Ethics1

Public Works Director Hatton Wright’s Ethics Complaint against Mayor Linda Elam

In April of 2007, Mayor Linda Elam was charged with violating the City of Mt. Juliet’s code of ethics by Public Works Director Hatton Wright. One of the charges made by Mr. Wright was that the Mayor had violated the city’s personnel rules when she discussed a sexual harassment complaint at the end of the City Commission meeting on Monday, April 9th (video clip here and below).

When the Mayor learned of the complaint, on Sunday April 15th, she immediately called for a special meeting of the City Commission for the following day – apparently believing she had the votes to have the complaint dismissed. At that called special meeting on Monday, April 16th, the City Commission (much to the Mayor’s surprise) determined that the complaint had enough merit to warrant further investigation and appointed City Attorney Paula Flowers to investigate.

Over the course of two weeks, Ms. Flowers interviewed seven witnesses and then submitted a written report to the City Commission. The result of all this activity were a substantial amount of time at three City Commission meetings (4/16, 5/7, & 5/14) and the creation of lots of public documents (see below for links to them).

After the special meeting on 5/7, a source at City Hall said over 50 copies of a CD with the full witness interviews were requested (by commissioners and members of the community). Curiously, there are also recent reports that citizens have not been able to get the documents upon request. Which underscores one of the useful functions of the internet.

Below are links to many of the relevant documents. If anyone knows of more, please send them in an email to p.v.publicola@gmail.com.

City Commission Meeting, 4/09/2007 (last 10 minutes), Mayor Elam attacks City Manager Shearer and Public Works Director Wright.

Lebanon Democrat, 4-10-2007
Mt. Juliet News article, 4-11-2007

Hatton Wright ethics complaint, 4-13-2007

City Commission Special Meeting, 4/16/2007

part 1, part 2, part 3 Statement by Dean Robinson, part 4
five minute recess
part 5, part 6 (Vice Mayor Hagerty asks for an independent investigator, about one minute in), part 7

Interviews
Hatton Wright, Public Works Director 4-19-2007
Shannon Joyner, Assistant PW Director, 4-19-2007
Marlin Keel, City Engineer, 4-19-2007
Rob Shearer, City Manager, 4-20-2007
Debbie Moss, Zoning Administrator, 4-20-2007
Bobbie Franklin, City Planner, 4-20-2007
Linda Elam, Mayor, 4-25-2007
Affidavit of Louis Oliver, Planning Attorney, 5-3-2007

Report of City Attorney Paula Flowers on investigation, 5-7-2007

Take the time to read all the way through Mayor Elam’s statement and you’ll notice that she’s sending email to the City Manager, suggesting changes in the way the City does inspections on development projects using the email account of her employer, Commercial Realty Services.

In the City Attorney’s report, she mentions that Linda Elam has provided an affidavit to the effect that she is no longer an employee of CRS, but is now a “contract employee.” This is what passes among lawyers as a way to resolve a conflict of interest! No, I’m no longer an employee. Yes they’re still paying me, and I’m still working on their behalf, but I’m no longer an employee. Voila! No conflict of interest here!

And although Mayor Elam gave the City Attorney an affidavit in April stating that she was no longer an employee of Commercial Realty Services, as late as July 15, 2007, she was still listed on their website with her own CRS email account. (The contact page has since been wiped clean!)

City Commission Special Meeting, 5/7/2007
City Commission voted to defer taking action for one week

part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 The City Attorney presents her report
five minute recess
part 6, part 7part 8, part 9 Debate on Report and Citizen Comments

City Commission Regular Meeting, 5/14/2007
City Commission eventually voted 3-1 to censure Mayor Elam
We start with Citizen Comments: part 1, part 2 & part 3
(commissioner’s reports omitted – none of them said anything about the ethics complaint. The meeting then moved on to resume ‘old business.’)
part 4 (citizen comments by Huber, Mack, & Wolentarski)
part 5 & part 6 (citizen comments and statement by Mayor Linda Elam)
part 7 (statement by Vice Mayor Ed Hagerty)
part 8 & part 9 (questions and statement by D2 Commissioner Ray Justice)
part 10 (Commissioner Justice makes motion to admonish Mayor Elam)
part 11 (Mayor Elam responds and attacks the City Planner)

at 4:28 into the part 11 video, D4 Commissioner Jim Bradshaw makes a motion to suspend the rules to allow the City Planner to respond to the Mayor’s attack. The Mayor declares that this will take a 4/5th vote. The vote is 3-1 to suspend the rules with the Mayor abstaining. She announces that the motion to suspend the rules had failed. She was wrong. First, it takes a 2/3rd vote to suspend the rules according to Robert’s Rules of Order. Second, only those casting votes (excluding abstentions) are used to calculate the fraction. The Mayor’s ruling was wrong and the will of a 2/3rd majority was obstructed. The City Planner should have been allowed to speak.

