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Apr 11 2008

For those tuning in late, part one of this issue can be found at (link...)

Let's start this with the DT's coverage of the April County Commission WorkSession

(link...) Headlined as Commission to decide on construction of new 9-1-1 center

Commission to decide what?

The Blount County Commission will decide whether to grant approval to plans to build a new 9-1-1 center at the Sheriff’s Office training facility at its April 17 meeting.

Ah, approval to plans! WHAT plans?

General Sessions Judge William Brewer has asked the commission to approve the concept.

“We just need some blessing for placing the facility on county property,” said Commissioner Scott Helton,

Lovely! The Emergency Communications District (ECD) is asking for blessings for a concept!

How much is that going to cost us?

To better understand just what an ECD is, open your handy copy of the 2007 Annual Blount County audit (link...) and turn to pdf page 115. This EDC functions much the same way the Industrial Development Board, the County schools, the County Hospital, the Children's Home and the soon to be defunct PBA do. Sort of as in give us X amount of county money then you can't tell us what to do.

Here is the problem. The ECD wants blessings to build their building on county land. Land that is right up next to the Alcoa-Maryville Landfill. The basement will be owned by the ECD, the land by Blount County and that there requirement for the Air National Guard's 3,500 square feet of space will be on top of the ECD basement- but the shell won't cost we taxpayers a thing since it is all going to be built with drug funds.

Confused yet? I hope you are and I sure hope our County Commission is as well.

One really big factor I have heard no one in power talk about is the very idea that anyone would want to work underground next to the landfill. Would you? If you think this is a fine idea then kindly, please, tell me what it is that turns those retention ponds at the dump that neon shade of green.


The A,B,C and D's of an Asheville piece

(link...) as referenced in an article written by The Daily Times; (link...)

Based on recommendations from jail designers, the 302-capacity jail should have 80 cameras for observation and safety, he said. “On one day (The Facility Group) cut out 60 cameras,” he said. “We were left with 20 cameras. We’re experiencing a lawsuit right now, because we didn’t have camera in the pat-down area.”

A. The sheriff heads a department responsible for at least one broken arm while in BCSO custody, and the fault lies with a construction company?

B. The mayor shut down the PBA so developers and other elements of the machine could have their way. The PBA was set up to control spending on the Justice Center.

“Even today we’re experiencing” problems, he said. “We put in substandard elevators. We don’t have water fountains anywhere in the sheriff’s department.

With oversight, if this is what happened in '98/99, can you imagine what's going to happen down at the dump with no oversight? It's a dump alright - AKA a taxpayer money pit.

C. $350K for road surveillance (link...) - but none for the house

Berrong said: “In any corrections facility, the pat-down room and your intake is the most vulnerable part. We wanted four cameras in the intake and one in the pat down. We got one bad-angle camera” to cover both areas.

When did we learn this, before or after? (link...)
No cameras by forced builder omission? Apparently the only people in years to keep the sheriff from getting what he wants are the folks at Facility Group. Maybe we can get an executive list and see if some of the soon to be jobless want to run for office. I figure we'll have spots for them, as some of our guys are going to Nashville to fight corruption.

What do you bet we still don't have cameras in the pat down room since the incident with Mr. Southerland?

Regardless, if we had taken less than 1% of the $367,000 it took to buy a luxury RV and a hostage phone for the sheriffs department, we could have gone to Sam's and bought a system (link...). But hey, Sam's is in Knoxville, to far to drive to buy a camera or use a driving track or a firing range.

What's that Wheel Tax business again? More money for what? We're building what for why? These are all simple questions with no obvious answers. At least none that you'll hear in a public setting.

D. Was this the first time Facility Group was involved in bribery?

Not sure if they did it

Not sure if they did it before. But this is how they did it; (link...)

According to the indictment, Moultrie allegedly instructed his employees invited to the fundraiser to issue $1,000 personal checks to "the public official's campaign," telling them they would be reimbursed. Moultrie then paid back his employees by allegedly making it appear to be a legitimate bonus to the employee's salary, the indictment charges.

George Sewell, general counsel for Facility Group, said he could not comment on the specifics of the case for fear of risking a contempt of court charge.

Facility Group attempted to recoup the campaign money from August 2003 to March 2004 with false labor billings to the beef plant's board, the indictment charges.

According to the indictment, Moultrie issued a $20,000 check on August 13, 2003 and a $25,000 check in September 30, 2003 to "the public official" through Facility Group's Political Action Committee.

Blessings for concept is on the CC April Agenda

6. Approval of concept for new E-911 facility.


1.a general notion or idea; conception.

Translation for Blount County- as long as it is on record the blame for whatever happens can be pointed at an under informed County Commission. The same County Commission which will raise taxes to pay any mistakes made with this concept.

Since it is well know that folks like to ask the Commission for permission after the fact- is the hole for this basement already dug?

Basement Parapsychology Laboratory

From what I've heard, since the basement of the new facilty, will have green goo eminating from the Walls; BCSO plans on putting a Parapsychology Laboratory there, so they will be able to study Paranormal evidence found throughout the County. Chief John Logan's ghost re-surfaces every now and then, along with other apparitions of the Watauga era.

viva Evo Morales

They forget themselves

Since it is well know that folks like to ask the Commission for permission after the fact..

For those who don't get the whole build first, ask permission later; see http://www.blounttn.net/Another$250000.htm ; (link...)

What neither article mentions, is that the track was already being constructed when the Sheriff asked for the money. If doing "his" business with "his"* money is best done before approval, why does he even seek it? Oh, that's right, the blank check that is 11-12 of our commissioners is too much to pass up.

*"Every dollar is from the drug fund," Sheriff James Berrong said. "It is money that was seized from drug dealers. There is no public tax money involved."

