Mt. Juliet City Commission Follies – November 22, 2010

More details will be posted later, but from a variety of reports:

Mayor Linda Elam unilaterally removed Commissioner Ed Hagerty’s ordinance from the agenda. Her justification was that Roberts’ Rules does not allow the losing side to revive a motion for reconsideration, only the prevailing side. City Attorney Jason Holleman backed her up.

For Vice Mayor, there was a vote on Ted Floyd. He received two votes (his own and Linda Elam’s)
There was a vote on Ed Hagerty. He received two votes (Floyd & Maness – Hagerty abstained)
There was a vote on Jim Bradshaw. He received three votes (Floyd, Maness, and his own)
Jim Bradshaw was thus elected Vice-Mayor.

Mayor Elam then attempted to hold a vote to elect a new City Commission representative to the Planning Commission – a position currently held by Commissioner Ed Hagerty. Hagerty was first elected to represent the City Commission on the Planning Commission in 2000. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2008. Commissioner Hagerty pointed out that his term on the Planning Commission had not expired and that a vote was improper. Reportedly, Commissioner Hagerty had to read from the section of the City Charter which specifies the term of office for the City Commission’s representative to the Planning Commission. Mayor Elam and City Attorney Holleman’s response to this was the equivalent of “oops.”

James Maness was sworn in to the City Commission, replacing Will Sellers.

Jim Bradshaw was NOT sworn in to a new term – relying on Holleman’s advice that a commissioner’s term extends until his successor has been “elected and qualified.”

Holleman’s reading of the charter is quite selective, as it now also contains the following sentence:

No person may serve simultaneously as a commissioner or mayor and in an elected office within the county, state or federal government.

Jim Brashaw’s service on the commission since the adoption of the amendment by the voters of Mt. Juliet on Nov. 2 violates the City Charter. Any action of the Commission which depended on his vote is, arguably, null and void, including his election as vice-mayor.  See update below.

UPDATE: As pointed out by Sonny Griffin (Mt. Juliet entrepreneur extraordinaire), the Tennessee State Constitution states that an amendment to a Home Rule Charter “shall become effective sixty (60) days after approval by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon.” The amendment was approved on Nov 2, 2010 and thus becomes effective on Jan 1, 2011. If Mr. Bradshaw continues to serve as both county commissioner and city commissioner after that date, he will be in violation of the charter. If Linda Elam attempts to serve as both a state legislator and as Mayor after Jan 1, 2011, she will be in violation of the charter.

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22 Comments

Filed under City Charter, Mt. Juliet City Commission

22 responses to “Mt. Juliet City Commission Follies – November 22, 2010

  1. Just Curious

    Please correct me if I am wrong. So when the mayor steps down, Jim Bradshaw is the new mayor? Even if the courts tells him he has to serve only one office, I am pretty sure it will be as Mayor. Please tell me that I am wrong.

  2. There is a serious question as to whether the election for Vice-Mayor was properly conducted. Under the current city charter Jim Bradshaw is not eligible to serve and therefore should not be able to vote on matters before the city commission.

    The courts are going to have a number of issues to sort out.

    My prediction is that they will direct the City Commission to conduct another election for vice-mayor.

  3. citizen57

    I am not a citizen of Mt Juliet but have been following these recent events. I do so because I now have Linda Elam as a State Representative. She is certainly turning out to be exactly as I expected…self serving with disregard for those she represents.

  4. MJMom

    Ed,
    If there is another vote for Vice Mayor PLEASE!!!! vote for yourself. I applaud you for abstaining however for the good of Mt Juliet…. PLEASE!

  5. Ed,
    You do what is best for your family. If it is possible, I hope you will take MJMOM’s advice. Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    R.P.

  6. “I pray that there is not a life taking tragedy in the interim”. Linda Elam

    Such drama…Linda, it happens everyday and has for the entire past that YOU and anyone else that has tried to address, commitee , and STALL this issue. It is disgusting that you would use this to hold on to your self serving ego trip. You are no different from Bradshaw except on method. When you go, take Jim and Ted with you. I would rather see the empty chairs.

