THE HUNTER REPORT

www:thehunterreport

 

A New Day or Business as Usual?

 

Budget Director Blair (l), County Mayor Estelle Herron (Sept. 2010 Commission meeting)

By: Pat Hunter

October 4, 2010

At least two newly elected county mayors wasted no time taking charge, keeping with campaign promises, and trying to restore the public's trust, Knox County elect Mayor Tim Burchett, and Roane County Mayor Ron Woody. Lets do some comparisons and see what the three county mayors accomplished in their first month in office.

On his first day of work Mayor Burchett said that he would lead by example. Shortly after being sworn to office, he began by making cuts in his own department. Mayor Burchett said that he planned to sell his county-supplied car, slash staff and travel allowances and overhaul the purchasing card program. Burchett said "There is no magic bullet to good government and there is no single step that will put us on a perfect financial path, but I am confident that if we remain focused on the principles that brought us here, you will stand with us and help make our county better." According to the News Sentinel story, "Burchett added that his office faces a 90 percent turnover rate and will remove three "director level positions" and "there will be an almost 50 percent change in senior level directors." If that doesn't have the attention of the voters, I don't know what will. True to his word, he sold his Tahoe and the money from the sale of the SUV went to county coffers. The Mayor also saved taxpayers money by refinancing Knox County's debt. According to Mayor Burchetts press release, ..." As one of his first major acts after taking office, Mayor Burchett moved to refinance millions in county debt, which exists in the form of bonds sold on the open market. Those bonds went to market today, and the official savings to the county will be $3,841,923 thanks to lower interest rates. The actual savings are approximately $340,000 more than the $3.5 million projected savings announced earlier this month. It’s my job to do the right thing with taxpayer money, and the right thing to do, in this case, was to get a better rate on some of our debt,” Mayor Burchett said. “These are real, meaningful savings for Knox County.” In 2008 and early 2010, Knox County undertook a total of $35,693,339 in debt. The county was locked into a 3.85 percent interest rate for the 2008 bonds, and a 4.60 percent interest rate for 2010 bonds. The new interest rate for all of the bonds is 2.51 percent. Mayor Burchett accepted the low-bid interest rate today. “That means that these savings are locked in. They are a reality for taxpayers.” Mayor Burchett said. “This is a great beginning, but we will continue to focus on our core principles of service, efficiency and savings for Knox County.” Two-thirds of the refinanced debt is related to schools. “Through this sale, we were able to take advantage of the current low interest rates to benefit Knox County and Knox County Schools,” Mayor Burchett said. The bonds were put out to bid on September 30, after commission voted, at the mayor’s request, to refinance the debt. Financial services firm Morgan Stanley will purchase the bonds from the county as the low bidder. Other bidders were Hutchinson, Shockley, Erley (2.59%); Morgan Keegan (2.59%);  Bank of America (2.65%) and Stifel Nicolaus (2.67%)." Just look at Mayor Burchett's first month as mayor and how he took advantage of low interest rates saving taxpayers lots of money!

Newly elected Roane County Mayor Ron Woody also made good on his campaign promises to make changes to the emergency management department. Roane County News sources, "Woody said emergency management director Howie Rose and assistant director Scott Stout will each have a 9 percent pay reduction. We will save enough money on the 9 percent to pay someone part time to come in and give us some leadership and direction,” Woody said. Roane County also has a vacancy in the finance department when budget director Alva Moore retired on Tuesday. Woody commented that he is not in a hurry to fill the position. “We are going to make sure we hire the right person.” 

Mayor Woody is accessible by email and the information is posted on the Roane County website. He is currently working on debt management, capital improvement plan, policies concerning take-home vehicles, cell phone usage, and monthly newsletters to keep everyone informed. Prior to being elected as mayor, Ron Woody served as County Technical Assistance Service consultant for Loudon County and other East Tennessee counties. He is also a certified public accountant.  

Don't County Officials want to hear from YOU?

Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron was sworn to office on August 30, 2010 (Monday) before a court room filled with family, friends, and citizens. Will County Mayor Herron  make a big difference just as Tim Burchett and Ron Woody; only time will tell?

