Category Archives: Open Records

Who “cancelled” the City Commission meeting?

At 6:56pm on Sunday, February 27th, the City of Mt. Juliet’s Nixle account was used to send the following message:

The regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners meeting of Monday, 28 February 2011 at 6:30 p.m. has been moved to the next regularly scheduled meeting date of Monday, 14 March 2011. There will still be a public hearing at 6:15pm on 28 February, allowing the public to address issues that would have received their second reading from the BoC at that meeting.

This action by someone at the city (Mayor Linda Elam? City Manager Randy Robertson?) raises a host of questions.

The most important question, of course, is “WHO cancelled the City Commission meeting, and on what authority?” The Mayor (Linda Elam) has NO authority to cancel a regularly scheduled meeting. The City Manager (Randy Robertson) has NO authority to cancel a regularly scheduled meeting. The City Commissioners, meeting as a body, may vote to postpone a meeting, but there is no record of their having done so. If they met privately, or were even polled informally, such an action would violate the Tennessee Open Meetings Act (aka the Sunshine Law).

Legally, the meeting is still scheduled. If Mayor Elam cannot attend, that is no reason to cancel the meeting. The City has a properly elected Vice Mayor who is designated by the City Charter to chair the meeting in the Mayor’s absence.

The citizens should insist, nay – demand, that the Commissioners meet at their regularly scheduled time and transact such business as is properly before it. We urge Vice Mayor Ed Hagerty and Commissioners Floyd, Maness, and Bradshaw to meet at their regularly scheduled time on Feb 28.

WHO cancelled the meeting, and on what authority?

Could it have anything to do with this?

Tennessee General Assembly –
House Schedule for Monday, February 28, 2011

WHO cancelled the meeting, and on what authority?

Adding insult to injury, there is no agenda for the meeting posted on the city website, nor are there any copies of Commissioner Packets with the text of ordinances to be considered posted either. Such contempt for the law and the citizens is deplorable.


17 Comments

Filed under City Charter, Mt. Juliet City Commission, Open Meetings Law, Open Records

The sad decline of the City of Mt. Juliet’s web site

[while we are waiting for eyewitness and online reports from the Jan 10, 2011 City Commission meeting]

Once upon a time, the City of Mt. Juliet had an actively updated, current web site  – http://www.cityofmtjuliet.org

That time is no more.

The BEST way for any government body to be transparent and open about its actions is to make access to its agendas, meeting items, and minutes easy for citizens. An internet website is the fastest, most convenient way for the government to make documents public and for citizens to access them.

The City of Mt. Juliet has all the necessary framework required to keep the citizens informed and to make information available.

Sadly, what appears to be lacking is any willingness or commitment to serving the citizens.

The City website has a Online Documents section, with a folder devoted to Agendas – Minutes – Packets. There is evidence from prior years that someone used to know how to use the Online Documents section, but the evidence would suggest that the city abandoned the practice of updating its Online Documents section sometime in 2010.

  • City Commission Agendas – no agendas posted after August of 2010, until the agenda for the first meeting of Jan-2011 appears, a gap 3 months with no documents.
  • Board of Commissioner Packets – Last packet posted was for the Nov 22, 2010 meeting. No packet for the December meeting ever posted. As of Jan 10th, 2011 no packet for Jan 10th,2011 meeting has been posted.
  • City Commission Minutes – the last set of Minutes posted is for April 17 of 2010. As of Jan-2011, there are eight months of missing minutes.
  • Ordinances and Resolutions – There are NO ordinances posted. There are resolutions posted through August of 2008 – nothing after that. There is a link to Municode which has a codified version of the City Code updated through April 26,2010. After that there is a single link to a single piece of legislation enacted since April 26, 2010 – ironically enough, it is the ordinance which approved the amendment to the city charter banning simultaneous holding of elected offices.

From its online treatment of ordinances, you might conclude that from April of 2010 till January of 2011, the City had enacted only two ordinances. There are no minutes to record what has happened online. There are missing commissioner packets that might show what was proposed. There is only the one ordinance from August on Municode and the 2010-2011 budget uploaded by the City’s Finance Director.

This is an “F” performance by government at any level. It is particularly embarrassing for a prominent, well-to-do suburb with a population of 30,000+. It’s not as though they have lacked the resources or the ability to do this. The website provides stark evidence that Agendas, Packets, & Minutes have been posted in the past.

The lack of attention to transparency betrays a contempt for local citizens which is reprehensible.

10 Comments

Filed under City Charter, Mt. Juliet City Commission, Open Records

New index to City Ordinances available on Radio Free Mt. Juliet

In 2007, for reasons unknown, the City of Mt. Juliet took down its online archive of city Ordinances, Resolutions, and Minutes. In 2008, the scanned Ordinances and Resolutions (but not the Minutes) reappeared, now hosted on www.egovlink.com. But they were practically unusable without any index indicating the captions/subject matter. There are approximately 1500 ordinances in all.

As a public service, Radio Free Mt. Juliet has reconstructed the index to all the ordinances. It can be accessed by clicking on the word Ordinances in the page list at the top. Or by using the URL: https://radiofreemj.wordpress.com/ordinances.

Radio Free Mt. Juliet – doing the job that City employees can’t (or won’t) do.

7 Comments

Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission, Open Records

City of Mt. Juliet keeping citizens in the dark

There are four basic categories of information related to city commission meetings that ALL city governments have an obligation to keep up to date and readily available to citizens:

  • Agendas
  • Full-text of Agenda Items (sometimes called “Commissioner Packets”)
  • Minutes of previous meetings
  • Video of previous meetings

The City Commission of Mt. Juliet will meet tonight, February 23rd, 2009.

The Agenda for tonight’s meeting is available online. The .pdf of the agenda was created at 5:11 pm on 2/20/09 – or Friday afternoon, after the close of business.

The Agenda Items for tonight’s meeting are NOT available online.

The Minutes for previous meetings are NOT available online. In fact, there are no copies of the minutes for ANY previous Commission meetings available online.

The Video for the previous City Commission meeting (2/9/2009) is NOT available online. Videos of the two January meetings are online.

Is one out of four a passing grade?

7 Comments

Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission, Open Records

All these Public Records Requests are upsetting the Colonel

3 Comments

Filed under Open Records

The City of Mt. Juliet really doesn’t want citizens to request public records

Several months ago, in July, Butch Huber (aka Citizen Butch) made a request to the City of Mt. Juliet for the public records related to the city’s employee health insurance contracts.

Citizen Butch wanted to review the proposals that the City had received and read the correspondence (email and written) between the City and insurance agents and providers in April, May, & June of 2008.

What followed is a tortured saga that will make you laugh in some places, and want to scream in others.

The saga has gone on for some time, so the account is necessarily lengthy.

But it’s a story worth reading.

And it raises the question, “What is it the City, or more specifically, the City Manager, doesn’t want the citizens to read?”

There’s a permanent page devoted to this here at RFMJ. Click here, or click on Open Records2 in the menu bar at the top of the page.

– Publius

Leave a comment

Filed under Open Records

New Permanent Pages

The persistent refusal of the City of Mt. Juliet to abide by the Tennessee Open Records law as well as the City Commission’s blithe persistence in refusing to deal with their laughable “ethics” code have both been commented on at Radio Free Mt. Juliet.

Both issues are important enough to merit their own permanent reference pages, so they have been added into the menu bar at the top of the site.

Ethics2 contains information about the Commissions “ethics” code.

Open Records contains information about the hostility of the Commission and City Manager to Open Records requests.

– Publius

4 Comments

Filed under ethics, Open Records