for something, then the very next day you flagrantly go and do the same type of thing and even worse! Would you have a job?
    Would you deserve to have a job?

    So far, and this is the very short version, we know:

    The mayor sponsored and voted on an ordinance that allows buildings to be built in Mt. Juliet that are taller than three stories. The only company that had any such plans in the works at the time was Commercial Realty Services, CRS.

    The mayor then received nearly half of her donations for her bid for county mayor from people involved and businesses connected to CRS.

    When the Mayor lost her bid for County Mayor, she secretly went to work for CRS.

    The Mayor then called City Planner Bobby Franklin in what became a very heated phone conversation where she was pressuring Bobby Franklin to remove an item on the Technical Review Committee Agenda. The removal of that item would have been for the benefit of her new secret employer. She was so forceful that Bobby Franklin went to the city manager to inform him of the call and to tell him that he may need so help with the mayor on this one. She never told him she was calling for her employer. When she couldn’t get Bobby to do what she was asking, an act that would have been illegal on his part, she called one of the best land use attorneys in the area on behalf of her employer. That was a conflict of interests.

    The mayor illegally oppressed the city manager to resign under threats, intimidation, and coercion. Her actions were misconduct and possibly a criminal act. (The commission stood by and allowed this to happen without calling her to account, even after I filed a complaint)

    The mayor received a six page writing from Mrs. Cathy Reitz regarding the working conditions in the public works department. According the city husband of Mrs. Reitz, the mayor not only encouraged Mrs. Reitz to file a sexual harassment complaint against the public works department head in order to save her job, she told her what to write in the complaint. The six page writing had absolutely nothing to do with sexual harassment on the part of the Public Works Director, but if the mayor considered the behavior noted in the six page writing to be sexual harassment, then she was also obligated to turn over the writing to the city manager under section 14 of the personnel policy. Once the complaint was made of sexual harassment, no matter the form, or even a mention of sexual harassment for that matter, the city manager was to be informed and was to handle the matter. The mayor instead used this to cause great harm to Hatton Wright by announcing the complaint in a public meeting, which was also a violation of the personnel policy. I later heard from the husband of Mrs. Reitz that the mayor was applying pressure to get this complaint filed by a particular day and that only when they heard that the mediation in the Sandra Dempsey lawsuit did they realize why the pressure. The mayor announced this complaint just prior to the mediation, in my opinion, to cause the greatest harm to the reputation of Hatton Wright. The end result was great financial losses to the city and irreparable harm to Hatton Wright’s reputation. Hatton Wright was cleared of any and all sexual harassment complaints.

    Why was the mayor so angry at Hatton Wright? Because he stood up to her in yet another attempt on her part at obtaining a benefit for someone. The mayor had called a meeting of city staff to try to obtain what would have been illegal building permits for Pulte homes. Pulte Homes’ supervisor had offered to make a donation to the city ladder truck fund if she could get the building permits for him. CRS had the only tall building project in the city at the time. Remember, the mayor was working for CRS at that time. Remember also, had the employees acted on her request they would have been violating the law, but she was asking anyway. She was so forceful the city attorney had to reign her in. EVERY PERSON WHO ATTENDED THAT MEETING WAS FIRED OR DISMISSED FROM THEIR JOBS AT THE CITY WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ONE PERSON WHO CAME LATE AND DIDN’T OBSERVE THE MAYOR’S BEHAVIOR IN THAT MEETING. THE REST TOLD THE TRUTH IN AN INVESTIGATION OF THE MAYOR’S BEHAVIOR AND THE REST HAVE BEEN FIRED OR LET GO!

    The mayor insured that Ed Hagerty was censured for signing a piece of paper that had no authority because that piece of paper directed a city employee to commit an act that was improper according to the policy, but that made sense otherwise. The mayor established in that meeting that she expects members of the board to act properly. Her behavior was an obvious act of retaliation for Hagerty voting to censure her.

    The Mayor has a long train of abuses. This isn’t an isolated case, it is just part of a history of abuses.

    If you had a business where an employee refused to follow your policies, and then you called them on the carpet and dressed them down for their behavior, and then the next day not only are they going around violating your policy, they are soliciting others who work for you to violate your policy, what would you do? Would you fire them? If so, you need to call the city manager and find out what you must do to rid this city of this mayor. She works for you, and the employees she was soliciting work for you. You are the boss. Now, what are you prepared to do to bring order to your city? Will you sit there and do nothing, or will you stand up and demand action?