Pay particular attention to City Attorney Paula Flowers, as she leaps into action to correct the Mayor’s erroneous ruling. Pretty stunning work for $200/hour. Didja see it?

Moving on, D1 Commissioner Justice and Vice Mayor Hagerty then defend the City Planner.

part 12 (debate concludes, final vote is 3-1 to censure Mayor Elam)

Chronicle of Mt. Juliet, 5-30-2007
Vice Mayor Ed Hagerty defends decision to censure Mayor Elam

Background

City of Mt. Juliet Code of Ethics, adopted September 25, 2006

City of Mt. Juliet Policy on Sexual Harassment (from Personnel Manual)

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29 responses to “Ethics1

  1. Butch Huber

    Folks, I can’t encourage you enough to go to Youtube and review the Mt. Juliet Commission meeting held on 06/25/07 Ethics complaint. I included a copy to the link above, I hope it works. If not, I am sure you can find it if you type in Mayor Elam in the search bar.

    This was an ethics complaint brought against the mayor by former Mayor Kevin Mack. Please listen to Kevin’s statement in that meeting very carefully. I will tell you that I received a phone call from John Reitz a few months back during which he stated that Kevin Mack was right on track with what he stated in his complaint. John Reitz later called me and stated that not only did Linda “encourage” his wife to write that complaint against Hatton Wright, but that she told them “what” to write in her complaint. I would gladly testify to this statement in a court of law and I would gladly take a lie detector test to verify that I am not lying to you.

    Mayor Elam stated in a commission meeting that she “encouraged” Cathy Reitz to file a complaint against Hatton Wright. During this proceeding you will notice that Vice Mayor Hagerty asked the Mayor to see a stack of papers that she had in her possession. The mayor stated that is she was going to share it with him – she was going to read them. The stack of papers in question here is the original six page writing authored by Mrs. Cathy Reitz through which she outlined her concerns regarding the working conditions she was encountering in the Public Works Department. The Vice Mayor indicated that he didn’t want her to read the writing, that he just wanted to see them. Linda stated that she might read them anyway. Vice Mayor asked once again to see the papers and Mayor Elam said “no”. These six pages of paper are the central issue on this whole matter and the mayor refused to let the vice mayor see them before he voted on whether Kevin’s complaint had merit, did not have merit, or had sufficient evidence to warrant further investigation.

    The mayor made several procedural errors in this meeting. First of all, the ethics complaint was on the agenda as a discussion item, not a resolution or an ordinance. The commission is not allowed to vote on a discussion item. Items like this are placed on the agenda as a discussion item so that the commission has a chance to “discuss” them. If they were to vote on such a matter it is supposed to be in the agenda as an ordinance or a resolution so that the public can have proper notice. Discussion items have no authority, but resolutions and ordinances do have authority….they are binding. We, the public, were not properly notified that there was going to be a vote on this matter, therefore, the vote was illegal and is invalid. I believe there is a possibility that even under the law and even under the new ethics ordinance that this complaint is still an active and pending complaint. It was never properly voted upon. The vote to dismiss it was improper and invalid.

    Ray Justice questioned the appropriateness of voting on a discussion item several times during the commission meeting, to which the Mayor said “you have voted on a discussion item before”, and to which the “attorney present at that meeting did not address”. It is inappropriate for them to vote on the matter until it is a resolution or and ordinance. Then, later in the meeting, Ray Justice motioned to defer the vote and received a second. Mayor Elam didn’t take a vote on the motion, but rather asked if there was a consensus among three members of the board to defer, which is not a vote, but rather a query. This was a procedural error and it was intentional. Then, she quickly asked Commissioner Sellers if there was any thing he would like to motion, to which he stated that he motioned to find that the complaint had no merit. Then Linda looked at Jim and asked him if he would like to second that motion, Jim seconded the motion. Her action here was inappropriate for two reasons. One, she took Will Seller’s motion out of turn. She legally had to put Justice’s motion to a vote, and if his motion did not pass, then she could allow the second motion. Secondly, she should not have singled out Will Sellers the way that she did. I believe that this complaint was already dead before it even got to the commission meeting. Then she certainly shouldn’t have asked Jim if he wanted to second the motion. This is the only time I have ever seen such an action in any commission meeting. In every other commission meeting I have ever seen, a motion is made, the Mayor asks if there is a second to the motion (if a second doesn’t come immediately), and then there is discussion, and then the vote is taken.

