Tag Archives: Linda Elam

Elam wins the Daytona Firecracker 400

guest post by NetHawk

Through an odd twist of fate Linda Elam became the first female driver to ever win the Daytona Firecracker 400.  Here is the post-race interview:

DW: Ms. Elam, this has been the most extraordinary week in NASCAR history.  You came out of nowhere to wind up in Jimmy Johnson’s number 48 car on the pole for this race.  How did all this happen?

LE: Well Darryl, I have always been a good driver and did some dirt track racing in east Tennessee.  By the way, I prefer to be addressed as Mayor Elam since I have worked so hard to obtain that position.. The call came in from the Hendrick organization late Friday night, Mr. Johnson would not be able to drive due to his wife going into labor with her second child.  I immediately cancelled some meetings with developers and took the red-eye to Daytona.

DW: Sorry Mayor Elam, how did you prepare yourself to lead the field and take the green flag to start such an important event?

LE: Oddly enough, we had a lot of trouble with the seat.  It had to be adjusted and quite frankly the crew chief, this Knaus guy, put it off to the last minute.  He stayed on the phone pleading with Jimmy trying to lure him away from the hospital to drive the car.  It was most disrespectful.   I had to call Rick Hendrick to get all this straight.  I didn’t cancel three meetings to come drive for some unorganized crew chief wannabe.  Once the new seat was fabricated things got somewhat better.

DW: You didn’t get any laps in the car since Jimmy qualified it earlier in the week.  Were you surprised how many positions a car could lose in the middle with no drafting partners?

LE: Going from first to 42nd on the first lap had never been done, but I blame that on a “boys club” unwilling to draft with a woman.  It certainly didn’t help to have some twenty something crew chief screaming in the headset the whole lap either.

DW: You missed your pit stall twice and lost a lap each time, I bet that caused some chatter on the headset too!

LE:  No, after the first time I slung the headset out the window.  That brought out a caution for debris and I made up a lap.  But the best part was that I didn’t have to hear that kid screaming instructions anymore.  I had a long talk with Mr. Hendrick after the victory and that Chad kid will most likely be history.  He has no place in this sport.

DW:  Walk me through the big pile up that took out a record 41 cars that happened right in front of you.

LE:  With eight laps to go I was battling Mark Martin for 42nd position.  We were both seven laps down since he hit the wall earlier.  He had just pulled around me on the outside and something told me to get right behind him and it happened – all I could see was smoke and fire and cars flipping everywhere.  I followed Mark right through all of it.

DW:  When did it occur to you that you might have a chance to win?

LE:  After the red flag I knew Mark would be close on fuel so I stayed out.  He went into the pits and got tires and fuel but I picked up the lead.  The track position wasn’t really worth it since only two cars were on the lead lap but I didn’t know that because I didn’t have a headset.   We took off and he took the lead right away.  Something broke on his car and he hit the wall before the white flag had come out.  It was at that point I knew.

DW:  This has never happened before.  Yours was the only car running at the end so you picked up the victory.  How does this happen Linda, I mean Mayor Elam, how did you pull this off?

LE:  Well I was obviously picked to drive for good reason.  It would have been much easier if there were good people working on this car.  I had to do all this myself.  It was not my fault I missed the pit stall either time.  The sign was not held high enough the first time and my brakes locked up the second time.  It is tough when you have to do everything yourself in this sport.

DW:  Chad Knaus was seen pouring fuel on himself during the race with a lighter in his hand.  There seems to be a lot of friction between you two.  Have you had time to resolve any of that yet?

LE:  Not really.  I think he should find something else to do.  It is clear he is not cut out for this sort of thing.  I am just thankful my schedule could allow me this opportunity to prove what I could do in this sport.

DW:  Well what does the future hold for Mayor Linda Elam now?

LE:  Oh, I guess I will go back to running the sleepy little town I put on the map in middle Tennessee.


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Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission

One political mailing – two howlers

Tis the season for the mailbox to be full of political direct mail.

A 4-page 8.5×11 piece from Linda Elam arrived today.

Reading it provoked howls of laughter all over the city!

She pledges to reduce the inefficiencies in state government. . . but she can’t spell inefficiencies:

And then, on the facing page there is this howler:

Really? SHE has grown Mt. Juliet? Really? All by herself, SHE is taking credit for having grown Mt. Juliet?

