Elam stalls prohibition on simultaneous offices

Mayor Linda Elam, currently running for a seat in the state legislature, managed to postpone consideration of a proposed charter amendment that would prohibit the mayor or any commissioner from simultaneously holding another elected office.

The proposed charter amendment includes the line, “No person may serve simultaneously as a commissioner or mayor and in an elected office within the county, state or federal government.”

Because Mt. Juliet voters approved Mt. Juliet becoming a “Home Rule” city in 2006, all amendments to the charter must be approved by the voters. Sponsor Ed Hagerty had wanted the charter amendment submitted to the voters on the November, 2010 ballot, which would have prohibited Elam, if she were elected to the legislature, from continuing as Mayor. Elam (on a 3-2) managed to postpone submitting the proposed amendment to the voters until 2012.

Commissioner Jim Bradshaw is also running for the County Commission on the Aug 5th ballot and has said he intends to hold both offices if elected. It is not clear if the charter amendment would affect him were he to win election to the county commission in August and the charter amendment were to be approved in November.

Below is the full text of the proposed charter amendment as submitted to the City Commission by Commissioner Ed Hagerty:

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8 Comments

Filed under City Charter, Mt. Juliet City Commission

8 responses to “Elam stalls prohibition on simultaneous offices

  1. Paul Deyo

    As usual Elam talks out of both sides of her mouth. She goes on about taking the decision to remain in office ‘to the citizens’, but doesn’t think the citizens should be able to vote on it. A recent Mt. Juliet News poll showed overwhelming lack of support for a person holding two offices. In 2008, about 68 percent of the voters didn’t support her re-election bid. She already knows how the citizens feel.

    I wonder who the third vote against democracy was. Assume Ed is a ‘yea’ and Elam and Bradshaw were ‘nays’.

  2. butch huber

    I think it was Ted.

  3. Butch Huber

    Elam was talking about how the voters should be the ones to decide whether she could hold both the congressional seat and the office of Mayor of Mt. Juliet. The flaw in her position is that people from outside the city of Mt. Juliet will be voting on the Congressional Seat and she already has the office of Mayor. If it were only the citizens of Mt. Juliet voting for her or against her in the Congressional race, that would be one thing. But what she is actually saying is this: “I want the people who live outside this city to decide whether I can hold the office of Mayor of Mt. Juliet while at the same time perform the duties of a Congresswoman”. This isn’t as big of an issue to those who live outside this city as it is for those who live in this city because we already know what kind of a person she is and they are only beginning to find out. They may not know of how she secretly went to work for a developer in this city and then tried to use her office to help that developer. They may not know that she has already performed actions that were conflicts of interest.
    If Linda Elam was a woman of virtue, if she had morals and ethics, if she could be trusted, if we had no reason to believe that she would do anything underhanded and devious, or dubious, or diabolical, or nefarious, or sinister, perhaps, perhaps, it would be okay for her to hold both seats….but who wants to play the odds on that one?

    Even if she was a woman of virtue, the paragon of virtue, the shining example of ethical and moral living and behavior, even if she would never do anything underhanded, or devious, or dubious, or diabolical, or nefarious, or sinister….(Okay, I think I fell asleep there or something, I must have forgotten of whom I was speaking) it would still be a bad idea because she would have to abstain from so many votes in order to maintain a record of no conflict of interest.

    Bradshaw is saying that he should be able to be on the county commission and hold his current office because then he will be down there at the county every month watching what they are doing and reporting it back to the city. Hmmm.. The first thing that hits me is this…if that is what you want to do, then why aren’t you already doing it? As a citizen he can attend the meetings, he doesn’t have to be on the commission in order to “watch” the commission. The second thing is…Bradshaw has a hell of a time keeping up with the actions of the board of commissioners in Mt. Juliet, he is going to be completely lost on the board of commissioners for the county. Here there are 5 commissioners and most of the time they have to wake him up and repeat what they just got done saying. There are 25 commissioners on the county commission, for Jim, that represents 5 times the confusion. He will never keep up. The third thing is this…if he is going to go to the county commission so that he can “keep and eye on them” for the city, will he be “keeping an eye on us” for the county? I don’t think we should be doing anything in secret as a city or as a county, but do you really what Jim Bradshaw as the county watchman?