    Go back and look at the first meeting where the complaint against the mayor was brought forward in a commission meeting. The mayor is ranting about how she hasn’t encouraged or discouraged the commission on how to vote, that there is nothing to what was brought against her, and that she called the special meeting to get everything out in the open. She abstained from the vote on whether or not to investigate her in this meeting, as she should have, but in the 06/25/07 meeting she voted to dismiss the complaint against her on the grounds that it had no merit. Did she realize that without her vote they would have to either investigate or defer and was she afraid of what would come out if there was an investigation into the complaint brought against her by Kevin? I believe, based on my conversations with John Reitz, and based on the mayor’s own testimony that she “encouraged” Cathy Reitz to file her complaint (which is not what the city attorney had advised the mayor to do, the city attorney advised the mayor to direct Cathy Reitz to the personnel policy manual and to the appropriate person to handle her complaint.) Remember, the mayor stated in a meeting that she “encouraged” Cathy Reitz to file her complaint. John Reitz also stated that the Mayor placed an urgency on getting the complaint filed by a certain date and that it wasn’t until it later came out about the timing of the Dempsey case that they realized why all the urgency.

    Please observe the proceeding and then remember this as you vote. Mayor Elam abuses her power and authority and there is ample evidence of it right here in this one little video if you know what to look for and where to find it. Please watch all of the proceedings that you can find on Youtube, because if you do, you will find many such instances of abuse on her part.

  2. Pingback: Linda Elam: pot, kettle, black, & glass houses « Radio Free Mt. Juliet

  3. Butch Huber

    The chronicle today stated that Mayor Linda Elam, Vice Mayor Will Sellers, the Board of Commissioners, Randy Robertson and six other city employees have filed a complaint with the County against District 2 County Commissioner Chris Sorey. Is this precedent setting?

    A collective complaint requires collaboration between the several parties, Right? How did they do that without violating the state sunshine laws?
    If they were to all file separate complaints it would be one thing, but for the board of commissioners to file a joint complaint, they would have to pass a resolution directing the city manager to file the complaint, wouldn’t they? Perhaps there is some way they could do this without violation the law, but I don’t know what that way would be.

    Isn’t it ironic that the Board of Commissioners, including the Mayor and Vice Mayor are using the very instrument that they have done everything they can to restrict us, the citizens of this city, from using?

    What Chris Sorey did was “personal”; in that he violated people on a “personal” level. He should be dealt with appropriately. Are the actions these city leaders the appropriate actions? I’m not so sure they are, and I am not convinced that they aren’t. I am a little baffled by this one. I want the city to stand up for the employees when they need help, and since their files were looked into because of their association with the city, perhaps the city needs to help protect them. I can see that as being “justified”. However, it is also clear that the city leaders are using this as a means of getting back at Sorey as well, and that is inappropriate. Perhaps, in this particular case, it would have been wiser for them to deal with this on an individual basis. They could well be dragging this city into yet another lawsuit if they aren’t careful.

    Perhaps this whole thing will make it easier for them to repeal the newest version of the ethics ordinance and replace it with the original version developed by MTAS.

    I just can’t keep the word “hypocrites” out of my mind for some reason.

  4. Madi

    Mr. Huber
    My neighbor went into the city building to pay a ticket recently and heard Mr Robertson on the speaker asking all employee’s to come forward who where contacted by the Rutherford Airport Authority. He or I didnt quite understand it, but it was later in the paper of what they were talking about. I assume he wanted to know who they were. So it looks like they were persuaded to do so. Something very fishy going on… Who knows!

  5. Butch Huber

    Madi,

    It doesn’t surprise me to hear that Mr. Robertson was rallying people in an effort to pursue Chris. That is what this city government is all about, “politics by ambush”. I am not sure that Mr. Robertson is acting within the capacity of his position in all of this. I am still a little perplexed as to exactly where his duties as City Manager end and where his own personal self-interests begin.
    I believe it is only a matter of time before Mr. Robertson steps on the wrong toes, if it hasn’t already happened (I believe it has happened, but she may not know it yet). Either way, I believe those wrong toes will be on the end of the foot that is in the boot that kicks him out of this city government.

  6. Butch Huber

    Last night I watched as a very angry citizen approached the microphone during citizen’s comments at the city commission meeting. He was angry because he cannot get hooked up to city sewer and yet former City Commissioner had apparently not paid his bill for his tap fee, or even started paying for his bill, until the second half of 2008. It appears that Ray Justice had not been charged any interest on the money he owed, nor had he paid any fines or penalties. I don’t have enough information on this to state any opinion or make any conjectures as to whether this man was right or not, but he did seem to come to the meeting with the paperwork needed to prove what he was saying.