Linda Elam is the perfect example of someone who woke up on third base and wants to convince us all that she hit a triple.

Of course, worse than that:

  • She is NOT a Republican – The first two chances she had to vote in Wilson Co., she voted in the DEMOCRATIC primary
  • She is NOT a conservative – A conservative does not champion borrowing millions to buy land to give away to the YMCA
  • She is NOT responsible for the growth in Mt. Juliet – Providence (both residential and retail) were in the works long before she was elected. She arrived just in time to be able to cut the ribbons, but she had nothing to do with starting those projects.

Were she to be elected, she would have an immediate conflict of interest between her roles as mayor and as state legislator. Her inability to recognize this should surprise no one. She was censured by the city commission in 2007 for failing to recognize a conflict of interest when she went to work for a developer while mayor and then lobbied city staff on behalf of her employer.


Filed under Tennessee Legislature

Can the Commission violate the charter?

Of course they can!

They can, in the inimitable words of Mayor Elam, “do anything they want until a judge tells them otherwise.”

Can the City Commission adopt an ordinance that violates the City Charter?

Well, they can… but that won’t make it a valid ordinance.

It appears they have, and the interesting question is why Mayor Elam (who is a licensed, practicing attorney) and the City Attorney, Jason Holleman (who is likewise, a licensed, practicing attorney) don’t seem to be able to read and understand the City Chater (which is, after all, written in English).

Here’s what the charter says about the Powers and Duties of the City Manager with respect to personnel decisions: Section 6-21-108 (2)

Except as otherwise provided in this charter, appoint, promote, demote, suspend, transfer, remove, and otherwise discipline all department heads and subordinate employees at any time, subject only to any personnel rules and regulations adopted by ordinance or resolution by the commission. Any hearings on, or appeals from, the city manager’s personnel decisions provided for in the personnel rules and regulations shall be exclusively before the city manager or a hearing officer designated by the city manager;

According to a story in this week’s Chronicle of Mt. Juliet, Dennis Buchanan has appealed his termination as parks director. It then goes on to say:

City Attorney Jason Holleman, citing the City personnel policy manual, said that the city commission will convene in administrative session within 30 days of receiving notification of the appeal request from the human resources department, and the commission may reverse the final decision of the city manager (to terminate Buchanan) and/or whatever action the commission deems appropriate under the circumstances, including but not limited to amending the decision of the city manager.

With all due respect to City Attorney, Jason Holleman, NO THEY CAN’T.

A) There is no exception in the Tennessee Open Meetings Law for a City Commission to meet in “administrative session” to consider a personnel matter. Mayor Elam, City Commissioners, Citizens and even the City Attorney may think that the City Commission SHOULD be able to meet behind closed doors, but until the State Legislature amends the law, it’s illegal for them to do so (unless they are meeting to be briefed on a pending lawsuit – and even then, they can take no action and cannot engage in debate).

B) Whether you agree or disagree with the City Manager’s decision and like or dislike Dennis Buchanan, under the Mt. Juliet City Charter, personnel decisions of the City Manager can only be appealed to the City Manager or a hearing officer designated by the City Manager. Mayor Elam, City Commissioners, Citizens, and even the City Attorney may think that’s a bad idea, but until the City Charter is amended, the City Manager’s decision is final. The City Commission can fire the City Manager, but they can’t “amend his decision.”

Doesn’t matter what the 2009 Personnel Policy Manual says. Ordinances that violate the City Charter are invalid. It would be just as crazy as the US Congress passing a law stating that decisions of the US Supreme Court could be appealed to a joint session of Congress. The only way to make that change would be to amend the Constitution.

There’s a way to amend the City Charter if the Mayor and the City Commission want to do that. Propose a change, and submit it to the voters. If they approve the change, it will take effect. There’s a reason why amending the City Charter takes a few extra steps and requires the approval of the voters. Because it’s a big deal! It’s the city-level equivalent of amending the constitution. It’s not supposed to be as easy as just passing an ordinance. The City Charter is supposed to set the boundaries as to what ordinances the City Commission can adopt. But Mayor Elam, and this City Commission recognize no boundaries. They won’t obey the boundaries. It’s questionable as to whether they know where the boundaries are!

Mayor Elam and this commission have demonstrated their arrogant disregard for the City Charter over and over again. They took an oath to uphold the City Charter. And then they ignore it. If you want to amend the Charter, do it the right way. Shame on all of you for thinking you could do it by ordinance. Shame on the Mayor for not knowing any better. Shame on the City Attorney for not knowing any better.


