Here's some breaking news from the DT - (link...)

“If you want to talk to somebody, sure, you don’t have to run that through me,” Cunningham said. “I don’t have time to fool with every citizen’s requests and reporters should have access, but if you want a lot of data that is going to take a lot of persons to find, that should flow through me..."

Alrighty then. Wonder if some of the other candidates for County Mayor might have had more time to "fool" with that pesky public? Most of the article is reporting on Mayor Cunningham's placement of the Sheriff's vehicle info on-line, and a little about a brand new procedure to funnel all requests for information from departments under his authority through his office. Even those questions from commissioners, who might be requesting it on behalf of their pesky constituents.

But back to the cars:

Members of some local citizens groups have claimed that about 25 vehicles were missing from the Sheriff’s Office inventory, compared to the number listed in previous audits. Auditors from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s Office found deficiencies in the paperwork tracking the disposition of about eight Blount County Sheriff’s Office vehicles, according to the 2007 audit report released Dec. 28, but made no mention of actual missing vehicles in the report.

Here's a link to the Sheriff's vehicle info: (link...)

Cunningham has declared the issue a “closed matter.”

'Nuff said.

Open Records

On its face, the policy does not conflict with state open records law, according to Frank Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.
“You can’t say there is anything improper or illegal about the policy until you know how the policy is being enforced and interpreted, if it’s being used to deny access to information that is public and whether it’s just being used to delay.
“If it’s aimed at just basically controlling work flow, it would all turn on how a court would look at it. ... The law says simply that public records are to be open for inspection during regular business hours of whatever agency has possession of those records, that has been interpreted to mean you are entitled to go in and ask to see something and they should show it to you, unless it contains information the legislature or some other law has determined to be confidential.”

OK then! Good time to consider attending the ETSPJ Workshop: Open records and open meetings

Where's the memo?

I would love to see any memo where Jerry instructs HIS* employees on how to handle any new requests from either Commissioners or the public.

Just 15,000 signatures

  • the Question must be a simple yes or no statement. For Example: "Are you in favor of diverting funds from Public Transportation Projects in Blount County to extending the Pellissippi Parkway to Heritage High School, instead?"
  • Acc. to a percentage rule, there should be at least 15,000 signatures with Names written specifically the same way it is on their Voter's Registration Cards, based on Blount Co.'s Population, on a petition. 10,500 is the real number, but based on statistics a few percent of Signees may have invalid registration status.
  • Representatives McCord or Overby, or Senator Finney must introduce a 'Private Act' at their General Assembly meeting, to see if Blount County should consider such a referendum--the Highway is a State Highway, that's why they must be involved. Unfortunately, it is conceivable, that friends of McCord, Overby, and Finney may fight to keep it from ever happening.
  • The Language has to be put into a non-existant County Charter. Blount County doesn't have a Charter regarding local issues on Ballots.
  • Blount County Commission has to debate and vote on the Charter.
  • Get the Referendum on the Ballot before the cut-off date.

Wake Up Call: Folks, $5.00 / gallon is just a few months away. When one weighs the cost of driving to get to work versus staying at home, the scales will soon tip to staying home. Why would one want to work all day, just to pay for the fuel to get back and forth from work? Where are the magical tax dollars gonna come from once folks cannot afford to work? $40 to $50 per fill-up, is extremely expensive, especially when there are NO alternatives. Who here goes shopping around town to compare prices anymore? Why would one spend $5.00 in fuel in order to save $4.00 on a product? Public Transportation is not just some hippie dream, Public Transportation will be the one saving grace that keeps our County Employees employed.

It is also a shame that Blount County can't clean up our act with the EPA, for there are Federal monies available that we cannot touch because of our environmental transgressions.

viva Evo Morales

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