  5. Butch Huber

    I just read the article in The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet regarding the petition for a charter commission. None of the commissioners know what is being spoken of when Chris Sorey, the person who launched the petition, is referring to “abuses at city hall”!

    Could this just be a case of short-term memory loss and political blindness, or are they purposefully ignoring the corruption that has occurred in this town over the past several years?

    The mayor sponsors and gets passed an ordinance to allow buildings taller than three stories.

    She runs for county mayor on money donated to her by the only people in the city that would have benefitted by that ordinance.

    She loses her bid for county mayor and then secretly goes to work for the developer that benefitted from the ordinance she sponsored and got passed.

    She then calls the city planner trying to force him to remove an item on the technical review committee agenda, and item that would have been detrimental to her employer. She was acting under color of office because she was secretly working for the developer but was using her position as mayor to influence an action that would benefit her employer.

    She then calls a meeting where she vociferously attempts to force city employees to violate the law so that she could extend a favor to yet another developer who had offered her what amounts to a bribe in my opinion, stating that he will make a significant donation to the city ladder truck fund if she can secure the building permits he is seeking, even thought those building permits would have been illegal. She was so adamant that the city attorney had to admonish her!

    She then goes to the city manager and illegally forces him to resign from office under threats and intimidation.

    She then violates the city personnel policy and announces to the world that there is yet another sexual harassment charge against the former public works director and encourages anyone who has anything on him to come forward with any information that would be damaging to him.

    She then motions, and the city commission passes, a resolution to usurp the charter directed power of the city manager by illegally taking the investigation out of his hands.

    She then motions to have paula flowers manage the investigation, but not conduct the investigation herself for “other reasons” (More on that in a moment)

    The public works director files his own complaint against the mayor which is the thing that exposed all that the mayor had done.

    The mayor motions to have Sheila Luckett replace Rob Shearer as city manager, a move that we would later realize was calculated on her part. Sheila would do the mayor’s bidding.

    The mayor pushes for, and is able to achieve her goal of, having Paula Flowers conduct the investigation into the Public Works Director’s complaint. It was convenient that she be the one to conduct the investigation into the mayor, because she herself was involved in the events that led to the complaint against the Public works director!

    During the investigation into the complaint brought by the public works director we find that the mayor was working directly with the person who filed a complaint against the public works director, she sat on a six page writing by that person which clearly should have been turned over to the city manager (it never was turned over to him at any point in this process), she encouraged the complainant to turn this writing into a sexual harassment charge against the public works director in order to keep her job, according to the husband of the complainant, not only did the mayor tell her how to write the complaint, she told her what to write, the mayor, according to the husband of the complainant against the public works director the mayor pushed them to have the complaint filed by a certain date, a date that would cause the most damage to the public works director and to the city, and then the mayor used this fabricated sexual harassment complaint to cause personal harm to the public works director and run him out of the employment of the city. The public works director had a wife home dying of cancer during this entire process.

    Then, everyone who worked for the city who gave information to the investigators of the complaint against the mayor found their self out of a job.

    The city was sued by the former public works director for wrongful termination.

    Another commissioner was blasting the former chief of police for not extending professional courtesy to a person of power and influence when she was caught drunk driving.

    The city tried to illegally use bond funds to purchase a piece of property they were then going to give to the YMCA.

    I could go on and on and on, but yet there is no reason for citizens to be tired of the corruption at city hall.

    This last episode, where the mayor was illegally obtaining signatures on her petition to run for state legislature is just one more brick on the pile, but it is a big one and they are obviously ignoring it!

    No, we don’t need to have control of the city. The mayor says we need a full-time mayor so that the mayor and the citizen are equal. WHAT?! I thought this was the land where the government is of the people, by the people, for the people!

    Nothing to see here folks, run along home or about your business!

  6. Doc Cider

    What I found so amusing about Elam’s Chronicle quotes is that she says out of one side of her mouth that ‘the mayor should have the authority and the responsibility’ so ‘citizen’s voices are taken as seriously as they should be’ (huh?!?) then from the other side she says she would not support a citizen-responsive charter committee because she would rather just have the city commission put a full-time mayor form of government on the agenda.

    Surely she knows this is not all about elevating her position to full-time. Although such a change would require another election, one in which hopefully former hack county commissioners and folks that run for every office they qualify for wouldn’t load up the ballot. The 2008 election should have been a referendum on Elam, but she managed to slither back into office with 32 percent of the vote. In Metro she would have faced a runoff-unfortunately in this case with a developer financed hack- and she likely would have lost. Such a runoff was one of the suggestions floated by Sorey in the Chronicle article.

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