    Mr. Maness,
    To get you up speed, I would respectfully ask to you seek out and speak to the following…
    Dick Kasnick
    Dale Stewart
    Shawn Donovan
    Jamie Luffman
    Butch Huber
    Chris Allen
    These men have a plan. This group is made up of people who have lived here all their lives, done or are doing the job both here and elsewhere, and have extensive research specific to MJ and the fire issue. They do not seek for themselves. Their interest lies in providing proper care for my family, YOUR family, and the citizens of this city. Contact me here if you are interested.

  7. Doc Cider

    Happy Thanksgiving to all, including my City Commissioner/Vice-Mayor(?) in Legal Exile. As someone who cares about this city, I’m not enthused about this Vice-mayor choice. But as a fan of good comedy I’m absolutely delighted.

    The City Commission meeting was a travesty and clearly shows the mayor as someone who has no respect for laws or authority (except her own) or what is right. Someone should ask Bob Dedman how much time Linda Elam invested in trying to work with him on the fire issue. My guess- two phone calls in six years.

    Her ‘I am not a politician’ speech reminds me of Dick Nixon and the famous ‘I am not a crook’ speech. Although Nixon was a better President than Elam has been as mayor.

    Again Happy Thanksgiving to all. As this is Turkey Day, I would like to nominate the D1 and D4 commissioners and the mayor as ‘Turkeys of the Year’.

  8. Ditto Doc…good call. Hey, while you got Dedman on the line ask him what he did with all the extra $$$ from this end of the county. Back when the fire issue first needed attention before Providence, Paddocks, and all the growth we have now, ask him why his master plan was to have the county effort fall short and fail just to force MJ to act. Ask him why he has allowed the men/women out in the field to go for the last 7 years without so much as a cost of living wage increase…Yes, that is true…You can look it up. And finally, while you are at it, ask just what message he passed on to the new mayor about the issue and people involved. Those should be interesting answers. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    R.P.

    P.S. For a bonus, ask him what he was thinking when he put Mr. “Twenty minutes is better than not at all/some places you just can’t get to from here” in charge. Truth be told, he should be sitting here next to me in group heavily medicated–not in charge of essential emergency services.

  9. Just Curious

    I found it funny that in the same statement Linda Elam says that she is “not a politician” but then admits she has political advisors that give her advice.

  10. Sonny Griffin

    Article XI, Section 9 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee states that:

    A charter or amendment may be proposed by ordinance of any home rule municipality,by a charter commission provided for by act of the General Assembly and elected by the qualified voters of a home rule municipality voting thereon or, in the absence of such act of the General Assembly, by a charter commission of seven (7) members, chosen at large not more often than once in two (2) years, in a municipal election pursuant to petition for such election signed by qualified voters of a home rule municipality not less in number than ten (10%) percent of those voting in the then most recent general municipal election.

    It shall be the duty of the legislative body of such municipality to publish any
    proposal so made and to submit the same to its qualified voters at the first general state election which shall be held at least sixty (60) days after such publication and such proposal shall become effective sixty (60) days after approval by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon.

    Therefore, it seems clear to me (please correct me if I am wrong), that the effective date of the Mount Juliet Charter Amendment is sixty (60) days after it was approved by the voters of Mount Juliet.

    Therefore, the ordinance to obtain a legal opinion as to the effective date of the Amendment is redundant and should be rescinded.

  11. When in doubt, it always helps to read the original documents.

    Thanks Sonny!

  12. Southsider

    Sonny Griffin has just done for free what the six digit per year city attorney could not do – read the State Constitution.

    Perhaps a budget amendment to hire Sonny would make more sense than going to court.

