Nov 30 2007

Many of us questioned the timing on this weeks Pro-us rally and I believe we have found the source of the actual timing.


“This school is a fraud,” Hatcher said. “They sell themselves as an accredited school and they’re deceiving people.
“I think it would be worthwhile for others to pursue refunds.”
Berrong said there “was no discussion” on whether the deputies should pay back the money or ask Columbus University for a refund. He said he “would like for them to try to obtain a lawyer to ask Columbus to do the same that they did with Tom (Hatcher).”
“I think that’s something that we can pursue,” Berrong said. “I think a letter would be relatively inexpensive to have an attorney, if we could find one,

Let me take a guess at which attorney they might use based on this story from November 2006 (link...)

Hatcher's letter said he has hired local attorney Craig Garrett to investigate and pursue Columbus University in an effort to recover the money paid to the unaccredited school and to "further expose their unfair and deceptive business practices. I have retained Mr. Garrett with my personal funds" rather than asking the county attorney to pursue the matter.

I don't care if you dear reader are a bleeding heart or a tax jihadist, this is just not a good use of our tax dollars. Here we are a full year later and the county still has no policy in place for tuition?

A year ago, Cunningham said work was “already under way to develop an overall policy manual” covering things including the use of county vehicles, travel, credit card use and tuition reimbursement for continuing education and training. Today, that policy is still in draft form and has not been formally adopted by the county.

The county does have a credit card use plan but no one really knows if it is followed or not.

And finally this quote in today's article

Cunningham would not comment on the additional Columbus University tuition reimbursements, telling The Daily Times it was “old news.”

Got it! The timeline is very interesting.
Laney ask the department for info on this on Nov 20, 2007.
We can assume that RL and JS met with the officials sometime after that date to get the requested info.
Monday Nov 26th the fliers for the rally were posted.
Monday Nov 26th the GOP Women met at the courthouse for their monthly gathering. One can only wonder if they were given a pep talk by any officials.
Tuesday Nov 27th was the Rally which was thought to be more anti-DailyTimes than pro anything or anyone.

You folks that really do follow those account lines and budgets, do you see anything else in there that perhaps RL and JS missed?

Word of the day- ACCOUNTABILITY



This I know for sure. Someone who really believes you can get a Masters Degree for $3,500.00 shouldn't be in a position of authority. That's assuming you even know how much the fake degree will cost; The master’s program he signed up for with Columbus University cost between $2,500 and $3,000, according to Baker.

I guess $500.00 here and there doesn't matter when you're ripping off the taxpayers.

And then, to deny this until it was brought to their doorstep is not the type honesty we look for from our CALEA certified law enforcement. These officers go back to 2003 with their relationship with Columbus. Why did none come out when Hatcher's case was revealed? “I was stunned,” Wilburn said. “I actually felt victimized.”
If was all about being a "victim", members of law enforcement should be the first to know it's their responsibility to report a crime.

Although the sheriff’s office is implementing a revised policy, the county still does not have one in place. Betsy Cunningham, the director of human resources for Blount County for the past four years, said the county wants to be proactive and establish a policy that eliminates problems with tuition reimbursement.
“We have drafted a policy,” Cunningham said.

Maybe if the Mayor wasn't out drumming up fake outrage, he could set some of the policies he promised. A year after the fact, and we're still only "talking" about them?

Because we know, with no policies in place, it opens the door for stupid excuses like these; The Daily Times asked Baker and Wilburn if they had ever taken steps to pay the county back for the tuition reimbursement, and both said they had not. “I don’t feel like I’ve violated any policies that were in order,” Wilburn said, and Baker agreed.

So, I guess we can conclude moral decency doesn't even factor into the equation when it comes to taking taxpayer money? I would love to say the Sheriff has some problems with his department - but anyone paying attention lately; (24) missing cars, (1) found NASCAR Truck, (2) broken arms, (5?) fake degrees and other issues that include forced termination and addiction would let you know the Sheriff is the problem.

I also can't help but to notice, some of these officers are high ranked. Does their advancement in rank and pay have anything to do with their "education"?