    How many times has the commission had to wait so that Bradshaw could be brought up to speed on things that were just discussed? It seems constant. He even voted on something of critical importance to the citizens being able to hold this city commission accountable, voted against us and for the people who were doing wrong, and then later said, “I didn’t realize what I was voting for, and had I known I would have voted the other way”. Are we supposed to let this guy have TWO offices? That is an example of the Peter Principle gone too far!

    These two people are examples one and two of why it is bad to allow them to hold multiple offices…one spends all her time doing the wrong things, the other spends all his time figuring out what just happened.

    Folks, your mayor has just out-slicked the commission once again. She is a sneaky one she is. Yeah, let’s let her have more power.

  4. Paul Deyo

    Butch, great observations here, but she is not one of the forty some-odd people running in he Congressional primary, she is running for Susan Lynn’s seat.

  5. Old Citizen

    And Mr Huber, speaking of conflicts of interest and having to abstain from votes thereby, how many times do you think a realtor in the office of County Mayor would have to abstain from voting.
    I’m thinking that if Phillp Warren wants to be Mayor of the county he should retire his real estate license if elected. That wouldn’t keep him from voting for his fellow realtors benefit however.
    It’s not the doing of the deed but the perception that it could be done so easily that bothers me.

  6. Southsider

    Your next County Mayor will be Don Fox anyway.

    The three candidates will split the Lebanon vote into equal thirds and Fox will get half the vote in Mt. Juliet / West Wilson County. Watertown doesn’t have the population to sway this kind of election so Fox will win with about 43% of the vote.

    He won’t forget who elected him either.

  7. Butch Huber

    I am not sure who could run for public office that would be completely immune to conflicts of interest, however, there are those who are more inclined to have them than others. In fact, there are those who have a personality and character that “attract” conflicts of interest. Moreover, there are those who actually seek out situations in which they ‘create” conflicts of interest.

    A person in the real estate industry is just as entitled to run for public office as any other, and they can do a fine job as a real estate agent or broker and as a public official at the very same time, however, they have to have high moral character and a willingness and ability to make the right decision, even if that decision is not in their immediate best interests.

    Why did I say “immediate best interests” in the preceding paragraph? Because I believe that when you make “right” decisions, and when you have high moral character, the universe tends to align itself in your favor, and I believe that fortune shines on those who make such decisions.

    I have experienced it in my own life. I made a decision years ago that ultimately caused tremendous harm to me, however, the reward far outweighed the cost, and I am much better and much stronger for my struggles caused by that decision. I was at a crossroads in life, and I knew the “right” decision, but just about everything in me wanted to go the other way. I chose the right way, and I paid a price for it, but the reward was much more pleasing to me long-term than I would have experienced by going down the other road. I have created life-dividends that will pay residuals for generations upon generations, nothing pays you back in life like doing the right thing, even though it doesn’t seem like it at first.

    I would like to say that I was wise and insightful for understanding the right from the wrong, but I would be lying. I felt the unction of the Spirit of God nudging me down the right road, and though my knees shook terribly and my whole body trembled, I had a “knowing” that the other road led to destruction. So, why did I want to take that road? Because sin is fun…for a season and when compared to the “Right” thing, which often looks boring and like a lot of hard work, it seems easy at the time.

    A person can’t be tried without being given a chance. I don’t know who I am going to vote for in the county election, but I will say that my brief encounter with Mr. Warren proved to me that he has a good grip on some of the needs of this county, and I think, given the chance, he might actually make a good county mayor. That is not to say that I know much about him or his personal life. I can only go by what I have heard in a very brief meeting with him.

