Category Archives: ethics

Rep. Elam & Mayor Elam once again have conflicting responsibilities

Here we go again.

The Mt. Juliet City Commission is scheduled to meet on Monday, March 14th at 6:30pm (Public Hearing at 6:00pm). Agenda is here.

The Tennessee House of Representatives is scheduled to meet on Monday, March 14th at 5:00pm. Schedule (and link to floor calendar) is here.

But wait. It gets worse. Governor Haslam is scheduled to give his State of the State Address to a joint conference of the Tennessee General Assembly at 6:00pm. And this has been known for over a month.

Mayor Elam had to request a rescheduling of the February 14th meeting of the Commission “due to a conflict.” The Commission met on Tuesday, Feb 15th. Here’s a tip as to why: Once the session begins, the Tennessee House meets EVERY Monday evening at 5:00pm. Mayor Elam has known for months that she would face these conflicts.

The regularly scheduled meeting for February 28th was “cancelled.”

There’s a major conflict looming for March 14th.

Prediction: March 28th won’t be any better for Mayor Elam.

And remember: She forced the City of Mt. Juliet to spend over $26,000 finding a loophole so she could continue to serve as Mayor (and draw her paycheck every month) after she was sworn in as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

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

Complaints filed by Linda Elam & Jim Bradshaw

At 9:05 yesterday morning (Jan 11, 2011), attorneys for Mayor Linda Elam (paid for by the City of Mt. Juliet) filed a complaint against the City of Mt. Juliet.  The Action in Chancery Court in Lebanon is styled:

Mayor Linda Elam, Plaintiff, v. City of Mt. Juliet, Defendant.

It appears that the City of Mt. Juliet has paid for the filing of two lawsuits  against itself in the name of and for the benefit of Linda Elam and Jim Bradshaw.

Mayor Elam has the audacity to state in her complaint that she has filed her suit against the City “at the instruction and directive of the Board.”

It is both a conflict of interest and a misuse of public funds.

They should both be ashamed.

Here are links to copies of the relevant documents:

Linda Elam v. City of Mt. Juliet Complaint

Brief of the Defendant, City of Mt. Juliet

Linda Elam’s Motion for Judgment on the Stipulated Facts

Linda Elam’s Memorandum in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Stipulated Facts

Links for the Documents in re Bradshaw v. City of Mt. Juliet will follow shortly

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

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

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

siren

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

Depositions postponed in former City Planner’s lawsuit – City withholding emails

Both the Mt. Juliet News and The Chronicle carried stories this week reporting that depositions in the federal lawsuit filed by former City Planner Bobby Franklin had been postponed.

The depositions had been scheduled to begin this week, but the City has refused to turn over to Franklin’s attorney several hundred emails which have been requested. The emails were exchanged between Mayor Linda Elam, City Commissioners, and then-City Attorney Paula Flowers. The City is asserting “attorney-client” privilege and refusing to turn copies of the emails over to Franklin’s attorney.

Franklin’s suit charges that his termination by acting City Manager Sheila Luckett was in retaliation for his testimony in the investigation of the ethics complaint filed by former Public Works Director Hatton Wright.

The suit seeks monetary damages from the City as well as from Luckett and Elam personally.

Franklin’s attorney, Doug Janney, said that he is unwilling to proceed with the depositions until the City supplies copies of the emails. Janney said he intends to request that the federal courts order the City to turn copies of the emails over.

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Filed under ethics

Linda Elam: pot, kettle, black, & glass houses

Linda Elam did another mailing to Mt. Juliet voters last week. The point of this one was to directly attack Wendell Marlowe’s record.

Here’s the relevant section of the postcard mailing:

Point Number One: If you’re going to attack one of your opponents, it’s really not smart to misspell his name. Marlowe spells his first name “Wendell,” not “Wendall.”

Point Number Two: Something about a pot, a kettle, and the color black comes to mind. Also something about glass houses.

Mayor’s Elam’s flyer includes the question, “How can he be mayor if he can’t even follow the most basic laws?”

An excellent question! And it should be asked of Mayor Elam as well. It was just a little over a year ago that Mayor Elam was charged with four violations of the city’s ethics codes and censured by the City Commission.

One of the curious defenses mounted by Mayor Elam’s the City Attorney was that Mayor Elam could not have violated the City’s ethics code in August of 2006, because the ethics code wasn’t adopted until September of 2006. The audacity of pretending that Mayor Elam had no obligation to be ethical before the passage of the ethics code is breath-taking.

Mayor Elam’s The City Attorney seems to have overlooked the fact that the State of Tennessee, for many years, has had a number of ethics provisions that apply to all elected officials. It’s kind of funny, but the long-standing state ethics provisions for elected officials are actually referenced and summarized on the first page of the MTAS drafted ethics code which was originally adopted by the City of Mt. Juliet, along with the overwhelming majority of the 350 cities in Tennessee.

Here’s what the MTAS ethics code says (on the first page):

1State statutes dictate many of the ethics provisions that apply to municipal officials and employees. For provisions relative to the following, see the Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) sections indicated:

Campaign finance—T.C.A. Title 2, Chapter 10.

Conflict of interests—T.C.A. §§ 6-54-107, 108; 12-4-101, 102.

Conflict of interests disclosure statements—T.C.A. § 8-50-501 and the following sections.

Consulting fee prohibition for elected municipal officials—T.C.A. §§ 2-10-122, 124.

Crimes involving public officials (bribery, soliciting unlawful compensation, buying and selling in regard to office)—T.C.A. § 39-16-101 and the following sections.

Crimes of official misconduct, official oppression, misuse of official information—T.C.A. § 39-16-401 and the following sections.

Ouster law—T.C.A. § 8-47-101 and the following sections.

A brief synopsis of each of these laws appears in the appendix of the municipal code.

See here for a more detailed analysis of the ethics complaints filed against Mayor Linda Elam.

– Publius

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Developers have picked their candidate in the Mt. Juliet Mayor’s race

Wendell Marlowe has raised by far the most money – $10,725. More than the other three candidates combined. And most of the money has come from realtors and developers.

Two questionable business contributions are to be found in Marlowe’s Financial Disclosure form.

One is from Summit Realty Group in Mt. Juliet, which the TN Secretary of State lists as an LLC. There is an attorney general’s opinion from 1998 which opines that the state prohibition on corporate campaign contributions does not apply to LLCs. It is unclear if the issue has ever been tested in the courts.

Browse through Candidate Marlowe’s financial disclosure form here.

And here’s a summary of Marlowe’s contributors ranked by amount.

To review all of the candidates’ financial disclosure forms, go to our Campaign Finance page.

– Publius

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