Category Archives: Public Records

City faces public records requests over sign ordinance enforcement

The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet has filed a public records request for the number of signs confiscated and the number of citations issued under the newly amended sign ordinance.

Realtor Monica Doll has filed a public records request for documentation on all citations for violations of the sign ordinance issued over the past 24 months.

Realtor Bob Sorey, chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Eastern Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors (EMTAR), has filed an open records request for the number of signs confiscated and the number of citations issued under the newly amended sign ordinance.

The issue is the City’s admission that it is issuing citations to realtors who place signs in the public right-of-way, but is not issuing citations to citizens who place yard sign or similar signs in the public right-of-way.

The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet has the full story.



Filed under Public Records, Sign Ordinance

Public Records Karma

The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet has it as their lead website story:

‘Smyrna Nine’ hire attorney, demand answers

The Mt. Juliet News has it featured prominently as well:

City employees back from trip to Smyrna to ask about Sorey investigation; filed open records requests

Seems that City Manager Randy Robertson and six Mt. Juliet employees paid a visit to the Smyrna Airport Authority on Monday seeking answers… and public records. Mr. Robertson and the rest of the Smyrna Nine appear frustrated that their public records requests have taken so long to be fulfilled – and that some things they have requested have yet to be produced.

We are sympathetic. We know how frustrating it can be when public officials ignore requests for public records. And we agree that it is outrageous when a public official withholds documents that are clearly public records.

This is quite entertaining.


Filed under Public Records

Franklin’s termination letters removed from file, replaced with resignation letter

so runs a headline from a story on the Mt. Juliet News website (registration required, but it’s free).

Here’s a .pdf scan of the agreement.

Here’s the text of the agreement:

1. The claims against Sheila Luckett & Linda Elam will be dismissed with full prejudice.

2. TML will pay $85,000 to settle the case; The claims adjuster will use best efforst to obtain this authority. It is anticipated that this will be paid with $6,000 in discretionary costs as well.

3. City Manager Randy Robertson, City Attorney Jason Holleman & Lane Moore, atty will use their best efforts to obtain a payment of $75,000 from the Mt. Juliet City Commission. Upon payment of these sums in #2 & #3 and the other conditions, a dismissal w/ full prejudice will given to the city.

4. The two termination letters will be removed from Bobby Franklin’s personnnel file and a letter of resignation effective 7-13-07 will be substituted. Upon request, city personnel will advise that Bobby Franklin voluntarily resigned.

5. Bobby Franklin will not disparage Sheila Luckett & Linda Elam & Linda Elam & Sheila Luckett will not disparage Bobby Franklin with respect to the issues in this case, or the city administration to the date of the dismissal of this case.

6. If these monies are not paid within 10 days after the commission approval, the case will be reinstated and proceed with the current scheduling order.

Jack B. Hays, TML

Jason Holleman, City

Linda C. Elam

Sheila Luckett (by her atty)

Bobby Franklin


Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission, Public Records

Mt. Juliet’s City Manager and City Attorney and Police Chief

Were all spotted at a hearing of the Advisory Committee on Open Government last Friday, September 5th, 2008. The topic of the hearing? The new Public Records law passed by the legislature this year – and how much local governments should be allowed to charge citizens who have the temerity to request Open Records.

The City Manager doesn’t look like he’s having a very good time.

– Publius


Filed under Open Records, Public Records

Will Sellers and The Chronicle – What did the Commissioner say, and when did he say it?

On the cover of the July 30th Chronicle, there was a prominent quote from D2 Commissioner Will Sellers – “They’ve got reason to worry.”

At the August 11th meeting of the City Commission, Commissioner Sellers approached the editor of The Chronicle, Tomi Wiley, and demanded a front-page retraction, claiming he never said that.

Wiley had her notes from the meeting and told Sellers he had said it.

Unable to get satisfaction directly from the editor, Sellers took the matter up again, a few moments later during the televised City Commission meeting – repeating his demand for a retraction and an apology. He said he had reviewed the “instant replay” of the City Commission meeting and “I didn’t say that.”