    We will all soon be faced with a decision; vote or don’t vote. If we choose to vote, we will be faced with the decision that requires us to pick the candidate we feel will do the job best. How we define “best” is subjective. If by “best” you mean the person who is likely to make good decisions most of the time and the person who knows how things in government work better than the others and who will get the most accomplished, well, that’s easy. Don Fox wins that one hands down. If by “best” you mean the person who endeavors to make the “Right” choices as often as possible, and by “Right” I mean the moral and ethical choice mixed with some rational that the decision is also a “good” decision, well then, that is a horse of a different color. I am not in any way saying that Don Fox is not of high moral character, heck, I don’t really know the man. However, by saying that it is a “horse of a different color” I am saying that the choice isn’t so clear. I am more interested in a candidate that will make right decisions than I am a candidate that will make the “Correct” decisions. A person who is looking to make “right” decisions will reflect, gather data as needed and available, will consider all sides, and will seek out solutions that best meet the needs and desires of all concerned while at the same time falling squarely smack-dab in the middle of the boundaries of the law. Correct decisions can be made by following “a+b=c” type of thinking. The answer is correct, but life is more complicated than 2+2=4.

    As voters, we too often allow ourselves to be lazy. I am guilty as charged. We too often vote in the same way that we pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. If we are ever to get good men and women to serve this country in elected offices, we need to be right there in the process with them, start to finish. For too long politicians have gotten away with telling us what we want to hear to get our votes, then, when the elections are over they set about doing what they really wanted to do. We need to end that by staying on their back-sides their entire time in office. We need to hold them up, but we also need to hold them accountable. When they get the message that politics have changed in America, and that a politician must do what he or she says they are going to do, in time, we will right this country and set it back on a course toward prosperity, hope, and destiny.

    Whoever wins this election, at all levels, I hope that they don’t lose sight of the weight of their office. It has to mean more to them than the bluster and pomp and circumstance and the pride they get and the power they feel by filling that office. Being a public servant is something that should make a person feel wholly inadequate and beyond themselves, it should be humbling, it should bring them to their knees in prayer. Being a public servant should be something that stirs in a person a sense of passion for this nation that a person can’t help but do the “Right” thing. A politician should hear the spirits of the signers of the declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States haunting them when they are doing wrong and praising them when they do right.

    So, I say to you, Old Citizen, if you think Phillip Warren is qualified in every other way, and if you have no reason to believe he will do the “wrong” thing, and if you think he will do the “right” thing more so than the other candidates, I say vote for him and let him prove himself either way. Conversely, if you have reason to believe that he is not a good candidate, or that he will do the “wrong” thing, or if you believe he will not do the “Right” thing more than the other candidates, and if you think better of another candidate, by all means, do the “Right” thing yourself and vote for the other guy.

    I have tried throughout my children’s life to teach them to do the “Right” things. Although I personally have failed in so many ways in life, and although I have failed so many times, I have at least tried to do the “Right” things as often as possible. I believe I am a better man today than I was ten years ago, and one year ago, so I believe I am on the right path. I think that is what we need to be able to ask of our elected officials. They should come out of office better people than they were when they went into office. Their children should be able to respect them when they have finished their term in office. Being human is a difficult thing at times, but isn’t a great and wonderful experience this thing we call…”life”? What a gift it is to live and love and grow and learn and to experience all that this world has to offer? Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a land so free and so great that we even have an opportunity and a reason for such dialog? To be able to choose our leaders is such a liberating thing, but we too often take that liberty for granted. We have a duty and an obligation to do the right thing when we step into the voting booth, just as the elected official has a duty and an obligation to do the right thing when they are in office. Who you choose is up to you, however, if the only reason you have not to vote for a person is the “potential” for misdeed, then there will not be anyone to vote for, will there?

    You seemed to have responded to my post regarding Mayor Elam. Mayor Elam has been given the chance to hold office, and she has come up wanting in terms of moral character. She doesn’t deserve the chance to fill another office until she can demonstrate that she has changed and that she has the moral character and ethical fiber that is necessary to make “Right” decisions, and that is why I blog about her so often with such strong words. She is treading upon the fabric of our nation by abusing her elected office, and, to me, that is unacceptable and unconscionable. When she discontinues to hold office, I will discontinue to write about her, till then, I am going to stay on her constantly and vociferously.

    Happy Voting

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