At the first commission meeting held in September, Commission's first order of business was to elect a Chair (Roy Bledsoe) and Chair pro tempore (Earlena Maples). Mayor Herron named her committees and boards and Commission voted to approve her appointees. Mayor Herron encouraged attendance at committee meetings and she commented how she would rotate commissioners on the various committees but looking at some committees it looks to be pretty lopsided. Commissioner Don Miller is returning to the Budget Committee (5th year (est.) consecutively.) Commissioner Sharon Yarbrough asked about the term of the various committees, she appeared to be concerned about getting "stuck" on a committee (s). Each committee gave the length of the term in the Commission Packet, which someone pointed out to Commissioner Yarbrough. She tried to add an agenda item at the end of the meeting rather than the beginning as Chairman Roy Bledsoe pointed out.

According to TCCA (Tennessee County Commissioners Association), "The Comptroller’s Office, Division of County Audit is advising that many counties could benefit from the creation of an audit committee. These committees would be established by the county commission in compliance with Tenn. Code Ann. Section 9-3-405 and may be made up of members of the county commission, private citizens of the county, or a combination of both. The following is a summary of information from a memorandum that went out to County Mayors and Finance Directors this month from the Division of County Audit." But so far nothing has been said publicly by the county mayor and commissioners.

Mayor Herron has a golden opportunity to bring transparency to her office and administration. Mayor Herron is in charge of county office personnel including the IT Office. At the Oct. 4th meeting, Commission will consider approving $11,000 for the IT department for network service and equipment.  Several years ago, the Budget Committee recommended creating an Information Technology (IT) to provide departments with computer service and assistance and placing public information (public records) on the county gov website and to furnish and maintain email service to all county departments, personnel and officials.

But after Mayor Doyle Arp revamped the county gov website, all county commissioners email addresses were removed with no public discussion or explanation.  Only two county departments, Loudon County Property Assessor and Loudon County Election office share email contact information with the public. Email service is a quick way to communicate with officials about county business. Knox County residents are seeing positive changes in their government officials who recognize the importance of providing quality services and professionalism to county and city government and as Knox County Court Clerk Foster Arnett says on his website, why stand in line when you can go on-line? 

As of October 4, 2010, Loudon County Commission and the County Mayor's web page show no (email) information for you to contact commissioners or other elected officials and departments by email, which taxpayers pay for. Other than the names of three new commissioners, there is absolutely no contact information for Commissioners Brian Jenkins (1st District),  Sharon Yarbrough (5th District) and Stephen Harrelson (6th District).  Little has been posted by commissioners on the Loudon County Commission Forum, the Forum was approved by Commission so they could exchange ideas on the internet for public view. We keep hearing how it's a new day in Loudon County government but so far, not that we can tell! 
 

 

Please Note:

At the October 4, 2010 Loudon County Commission meeting, I requested that Commissioners consider placing their email addresses, and contact information for 3 new commissioners on the Loudon County gov Commission webpage. On October 5, 2010, the Commission website page was updated to include all contact information including email addresses for all commissioners. Thank you, Commissioners.

Pat Hunter

P.S. County Mayor Herron's webpage does not yet include her email address but hopefully in time she will add this information to her webpage so the public may communicate with her, too.  

http://www.loudoncounty-tn.gov/government/CountyMayor.php

 

 

LOUDON COUNTY MAYOR - LOUDON COUNTY COMMISSION - NO EMAIL ADDRESS (email addresses added to website October 5, 2010)

https://www.loudoncounty-tn.gov/government/CountyCommission_tab2.php

http://www.loudoncounty-tn.gov/government/CountyMayor.php

SOURCE: http://loudoncountygov-tn

COMPARE

Knox County Commissioners

http://knoxcounty.org/commission/pdfs/kccdirectory.pdf

 

 

 

 

THE HUNTER REPORT - YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW 

 

Brian A. Jenkins (District 1, Seat A)
5482 River Road
Loudon Tn. 37774
PHONE: 865-660-6074
EMAIL:bajenks@charter.net  
       