    He was upset and was not handling his anger very well, but can you empathize with him? I can. He was upset that he, as an ordinary citizen, couldn’t get hooked up to sewer, yet a Commissioner gets his home hooked up and doesn’t pay up until, apparently, much later than he should have started paying and then he isn’t charged any interest or penalty for late payment. If I am late on paying my sewer bill I get charged a late fee. I think it is time to look into the language of the promissory notes that were filed with the city to see if Mr. Justice has fulfilled his promise and to see if his bill is being handled properly. However, the most disturbing thing from the whole incident at city hall last night came after the man who brought the issue to the commission had left the building. City Manager Randy Robertson said of the man, “now that he has made a public spectacle of himself”. That statement by the city manager is an example of how this city government operates. Linda, to her credit, handled the situation fairly well. The man was acting in a manner that the mayor would have been justified in having him ushered out of the commission room by police, but instead she heard him out and tried to get to the bottom of the situation, even though the man was being hostile toward her personally. However, the city manager’s posture was very telling of his attitude toward citizens. Rather than being open and honest and forthright about the whole matter and divulging what he knows, he said that he had spoken to the attorney general regarding the matter and there was nothing to it. There is never “anything to it” when public officials are doing something wrong. It’s like the statement from Nixon where he said “when the President does it it isn’t illegal”. Nothing these folks who run our government will ever have “anything to it”, but apparently, to the man who addressed them last night, there is something to it in his eyes. They don’t seem to understand that talking back to a citizen is like a child talking back to their parent. We are the superior in the conversation when we are speaking to public officials, not the other way around. That is the problem with putting power in the hands of the wrong people, they get impressed with themselves and think they are the masters.

    The man that took the time to go before this commission deserves to be dealt with professionally. He probably wouldn’t have been so upset had he been addressed by the city manager properly in the first place. I have had personal dealing with Mr. Robertson, and I must say that he is hostile and unprofessional in the way that he deals with the public.

    When I was looking into information regarding some of the activities of some of our commissioners Mr. Robertson and I had a meeting. During that meeting he stated to me that , if I were to draw a line in the sand (meaning, if I would forget the past actions of the mayor and others on our commission, and only look toward the future) my efforts would be welcome. Let me put that another way, if I continue to try to bring people to justice for what they had done to others my efforts would not be welcome by him, but if I would forget all what had been done before he would welcome my efforts. First off, he doesn’t realize who is in charge of things in this country. The citizen is the ultimate authority in America, not politicians and not government leaders. In our socialistic reality perhaps we are in an inferior position, but our founding documents say we are the ones with the power. If you agree with Mr. Robertson then you are a welcome pillar of society, but if you disagree with him or his position you are a bad person who is his enemy. Perhaps that is the real reason Linda bypassed Randy last night and asked the finance director to give the commission a full report on the matter this man was bringing before them. Perhaps the honeymoon between Linda and Randy is finally over. Perhaps she no longer trusts him. Why should she, he opposed her on the gift to the YMCA deal, going as far as he could with that deal even though it was readily apparent that the citizens of this city and the current commission were not for it. Randy played politician, and that is not a thing that Linda will tolerate from a non-elected official, especially when that non-elected official is playing politics against her.

    Make no mistake, bypassing the city manager, especially on public television and in front of the viewing public, is no small matter. While she tried to make it less of a slap in the face, and while he tried to play it off as nothing, it is something. Randy is the administrative head of government in Mt. Juliet. The mayor went around him and straight to the finance director last night. The City Manager said there is nothing to what the man was saying and yet Linda still wanted the finance director to provide them with the report she asked for. Had the Mayor turned to the City Manager and asked if he could develop a full report for the commission there would have been no foul, but the moment she turned to the finance director and asked him directly for the report she marginalized the city manager. That is no small matter. In a weird way it is like the congress going past the President to his staff and asking them to make a report to congress. I don’t believe this was nothing, I believe it was something.

  7. Butch Huber

    what is it called when you throw off a government because that government isn’t following the primal documents upon which the government was established? Can you really call that a “revolution”? I don’t think you can. To me, a revolution is where you throw off a form of government and replace it with another form of government. We need the exact opposite in America, we need to return to the Constitution, so what is it called when you throw off your government to return to the place were you should have been in the first place? Remember, the Constitution puts a lot of power in the hands of the people, we have just forgotten how to use it.

  8. Nathan Clariday

    We should go back to the beginning: the Declaration of Independance; it has alot stronger wording than the more politcal Constitution

  9. Butch Huber

    That’s even better Nathan, but what would you call that action…it’s not a revolution…so what is it? I don’t know if there is a name for it when a people take back their government and force it to conform with its primal documents. It is obvious to me that elections won’t do the job, it is going to take a full re-institution of our government.

  10. Butch Huber

    I will place this here as it has to do with ethics. I just watched the John Stewart interview with Cramer of Mad Money on CNBC. Before I watched that interview, I was against more regulation on the stock market. I am not in favor of government intervention or meddling in private business. However, my position has changed somewhat after having seen what was exposed on that show.