Wiley requested a DVD of the meeting (for which the City charged her $10). When Wiley got the DVD, it included a note which said that the video recorder had turned off during the taping of that particular meeting and the recording was in two parts. The part that was missing? The report from the City Manager and the Police Chief on the fire code problems in Providence residences.

Thankfully, Tomi was able to find a citizen who had recorded the entire meeting at home. The audio portion of that recording has now been uploaded to YouTube. The link below starts with Commissioner Sellers’ rant demanding a retraction. At the end of the rant, the recording plays Sellers’ comments from the July 28th meeting, where he is clearly heard saying, “They’ve got reason to be worried.”

We have three observations.

1. Will Sellers owes Tomi Wiley a public apology. In keeping with his own standards of fair play, this should come during his Commissioner’s report at the next City Commission meeting. A letter to the Chronicle would also be a nice touch.

Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased tape recordings

Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased tape recordings

2. It is extremely suspicious that ONLY this portion of the meeting failed to be recorded. Does anybody remember, Rose Mary Woods, and the infamous 18-minute gap from the Watergate tapes? She was Richard Nixon’s secretary and accidentally “erased” a long section of a key recording.

3. Since the recording happened on July 28th, the statute of limitations on filing an ethics complaint about possible misdeeds by the Mayor, the City Manager, the D2 Commissioner, and any other city employee who might be involved runs out next week. But unless you witnessed anything first-hand, don’t bother. Your complaint will be dismissed under the City Commission’s ridiculous Ethics Code anyway.

– Publius


Filed under ethics, Fire Protection, Public Records

Headlines from the Mt. Juliet News, July 30, 2008

Is your home safe?
Some MJ homes built without proper firewalls

[a report on the press conference called by the city in advance of the Channel 5 news story]

Auto emissions testing comes to MJ
[mobile testing center will set up at Mundy Park the last week of each month]

Safer passage for all
City to receive $2M grant for Curd Road L Connector
Ribbon cutting celebrates installation of traffic light at Benders Ferry/Lebanon Road

[good news. Pssst: the new high school opens tomorrow]

Bradsahw makes bid for MJ mayor
“I listen to people. That’s why I’ve been elected four times.”
[Still no word from Mayor Elam on whether she intends to run for a second term.]

Mt. Juliet News wins seven awards
[to which RFMJ says, “Congratulations”]

Mt. Juliet finance director resigns
[Mayor Elam says “she did not want to spend her days dealing with irresponsible individuals asking her for tons of information and at times accusing her of incompetence.” Mayor, there’s a simple solution. If the budget had been posted on the city’s website, the finance director wouldn’t have had to spend ANY time providing “tons of information.” As to accusations of incompetence, how would you characterize a budget where the columns of numbers didn’t add up to the published totals?]

Commission’s decision for in-city retreat correct move
[there’s another “retreat” scheduled for August 8-9, at Tennessee Sports Medicine. By law, it must be open to the public and a videotape record must be made.]

– Publius


Filed under Open Meetings Law, Public Records

Ground Rules

Before the campaign season begins in earnest, we believe it is important to remind everyone of the ground rules for this site.

The purpose of RFMJ has not changed. It is to provide information to the citizens of Mt. Juliet. The City’s website provides only limited access to much of the important information about the government of Mt. Juliet. Many citizens will find it inconvenient and perhaps a bit intimidating to make a personal visit to city hall and a personal request for public documents.

This site does allow citizen comments – without a three minute limit. BUT, the “ground rules” are that posts should be focused on issues and facts. We’ve been perhaps a bit too lax in allowing posts which veered off into personal attacks. What readers cannot see, of course, are the dozens of posts which have been submitted, but not approved, because they were nothing but personal attacks. We’re going to be taking a closer look at all submitted posts.

So, a reminder, please keep your posts focused on the issues and on the facts.

The character of candidates and elected officials is a relevant topic, to the extent that it has a direct bearing on the way in which city business is being conducted.

The character of private citizens (whether they post here or not) is NOT a relevant topic.

The webmasters reserve the right (as they always have) to NOT approve posts, or to edit posts which do not adhere to the ground rules.

You are now free to resume browsing…

– Publius

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Filed under Public Records