  13. Butch Huber

    Oh, I love this part of the Constitutional Article listed above:

    “A charter or amendment may be proposed by ordinance of any home rule municipality,by a charter commission provided for by act of the General Assembly and elected by the qualified voters of a home rule municipality voting thereon”

    There is our answer. We need to become extremely vigilant regarding the matters at hand, chronicle the details of the deeds these people have been doing and are doing in this city, and petition the state government to provide for a Charter Commission in this city and then run in elections for positions on the Charter Commission. Rather than allowing the Board of Commissioners to appoint their cronies to the Charter Commission and allow them to have all the say in how this city is to be run, we can establish a charter commission that is beyond the city political spectrum. In other words, we can take it out of their hands altogether if we can get the state legislature to pass the act. I don’t know why they wouldn’t pass such an act and I can’t think of any reasons not to do this that the counterpoint wouldn’t be, “wouldn’t that be better than what we have?”

  14. Southsider

    I wonder if Jim Bradshaw has considered that his political career may end in two years now? Heres how:

    Elam comes to her senses and quits the commission in January, 2011 – Jim is sworn in as Mayor. The board then appoints his replacement (a resident of District 4) to fill out that term. The Mayor’s seat is up for electon in 2012 but that District 4 seat doesn’t come up again until 2014.

    Of course Jim will run for Mayor in 2012 but he has lost that race several times before. If he loses again he will not be able to run for the District 4 seat until 2014. He may then have to defeat the commissioner he voted to appoint in 2010.

    Also keep in mind that District 4 is changing. Jim only won re-election this time by a handfull of votes. It may be more difficult to win in 2014 when he is not the incumbent.

    This charter amendment could end Jim Bradshaw’s political career in less than two years.

  15. Old Blevins

    An interesting dynamic here. ‘SoFo’ (South of I-40) will continue to change with every house built in Providence. But the other dynamic is the reapportionment in the coming year. At the city level, what we may see in District 4 is more of ‘NoFo’ moving into District 3 as what is being built there is less dense than Providence. And the NoFo portion of D4 is hardly a Bradshaw stronghold. But as a non-incumbent he would have his work cut out for him getting back into office in any event.

    If Elam decides to stop embarrassing this city and the Republican Party and leaves the mayor’s chair in a timely manner Jim will be a better mayor by default. At least he’ll listen and tell the truth. That alone would be an improvement.

  16. Pop Korn

    He’d probably be more entertaining too. Other than farce, comedy is not Elam’s forte.

  17. Jim has quite a repertoire of mascot noises… Wait till he starts the pep rallies for Wilson Central

  18. butch huber

    I have been giving this a bit of thought.

    James Bradshaw is eligible for his newly elected office as a city commissioner. He was eligible at the same date and time that James Maness was sworn in. Since the city charter amendment does not take effect until sixty days after it was adopted by the voters, he was immediately eligible for his office. He was eligible, but they did not seat him. They instead extended his current term in office. Since he was serving in an extension of his current term in office his election to fill the office of vice mayor was effective for his extended office, but not for his newly elected office. Let me put it this way. Had for some reason there was somehow doubt about his race and they continued to allow Jim to serve in his prior office until the issue was resolved, and it was then determined that his opponent had won the election, the office of vice mayor would not convey to the newly elected person. The reasoning would be that the prior office held by James Bradshaw had expired and the office of Vice Mayor would be vacated. Along those same lines, because Jim is in an extension of his previous office, at the moment that he is sworn in to his new office his old office expires. At that instant in time there is no commissioner for his district. I will give you a parallel. In the military, when you reenlist, you are discharged from your current enlistment, which means you are a free man, and then you enter into your new enlistment. The same hold true for Jim’s office. He will have to vacate his old office before he can occupy it once again. When he vacates his old office he is no longer a commissioner, therefore, his office as vice mayor is instantaneously vacated as well. He cannot take back up the office of vice mayor without there having been another election on the commission to vote for vice mayor and only then can he take that office if he is reelected to it. In other words, because they didn’t seat him in his new office, his office of vice mayor cannot convey to his new office with him, there has to be another election for vice mayor! He doesn’t own that seat, the people do, and because he isn’t serving in his newly elected seat, all rights, responsibilities, and privileges of his current office, even though it is being extended, cease upon his swearing in as the “NEW” commissioner for his district. This hasn’t been a problem in the past because commissioners are elected for four years and vice mayors are elected for two year, and because nobody has been elected to vice mayor on an extended term this has never been dealt with. However, because of the gyrations of this city attorney, it has now become an issue. The city commission, had it had better legal advice, would have seated James Bradshaw at the same time it seated James Maness. In fact, I would submit to you that, because they didn’t seat him they are derelict in their duties as commissioners and they are thwarting the will of the voters. The Constitution clearly states that the charter amendment does not become effective until 60 days after the election. James Bradshaw would clearly be eligible for his office up until January 1, 2011. But then comes another problem. How can he take his oath of office as a newly elected commissioner? He cannot swear that he is eligible for the office when in sixty days he will be ineligible for the office as the term eligible means for the full term of the office and not just during the ensuing 60 days.