    I am not a fan of John Stewart, but he has brought a few things to my attention lately that I find interesting. On the show John Stewart played a couple clips of Cramer that were not intended to be played on television. In the clips Cramer is speaking to someone about how he would foment that stocks were doing great when in fact they may not have been, and that to foment a stock is doing well is illegal, but that you do it anyway because the SEC doesn’t know what is going on and that it makes profits and it is fun! Stewart pointed out that the CEOs of corporations and investigative reporters and news network execs knew what was going on and they did about it. It appears Stewart is right. Stewart went on to say that the CEOs of these corporations basically manipulated markets and too huge profits with our 401k money and they burned down the house.

    There you have it…they used our 401k money to manipulate markets, take huge profits personally, and then they burned down the house.

    I also saw on the net today that China wants guarantees from the US that their investment in our t-bill are safe. I can’t say I blame them.

    I was irritated when I heard other countries saying that our markets need more regulations. I thought,”who are they to tell us how to run our stock market’s?” I immediately stuck my proverbial chest out and took a defensive stance. But now I think there may be some wisdom in what they are saying.

    I am not an investor in the stock market per se, however, our country seems to revolve around Wall Street, so in a sense we are all shareholders in Wall Street, or at least “stakeholders”. We, as citizens, whether we have direct financial investment in the stock-market or not, have to become more and more involved in the process.

    I will give you a point to ponder. Our fair city has floated bonds on the market, bonds that are purchased by investors. Investors, usually major corporations that have investors, purchase those bonds. Those bonds are guaranteed, without our approval, with our homes and property. That’s right, your home is collateral for those bonds. That’s because the city has what is call, “unlimited ad valorem tax”, which means that the city can raise property taxes to any amount it needs to raise them in order to pay back debts. If you can’t pay the tax what happens to you? They take your home and sell it to whomever can pay the tax. Yes, we are all stakeholders in the markets. The same is true of income taxes and other taxes at the federal level. The government sells t-bills, and you and I are backing those t-bills with our assets. If the government does not have the money to pay the investors back then they raise taxes to whatever level is necessary, and enact other taxes as necessary, to pay the them. If you can’t pay the taxes they put a lien on everything you own, charge you extreme interest and penalties, and come after you in a vicious storm until they have taken everything you own and left you virtually, if not literally, destitute. Yes, we are stakeholders in the markets, even if we are not actual shareholders. Our government has the retirement guarantee corporation, which it claims receives no direct money from general taxes, but our government is on the line for those guarantees. The companies that are manipulating the markets and taking huge profits that have their pensions backed by the government corporation, and that are now going under at an alarming rate, are causing you and I to be at risk. So, yes, we are stakeholders, even if we have never directly invested a penny in the stock markets.

    So, what does this all have to do with Mt. Juliet? It has a lot to do with Mt. Juliet if you look at things from a macro level. Our city has bonds floated with our guarantee on them. Look at the bond that was recently floated. It states things that simply are not factual. Remember the Bobby Franklin lawsuit? Remember that they said that he had understated population figures (I think it was actually that they said he had “overstated” population figures, but the paper says “understated”.)? Look at the new bond. Look at the population figures in that bond. Compare them with the truth and look at them for accuracy. Now look at who signed the written statement on the bond. Whose names do you see? Sheila Luckett and Linda Elam. Now look the capital number, and then do the homework to see what the capital number should be. I believe the number is grossly inflated! The city would have to put the entire sewer system up as collateral to arrive at that figure!

    Yes, we need regulation in this country, but I say we should first start with our own government! Folks, “WE” are America, not the government! When we float a bond or sell a t-bill, it is our word that is given. Let that sink in for just a bit. If a person gives their word that they will do their best to pay back a debt, and they make a best effort to make good on the debt, and they simply cannot do it, well, I think you have to pick up the pieces and move on, that is the risk part of investing. However, when a person takes on a debt obligation and doesn’t do everything within their power to pay back the debt, that is a sign of moral and ethical weakness on their part. When a government takes on a debt, it is taking on the debt with a guarantee of the people of the United States of America, or the State, or the County, or the municipality, depending on where the debt comes from.

    We have a serious problem in this Country that needs to be addressed. The only way back is to take full responsibility as citizens, recognize that the way we ended up where we are is because of the apathy that has overtaken us as citizens. We are ignorant and we don’t even know it!