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

Mayor tries to move ‘retreat’ out of town

That’s the headline on a story in this weeks Chronicle of Mt. Juliet (which can be read online by clicking on the link).

It’s actually far more serious than just an attempt to move the deliberations of the City Commission to an inconvenient location. The clear intent of the Tennessee Open Meetings Law is to insure that the business of the city commission is conducted in public. And it is clear that moving a 2-day meeting to a remote location out of the city is for the express purpose of being able to conduct city commission business out of the view of the public.

Compounding the deliberate insult to Mt. Juliet citizens was the way in which the mayor attempted to make this change – by adding it to the agenda for Monday night’s meeting even though there had been no advance notice that the item would be discussed. Apparently the mayor failed to submit her agenda item in time to make the agenda.

The mayor, of course, does not take lightly anything that thwarts her desires. Rules are for other people. She attempted to add it to the agenda anyway. This requires a suspension of the rules, which needs a 2/3 vote according to Robert’s. In Mt. Juliet that means a vote of at least four of the five commissioners. Hagerty and Bradshaw both objected.

The mayor then attempted to violate Robert’s Rules, by over-ruling the objections of the two commissioners and announced that her item was on the agenda. This occurred AFTER the city attorney pointed out to the entire commission that placing the item on the agenda required a suspension of the rules and that a suspension of the rules required four votes.

After announcing her unilateral, red queen ruling, Commissioner Bradshaw requested an opportunity to speak. The mayor refused to allow Commissioner Bradshaw to speak on the matter.

The real howler in all of this is that the mayor believes the public wants her to serve in the state legislature, in order to continue to provide a “conservative, Republican” voice from the 57th district.

She’s neither a conservative, nor a Republican.

In spite of being a lawyer, she either doesn’t understand the city charter, or Robert’s Rules – or she believes that she can dispense with either whenever it suits her fancy.


Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission, Open Meetings Law

Mayor Elam violates state law again

Notice of Special Meeting for January 15, 2010:

Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 6-20-208, City Manager Randy Robertson hereby gives written notice that a Special Meeting of the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners will be held on January 15, 2010, at 5:30 PM at City Hall. The business to be discussed at this meeting is as follows:

a) Approval of proposed resolution of pending litigation; and
b) Discussion of road projects; and
c) Update on the City of Mt. Juliet Park system.

Here’s the relevant section of State Law:

Tennessee Code Annotated 6-20-208. Special meetings. —
Whenever, in the opinion of the mayor, city manager or any two (2) commissioners the welfare of the city demands it, the mayor or the recorder shall call special meetings of the board of commissioners upon at least twelve (12) hours written notice to each commissioner, the city manager, recorder, and city attorney, served personally or left at such person’s usual place of residence. Each call for a special meeting shall set forth the character of the business to be discussed at such meeting and no other business shall be considered at such meeting.

Class exercise: What should the response of the other city commissioners and the city attorney be if the Mayor wants to suspend the rules at a special meeting and discuss or consider business not included in the call for the special meeting?

class? class? anyone? Bueller?


Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission

Elam ‘seriously’ considers bid for District 57 State Rep seat

so runs the headline in today’s Mt. Juliet News (not up on their web site, but we’ll link to it, once it is).

Interestingly, Elam says that if she runs, “it would be as a Republican, an acknowledged party alliance she would have preferred kept under wraps a bit longer.”


The jokes just write themselves. . .


Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission

The Mayor throws down the gauntlet

She’s not happy that the other four Commisssioners called a special meeting of the City Commission on Monday, July 6th and met without her. At that meeting they voted unanimously to name Andy Wright as the new city judge.

The Mayor blasted the other Commissioners AND City Manager Randy Robertson a the regular meeting on Monday July 13th. Acording to stories in The Chronicle and The Mt. Juliet News, she charged that the Commission AND the City Manager had been “meddling” with the City Court and stated that she was “offended as a lawyer.”

City Manager Robertson shot back at the Mayor, “Some of the things you said are wrong.”

Later, he charged that Mayor Elam had “thrown down the gauntlet.”

Since the Mayor’s vote for or against Andy Wright as the new City Judge would not have made a difference, why was she so incensed?

Anyone have any ideas?


Filed under Mt. Juliet City Commission