    Do you see how complicated they are making all of this by trying to hold on to two seats at the same time? Now, had he stepped down from the county commission prior to the date Maness was sworn in none of this would be an issue right now. But because he is so egotistical and power hungry he has made a total mess of things.

    Suffice to say, whenever Jim Bradshaw takes his seat as the newly elected commissioner of district one they need to hold another election for vice mayor in Mt. Juliet, and before he can take that office he has to take an oath of office and to do that he has to be eligible for the full duties of the position of mayor, which includes taking the position of mayor at any time that the mayor becomes disqualified or vacates her seat, and he cannot do that if that occurs after January 1, 2011 because he cannot be sworn into that office because he is a county commissioner. He is not eligible to be vice mayor while he is still serving as a county commissioner.

    I know that the commission won’t pay attention to this position, but I am quite certain that it will hold up in court. The easiest way to look at this is to think about it this way. When James Bradshaw takes his newly elected seat on the city commission he is the “new commissioner of his district”. This isn’t an extension of his old office, it is a new office and he is the new commissioner and therefore any duties or elected positions that he has on the board of commissioners expires with his old office. How can anyone argue with that logic?

  19. Doc Cider

    The District 1 seat is held by Ted ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ Floyd. Jim is the D4 Commissioner.

    If Linda ‘Not a Politician’ Elam left office BEFORE January 1 (not likely) Jim would at least temporarily become Mayor. The appointed seat would be in District 4 and I don’t see a Bradshaw supporter taking that chair. With Elam gone, Floyd lacking credibility, and the D4 person being new, this could be another wacky parliamentary dance. If another election is held, Bradshaw will nominate himself and Ed will be nominated. Then hopefully Ed will go ahead and vote for himself.

  20. Butch Huber

    In the meeting on Monday I pointed out to the commission that they elected Jim Bradshaw to be vice mayor during the extension of his 2006-2010 term. He could not be elected vice mayor for his 2010-2014 term because he had to be sworn in for that term in order to be elected vice mayor for that term. Because he hadn’t been sworn in for that term the position of vice mayor for which he was elected necessarily must have been the 2006-2010 term. Because he was voted in as vice mayor of the 2006-2o10 term, when he was sworn in as Commissioner of District Four on monday night, his term as Vice Mayor automatically expired.

    I don’t think they fully understood the ramifications of what they have done. You see, the city has no vice mayor. If the mayor were to step down from office right now, today, there is no vice mayor to fulfill the remainder of her term of office. Who would be the mayor? How would they fill her position? What provisions would they use to replace the mayor? Hmmmm…..

    Jim Bradshaw cannot be seated as mayor, because he isn’t vice mayor. His term as vice mayor terminated, expired, and ceased last night. I do not think that there is any provision whatsoever to allow him to serve in a carry-over capacity as vice mayor. They can’t say, “well, he was the last vice mayor so we will let him be mayor”.

    The city attorney didn’t read the state constitution, Sonny Griffin read it for him. The city attorney didn’t realize that James Bradshaw’s term as vice mayor expired last night when he was sworn in, I had to tell him. This isn’t the first time we citizens have had to set the city attorney straight on the law, I wonder what he does for his six figure salary?

    More to come…..

  21. Old Blevins

    What does he do for his six figure salary? Whatever Linda Elam tells him to do.

  22. Glen Linthicum

    *SNAP* you beat me to it Old Blevins!

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