    We need more than an education based on Math, English, History, and Science. We need to be educated on law and finance as well. Our education should not end with 12 years of school, or 12 years of school plus 4 years of college, but rather should be a constant and ongoing process throughout life. We are a capitalist country that is founded by the prospect that the government is servant to us and it governs by law, yet we do not know or understand the process, and we do not understand the law or finance! The government is putting us at risk on a financial level and we don’t even know it is happening to us. We look at the government as something other than “US”. Folks, “WE” are the government! Foreign nations have assaulted our government and at the same time said, “we don’t have anything against the American people, we are just against the Government of the United States.” And we say, “Phew, I thought they were mad at us.” They separate us from our government! And so do we! The Declaration says, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”! We are the government! We elect morons to run our country because they are the only one’s willing to run in the race! The only President in my lifetime that I can say was truly “Presidential” was Reagan! I liked Bush 1, and I liked Bush 2, but I never thought they measured up to what I expect of a President. Bill Clinton certainly didn’t. Obama is as lost as last year’s Easter egg. Ford didn’t have it. Nixon, although he has a lot of followers who thought he was great, didn’t have it in my opinion. LBJ? Are you kidding?

    We need to work harder to put forward people who really know how to do the job they are elected to hold. But even more than that, we need to decide what kind of country we will become. There are those who are now looking toward socialism. On one hand, I can’t say that I blame them. They are ignorant and don’t know better. They see our system as having failed and the only other system they know is “socialism”. We have steeped them in socialism for the past 80 years anyway. Our country looks more like a socialist country than it does a democracy anyway. Think about it. Compulsory school attendance at “Free” public school, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, Government backed pension benefit guarantees, welfare, and other social programs, the list of which goes on and on. Now we have the federal government taking major, if not majority, stakes in massive corporations. We are now way closer to socialism than we are capitalism, the next step would be so easy. If you are a person who has no hope of climbing the corporate ladder, no hope of starting your own business, you have never been taught much about the different types of government and their positives and negatives; if you are watching the media as it lambasts corporations as if they alone are responsible for the mess we are in, if you see CEO after CEO being drug out in the public as being scoundrels without seeing that there are many, many more who try to do the right things with their businesses, if you don’t understand the tax structure, if you don’t understand the law, if you don’t understand that our judicial system is a complete mess and one that is too political and biased, and if you are mad as hell, you might look at socialism and say to yourself, “at least it would make things even”. You wouldn’t know that every socialist system in the world has failed or is on the brink of failure. You wouldn’t know that just because socialism seems to make sense in theory, it fails in reality every time. But you would probably say, “well, our system isn’t working either!” And you would be right, but the reason you would be right would probably not be for the reasons you thought. The reason you would be right is because we are not educated, we are “indoctrinated”. We are bleating sheep! We continue to put our children in a flawed education system that merely socially indoctrinates our children and trains them to a level of competency that will enable them to perform at a minimum level in jobs that are currently available in major corporations in America. We fail to teach them rule of law, ethics, morality, and finance. We have moved to an age of tolerance and homogenization, an age of indifference and apathy, and an age of entitlement and complacency. We differ to others what is our own obligations and responsibility because we are too ignorant as a society to even know our role as citizens. We use our capitalist strength to settle differences by remaining a military superpower instead of leading the world through education and morality, through ethical behavior, and through vision for the future. Our words of inspiration to the world are now hollow. We are still the best country in the world, and people still flock to our shores, but they flock here less because of our ideals and more to escape tyranny, oppression, and deep poverty and despair.

    Until we as citizens determine to hold our government accountable, and thereby hold ourselves accountable, we will continue down the road toward socialism. Socialism will lead to communism. Communism will lead to many years of darkness. As we journey down that road, other nations that have recently learned the lesson that socialism and communism don’t work will take our place as the leaders of the world and the hope for the future.

    It is time to take our country back to its foundation, which are the words inscribed on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It is time that we as a collective body of citizens stand together to make our governments obey the law, refrain from ensnaring us in debt, and to clean up its internal operations. None of us are innocent, we are all guilty, if not for direct involvement in the events that have brought us to this point, for our apathy and complacency. No longer can we afford to stand by and be spectators of the American process, we are all players and we need to suit up and take to the field! “We” are America, and no other nation has the right to confuse us by saying that they have no problem with the people of America, but rather with the Government of the United States. The next time you hear that remember that “you” are the Government of the United States!

  11. Butch Huber

    Does anyone know when and where the fall cabal will be held? Are we holding elections? If so, who is running for what position? Will it be a formal occasion? Black tie and tails? Gowns for the ladies?

  12. Paul Deyo

    Butch, I think we’ll have the party primaries and County Commissioner elections as usual in August. The county commissioner elections need to be taken seriously, we have commissioners who live in Mt. Juliet but dance to the tune of the entrenched interests based in Lebanon. They need to go. My commissioner, Fred Weston, will get my vote if he runs again. Wendell Marlowe has talked about running for that seat and he would not. The party primaries have the potential to be amusing or tragic. Past and present city hall personalities will be in August races.

    The only commissioners up for election will be Bradshaw and Sellers. I don’t know of any potential candidates planning to run against them. And there is the wild card of census redistricting.