fraud, waste and abuse

Sorry, but I have to agree with Mayor Cunningham, this is "old news". It is exactly 378 days and approximately six hours old. It has been that long ago that the commissioners "encouraged Cunningham to complete the policy manual as soon as possible and ASKED THAT OTHER TUITION PAYMENTS MADE BY THE COUNTY BE REVIEWED TO SEE THERE ARE OTHERS SITUATIONS SIMILAR TO HATCHER'S" (DT report 17 Nov 06) Why wasn't this done? Was it a derilection of duty or was $8K-$10K of our dollars not important? Or, did our Mayor do his duty and discover what was easily "garnished" in a "snap" by everyday citizens on the county web site? If so, why was the commission not made aware of those findings?
Sheriff Berrong stated there was "no discussion" of paying back the monies. Well, just when did the Sheriff become aware of this? Was it in 2004 or 2005 when the tuition reimbursement was submitted, approved by his administation and disbursed to his employees? Or was it in 2006, when Mr. Hatcher repaid the county and retained an attorney to recoup his losses? In either instance, discussion should have taken place immediately. But here we are in 2007 and now Berrong wants to discuss the issue and encourage his employees to retain an attorney! I must again agree with the Mayor, this is now "old news" and most assuredly too late for civil action against the "university".
If Lt. Wilburn and Sgt. Baker truly felt victimized, when did they become aware they were victims? As veteran law enforcement officers were they not familiar with the process of filing written complaints against those who had victimized them? Did they not at least discuss this with their superiors and ask for guidance? I believe, given the circumstance Mr. Hatcher found himself to be in and the intense media coverage at the time any reasonable person who felt he had been victimized by the same party at the expense of the taxpayers would at the very least inquire of the
person(s) who approved the reimbursement as to what course of action to take. But, the true victims are we the taxpayers. No one involved seems to have suffered any out of pocket expense except you and I. And as this pattern of fraud, waste and abuse continues unabated, it is sadly, in fact "old news".

He needs to go.

This latest revelation is another glaring reason why it's time for this sheriff to GO!. He has been out of control [] for years. It's just incredible that ANYONE would believe a word that comes out of his mouth. He wouldn't know the truth if it walked up and introduced itself!
As the county's lead law enforcement official, he has an obligation to get the money repaid to the county. He has known for a long time that HIS office authorized the expenditure. Why doesn't HE send a letter to the fake university himself--you know in his "official" capacity? Oh, but that would actually challenge him to behave as a responsible adult.
The sheriff and those deputies KNEW what they were doing. They didn't want to "work" for an education. It's much easier to get someone, like a taxpayer, to buy it for them. Like their leader, they've come to "expect" that they can get everything they want or need from your pocket and mine. And worse, their actions hurt those in law enforcement who actually DO invest in legitimate educations.
Let's hope this community sends this sheriff to the house next election. Or maybe he'll have enough sense not to run. This community DESERVES so much better.

Keeper of the peace - or hired help?

And worse, their actions hurt those in law enforcement who actually DO invest in legitimate educations.

You would think this element of the BCSO would get tired of the way rogue elements in their department are making them look. I once overhead an officer speaking to a youth reminding him of the old axiom; "You are judged by the company you keep". Unfortunately, this doesn't apply only to troubled youth. How can we as citizens distinguish between good and bad cops when you're all wearing the same uniform?

I know the BCSO problems start with upper management, but I can assure you if a large enough group decided they were no longer going to turn a blind eye to wrong doing, you would have the support of the vast majority of the community.

Think about it. The Daily Times bash party consisting of a group of 100* (or less) plus the 10 to 20 among you are the ones that have a boot on your chest. The Democrats, objective Republicans and citizen groups are the ones that fought to get the lower ranks better pay. But as you know, the lower ranks got a pittance compared to what the fake degree having higher ranks got. Rest assured, we will continue to fight for the honest among you whether you're willing to fight for yourselves or not. The BSCO is not a fraternity - and you didn't get into law enforcement so you could watch your co-workers break laws. Did you?

*in case you haven't noticed when you work their parties and handle their traffic - these people are always the same people. How many of you have ever seen them at the commission meetings asking for you to have better pay? They are not your friends. They look at you as if you were the "help" - and if you keep doing what you've always done - you are.

Like I said, think about it.

in case you haven't noticed

in case you haven't noticed when you work their parties and handle their traffic - these people are always the same people.

No doubt. When you officers that have worked these social events see your boss partying with people that you know could help you - do you ever wonder why they never do? They make sure the Sheriff gets his toys, what are you getting?

Like FA said, think about it.

Hey, here's an idea!

Why doesn't the Sheriff call his Merit Board to order like they do in Loudon County. Let the board determine whether the officers should pay back the money.

We do have a Merit Board in Blount County don't we? Who's on it? Any Commissioners?

Feb 2005

The date of the last mention of any such board in County Commission meeting minutes.... Feb OH Five.....

Jimbo's Merit Board

Make NO mistake. The Merit Board is as fake as those Columbus U degrees. ALL the members are hand-picked by the sheriff. They will do/rule ANYTHING he tells them.

Them dagburn internetin' bloggers

Then lets bring them in front of the commission and let them state their (or the sheriffs) case publicly; in “front of cameras.”

Our local problems are like many of our national ones. We have laws, policies and procedures in place to cure many of our ails – we’ve just ignored them…,

Until now. Thanks internets – you series of tubes you. (link...)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

Wire Reports