(Information obtained from campaign website)

Committees:

Adult Oriented Business Board

Capital Projects

Ethics Committee

 

EMPLOYER: CITY OF LOUDON, LOUDON POLICE DEPARTMENT

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David Meers (District 1, Seat B)
645 Fort Hill Street
Loudon, TN 37774
(865) 458-2414
EMAIL: dmeers2414@charter.net

Committees:

Agriculture Extension

Blair Bend Industrial Board

Capital Projects

Financial Advisory

Government Affairs

Litter

Purchasing

Sheriff Merit Board

Senior Citizens Executive Committee

EMPLOYER: ROANE STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE – ADJUNCT FACULTY Social Science, Business & Education

Retired Highland Park School Principal, Loudon County

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Chair pro tempore      

Earlena Maples (District 2, Seat A)
609 D Street
Lenoir City, TN 37771
(865) 986-6772

EMAIL: emaples@lcub1.com

Committees:

Financial Advisory

Government Affairs

Litter

EMPLOYER: LENOIR CITY UTILITIES BOARD

-------------------------------------------------

 

V. Austin Shaver (District 2, Seat B)
276 Hardin Drive
Lenoir City, TN 37772
(865) 816-3298

EMAIL: Austin_shaver@yahoo.com

Committees:

Adult Oriented Business Board

Budget Committee

EMPLOYER: ATTORNEY - KINNERLY, MONTGOMERY & FINLEY

Area of Practice: Employee Benefits, ERISA - Employee Retirement Income Security Act

-----------------------------------------------

Bob Franke (District 3)
100 Southcove Drive
Greenback, TN 37742
(865) 856-0303

EMAIL: rdfranke@msn.com

Committees:

Agriculture Extension

Adult Oriented Business Board

Budget Committee

Animal Control Authority Advisory Board

Government Affairs

Senior Citizens Exec. Comm.

EMPLOYER: RETIRED MILITARY

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Commission Chair

Roy H. Bledsoe (District 4)
800 Sunnyside Road
Philadelphia, TN 37846
(865) 458-2829

EMAIL:

Committees:

Agriculture Extension

Capital Projects

Ethics 

Government Affairs

Maintenance

Purchasing

Roane State Maintenance

EMPLOYER: FARMER

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Harold Duff (District, Seat A)
132 Executive Meadows Drive
Lenoir City, TN 37771
(865) 988-6647

EMAIL:  superhbd@aol.com

Committees:

Adult Oriented Business Board

Blair Bend Industrial

Capital Projects

Government Affairs

Maintenance

Purchasing

Roane State Maintenance

Senior Citizens Exec. Comm.

Tennessee County Commissioners Association (TCCA)

http://tncountycommissioners.org/index.html

EMPLOYER: LOUDON COUNTY JUVENILE CENTER

Former Lenoir City School Superintendent

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Sharon Yarbrough (District 5, Seat B)

3536 Virtue Road

Lenoir City TN  37772

PHONE: 865-850-7773

865-974-2777

E-MAIL: slyarbrough@charter.net

(Information obtained from campaign website)

Committees:

Budget Committee

Ethics

Maintenance

EMPLOYER: PELLISSIPPE STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Director of Instit Effectiveness, Research and Planning

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Stephen Harrelson (District 6)
827 Leeward Way

Lenoir City, TN 37772

Home Phone: 986-5211

EMAIL: steveharrelson@charter.net

Committees:

Blair Bend Industrial

Financial Advisory

Litter

Purchasing

EMPLOYER: CITY OF LENOIR CITY, RECREATION DEPARTMENT 

-----------------------------------------------------------

 

Don Miller (7th District)
298 Cheestana Way
Loudon, TN 37774
(865) 458-0658

EMAIL: tvdrmiller@aol.com

Committees:

Adult Oriented Business Board

Budget Committee

Economic Development Agency (EDA)

Maintenance

Sheriff Merit

EMPLOYER: RETIRED EXXON EXECUTIVE

 

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10-04-2010