    One thing that has not been explored sufficiently is the power of home rule, which was overwhelmingly approved at the polls. This is something we should continue to look at as a way to, say, recall a mayor or get some control over budget priorities. Right now the mayor’s priorities seem to be ‘getting worked on by developers’ and giving herself benefit packages on our dime.

    I’m probably telling you and most of those who check in here things they already know but worth putting out there.

    ‘Gowns for the ladies’! Very funny on several levels!

  13. Butch Huber

    Paul,

    I do appreciate the update on the political landscape, however, the elections I was speaking of were elections for positions within the “Cabal”. We need to fill the positions of “Grand Poobah”, “Imperial Wizard”, “Grand Marshall”, “Court Jester”, and all of the Counts and Countesses, Dukes and Duchesses, Earls, Czars, Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, grandmasters, and others. I was just wondering if we were going to hold elections at the “Fall Cabal” or if we were going to hold elections at a different event. After all, if we are going to hold elections at the Fall Cabal we all need to know so we can bring our “Hanging Chads”.

  14. Shawn Donovan

    Yes Paul it will be an interesting election year in 2010. With the number of new residents coming to Providence since the election in 2006 the population is pretty high for District 4 now. I look forward to seeing if neighborhoods such as Triple Crowne will be moved into District 3 or stay within District 4. It may turn out that Belinda City and Providence will just become one district.

    As for candidates against Bradshaw theres no telling at this point. I personally haven’t decided if I will run again.

  15. Paul Deyo

    Yes, Butch, I misread and knowing that you know the landscape already. Perhaps another installment from ‘Concerned Citizen’ can set the table for a ‘fall cabal’. I envision a carnival with various booths, ‘step right up, get your inappropriate rezones!’, ‘Whack-an-ordinance’, ‘Work on the Mayor’ (for developers only-tickets will be expensive!), ‘Truth or Fiction?’ guessing booth…Those festive-sounding offices would be filled at this festive event, without citizen participation of course.

    Or do you see ‘we the disenfranchised’ as the cabal?

    Shawn, I think you are right about the liklihood that everything south of 40 will become D4, with D3 becoming more diverse (similar to the way it was before the 2000 census). As in 2000, I imagine some shenanigans may occur at the commission table. This time they may actually affect the decision process rather than just being distractions on the periphery.

  16. Butch Huber

    Paul, that was funny.

  17. Southsider

    Bradshaw will never win another election.

    Every Mt Juliet Commissioner who voted against the 2nd amendment will be gone after their next election.

    Bradshaw and Sellers are already lame ducks and don’t even know it.

  18. Paul Deyo

    I think the redistricting process will have alot to do with how Bradshaw does next time out. He is much loved by some in the Villages and I had doors slammed in my face there in 2002 for having the nerve to run against him. Shawn, you may have had similar experiences. You know he’ll be running again. In any event, Del Webb will have a large impact no matter how the district lays out.

    A lot of people in D2 don’t like Sellers and associate him with the even less popular mayor but they’ve been squabbling of late and that may help him. His legally registered guns in parks vote will not.

    Hey, I was actually printed in the Chronicle! Not the letter blasting Elam of course, but a positive letter I wrote about the new disc golf course at Mundy Park. The course was essentially ‘built’ by a Mt. Juliet Police Officer and several parks employees. Disc golf costs about ten dollars (per disc but you only really need one) to outfit oneself and the course, like most disc golf courses, is free. This is an example of how our parks should be visioned, utilized and budgeted as opposed to the land-clearing, high-dollar, high-maintenance stick-and-ball only approach that created Mundy Park in the first place.

  19. Shawn Donovan

    Paul,

    Most of my experience was positive. Like you I did have pockets within Belinda City that were big “pro-Bradshaw”. Del Webb I agree is going to be a “battlefield” in the next election with the number of homes and registered voters. A majority of the residents I have met are very active in the community and were active in our Providence Mayoral Forum last year. I look for this to continue next year.

  20. Butch Huber

    Shawn,

    If you do decide to vote, I would encourage you to go back to when Bradshaw voted not to investigate a complaint that I filed against Linda Elam and the entire commission. That complaint was a legitimate complaint and he and the Mayor and Will Sellers voted to illegally dismiss it. Bradshaw was derelict in his duties and he voted to dismiss my complaint rather than face an investigation. It is unbelievable that a person can vote against investigating a complaint against themselves! But as unbelievable as it is, he did it. With the right kind of editing that video could really be damaging to him. He turned his back on corruption and malfeasance when he had a chance to do the right thing. What has Bradshaw ever done to hold the Mayor accountable for her actions? She, and others just like her, do whatever they want and he stands in the way of bringing justice.

    Just a thought.