Again, if it's money collected in the name of "The People" than it's "The People's" money. Every element of a drug investigation uses tax dollars. From the investigation, arrest, incarceration, treatment, trial, etc. etc. - IT'S ALL TAX PAYER FUNDED! And it's all a loss to the taxpayer, as it has been repeated over and over by the sheriff, this is money he gets use as he sees fit. The cost never comes back to the tax rolls. We pay for it, and the sheriff gets the reward in the form of driving tracks, mobile command units, $17,000 hostage phones, etc. etc.

And in case your not tired of the waste (yet), at least please tell your commissioners that you are tired of hearing elected officials refer to YOUR money as THEIRS.

My money?

Right! I love Enron style of accounting! If it cost the county zero dollars to hunt down and prosecute drug criminals then it would be FREE money. We all know that is not the case at all.

I hope some citizens go to tonight's budget committee meeting. They should be starting on the yearly budget about now.

public notice
the blount county government budget committee will meet on monday, april 14, 5:30 p.m. in room 430 at the blount county courthouse, maryville, tennessee.
roy crawford, jr.
blount county clerk

It will be fun* to hear talk about how that new jail pod will bring in more FREE* money!

Just say NO !


Not that most County Commissioners don't know this already BUT when Berrong or fellow commissioner Helton ask for ANYTHING the answer is NO! For two who barely made it out of high school, taxpayers should be questioning EVERY penny they want.

Is the feds really paying for themselves

Is there anyway to look at the amount of money brought in by housing federal prisoners and the amount that the county has to pay to house the federal prisoners? I continually hear that housing federal prisoners is a money boom for the county, but I would like to see figures. Who should I ask for the information (and please don't say Bennett).


Come on FarmerJohn! You know it is FREE* money! Why, let's look at how FREE* it really is!


Intergovernmental Service Agreements for Detention Facilities

The USMS houses approximately 53,000 detainees throughout the nation and is responsible for their detention from the time they are brought into federal custody until they either are acquitted or incarcerated. To house the detainees, the USMS often executes Intergovernmental Service Agreements with state and local governments to rent jail space. According to the USMS, 75 percent of the detainees in USMS custody are detained in state, local, and private facilities.

During this reporting period, we completed an audit of an IGA that the USMS awarded to the Blount County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office for the housing and transportation of federal detainees. The BOP also housed prisoners at the facility under the terms of the IGA between the USMS and the Sheriff's Office. Our audit determined that the Sheriff's Office's allowable costs did not support the jail daily rate paid by the USMS and the BOP for FYs 2003 and 2004 and the first 8 months of FY 2005. During this period, the USMS could have saved more than $1.2 million by paying the audit calculated rate instead of the rate it agreed to, while the BOP could have saved more than $36,000. In addition, the USMS could have saved more than $730,000 by paying the audit calculated rate for the period June 1, 2005, through September 30, 2005. The BOP could have saved over $17,000 by paying the audit determined rate for the same time period. Both the USMS and the BOP currently are preparing responses to the OIG.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... they say the audit is MOOT but for the record- the federal record- it it still listed as an unresolved federal audit.

FYI- those federal dollars are just like county money. It does not belong to the county nor the feds- it is OUR money period.

Anybody that thinks Blount

Anybody who thinks Blount Co. should get deeper into the prisoner business ought to go take a Sunday afternoon drive around Morgan Co.

Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her...

This page (link...) has the total number of county crimes listed for Blount County under the heading; Crime in 2005 (reported by the sheriff's office or county police, not the county total): as 2,023 total

Lets say the percentage of crimes committed under the influence are correctly stated here: (link...) at 33%.

That means 668 people are our counties criminal drug problem. Now, take $800K in missing cars, $350K mobile command unit, $250K driving track, $800K in a firing range and maintenance, tens of thousands in pay raises for cops who gave fake degrees to get them (link...), and whatever this "blessed" building that the ECD and Guard have use of, but we maintain the liability costs - I'm guessing we are in the $4 to $8 million range. Sorry I can't narrow that down any better, it's hard to put a price on a blessed concept.

I will be conservative in my estimate and say it's just three mil..., wait, instead I'll be conservative like the Republican conservatives on the commission, you know, the ones always nodding - and say $5 million.

Take $5 million worth of "drug money" i.e. my and your tax dollars, just like all other monies and property our government collects, and spend it on drug treatment for the 668. That would be $7485 worth of drug counseling or rehab for each of the 668. Say it worked on half. That leaves 334 criminal drug types on the streets with 115,000 of the rest of us. Think we can handle them?

No, instead, let's just buy or build something else. Maybe something to lock up more people in. God bless America...,

Scales of Reason reaching a tipping point?

Something I stumbled on in the middle of the city-data page under the section titled Blount County government finances in 2004:
Police Protection: $7,317,000
Corrections - Other: $5,927,000

Those numbers were from 4 years ago. I wonder today how close we are to spending more OF OUR OWN tax money on criminals than we are law abiding citizens?

BTW - don't be fooled if you start seeing our sheriff back in uniform. Word is JJ Jones in Knox county has found it to be a popular move (link...) . Problem is, our brass has found that their suits fit - so now they must wear them. Anything other would be an insult to all the Blount cops who wear the uniform everyday.

Weigh-in City of Mur'ville!


Why the deafening silence on this issue from the cities of Maryville, Alcoa, Maryville College and Blount Memorial Hospital? You cannot convince me the cities want a penitentiary in their community much less in the backyard of a "picturesque" college.

If they would step up, the sheriff would be forced to stand-down.

And two buildings it is!


Judge William R. Brewer, board chairman, said their architect and the sheriff’s office architect have discussed the building plans and it was decided it would be more feasible to build two buildings on the property.

ok then.. that should cost about 1.8 million, eh? Great concept!

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