  21. Paul Deyo

    I imagine someone who chooses to run against Sellers would be able to use that also.

  22. Shawn Donovan

    Thanks Butch.

    Yes there is a very good track record there to follow as well as a number of things that “would be completed if elected” in 2006 that still haven’t been completed.

  23. Butch Huber

    Sellers situation is even worse. When you check the video you will know why.

  24. Southsider

    I think Sellers is gone for a number of reasons:

    1) He made the motion to hire Keith Bergman (a gay marriage activist and Al Gore climate groupie) to be Mt. Juliet City Manager.

    https://radiofreemj.wordpress.com/bergman

    2) He was the only member of the Commission to vote against censuring Linda Elam for her unethical behavior.

    3) He voted against the second amendment in Mt. Juliet Parks.

    4) He voted to buy land just to give it to the YMCA.

    https://radiofreemj.wordpress.com/ymca/

    5) Sellers is basically a liberal who has a very conservative constituency. Those voters now know what he really stands for.

    6) The commissioner’s job now pays twice as much and will attract better candidates.

    Sellers and Bradshaw are both lame ducks and don’t know it. This will be fun to watch.

  25. Butch Huber

    A little over 100 people who depend on us have been slapped in the face by our politicians. Yes, I mean slapped. Right in the kisser.

    The hypocrisy of this commission knows no bounds. They have vote themselves huge increases (as a percentage of income) which I support. They have given themselves healthcare coverage, which I am not necessarily against. They have given themselves laptop computers, which I think is fine. They were on their way to giving themselves lifetime healthcare, which is insane. They gave themselves some other perks as well, which I am also okay with. Then, at the end of the year, they took $75 from each of the city employees!

    They say they can’t ask tax payers to pay for Christmas bonuses for city employees when there are so many people out of work. There are always people out of work! There is never a day when there isn’t a large number of people out of work! People being out of work is no excuse for not taking care of those who are working!

    Perhaps the good commissioners who are so worried about the taxpayers would be kind enough to rescind the ordinance that raised their income and donate back to the city any raise they have received. Nah! That wouldn’t be fair, would it?

    Our employees are grossly underpaid, I am a witness, I served on the payroll committee, I am fully aware of how underpaid the city employees are (well, except for the city manager, he is grossly overpaid. They lifted the ceiling to ensure that he was most highly paid to keep him here in Mt. Juliet.)

    Do I think it is appropriate for a government entity to give “Christmas Bonuses”? Not really. Year end bonus? Okay. Christmas Bonus? How can you do such a thing and not violate the establishment clause? But if you are going to put a program like that in place, let people work all year on the premise that they are going to get the bonus, and then yank it from them you are being worse than a scrooge.

    Regardless of where anyone falls on the issue of this bonus, our employees are grossly underpaid, have been underpaid for a long time, and they need to be properly and adequately compensated for their efforts. The yanking of this bonus is such an insult to them I cannot adequately describe it. They are asked all year to work for 11% to 14% less than what they should get paid, and in some cases even less, and then they have the audacity to yank their bonus?!

    Will $75 make much difference in the lives of the employees on a financial level? Not really, not in most cases. Will the fact they were cheated out of the $75 have an effect on how they perform? Probably not, because we have a great bunch of people who work for us and they take a lot of pride in working for this city. But does it further chip away at their morale? You bet it does. People need to feel appreciated and valued. This shortchanging of their bonus is making them feel unappreciated and sending the message that they are not valued. Unacceptable!

  26. Pingback: New Ethics committee member knows a thing or two about Ethics : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  27. Butch

    What fun, Chris Sorey is planning on running for Mayor of Mt. Juliet!

    Will Chris get his revenge?

    Will Randy Robertson finally have to open the iron gates that protect public information from becoming…well, public?

    Will this be the end of Jason Holleman’s term of office on our commission? Oh, yeah, he isn’t an elected official, he only acts like he is.

    Will Chris use his office to gain private information on yet more people?

    How will this turn out?

    Stay tuned, same bat channel, same bat time.

  28. Knowing Chris, it came as little surprise reading the self promoting article.

    My question is this…Who is it that suggeseted he run? That’s the person that should not be walking around un-supervised. Perhaps it was that little voice inside his head that thought it would be a good idea to illegally and immorally obtain PERSONAL info on his political rivals and thus, lose a real good job and smear the name of a civil service organization. Please tell me this ain’t the best we got to choose from. If it is, then be ready for the cycle of silliness to continue at City Hall. Nurse Ratched…I think I’ll take those meds now.

  29. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    Sex Scandal hits MJ City Hall! Really? How proud I am this morning. This is how you show gratitude for a public service opportunity bathed in public trust? Investigate, then eliminate. Anyone left standing better understand the morality bar has just been raised. Very sad, very poor.

    RP

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