The Blount County Agenda Committee is a good meeting to watch to see you local government in action. Several of the incumbents seeking reelection must be feeling heat for their actions because Agenda Committee Chairman Grady Caskey started the meeting by reading a statement about the role of the Agenda Committee. He continued lecturing commissioners throughout the meeting and ruled with an iron fist. The treatment of a citizen and a couple of commissioners made this one of the worst meetings that I’ve witnessed in the 10 years that I’ve been attending Blount County government meetings.
For years, courthouse clique commissioners have defended their yes votes at the Agenda Committee meeting by saying that their voting to move something forward doesn’t mean that they’re actually for what they move forward. At the very meeting where Chairman Caskey chose to lecture the commissioners on the role of the Agenda Committee, the courthouse clique/political machine/good ole’ boys/establishment/swamp creature/status quo commissioners voted against even moving forward a resolution requesting that the county be assigned new auditors after having the same auditors for over a decade.
Harry Grothjahn spoke in favor of the resolution requesting new auditors. Commissioner Ron French objected to Grothjahn sharing a conversation he had with the Comptroller’s Office about the purpose of audits. Commissioner French’s objection was the Grothjahn’s sharing of that conversation was hearsay. The first amendment includes the petitioning of government for a redress of grievances. When a citizen has a grievance with their government, it is right for them to share that grievance and ask the government redress it. Apparently Commissioner French doesn’t even want a citizen mentioning their grievances with government.
Furthermore, the practice of cutting my microphone off returned this month. This meeting is a great examples of a chairman’s abuse of authority. Chairman Caskey cut my microphone off for discussing the hypocrisy in the resolution of wanting more local control but asking for the state to “significantly increase funding.” Caskey lectured the commissioners about what they were voting on. Does Caskey think that commissioners, with only have 5 months left in their 4 year term, don’t understand the makeup of a resolution and what they’re voting on?
Commissioner Mike Akard pointed out that Caskey had a conflict of interest, when he cut my microphone off, because he is a sponsor to the resolution. Caskey lacks the objectivity to be a chairperson. Unfortunately Caskey isn’t the only chairman to prohibit me from speaking. Rick Carver, Chairman of the Blount County Corrections Partnership, and former Commission Chairman Jerome Moon have also cut me off. These men have all used their positions of authority to stifle those they disagree with. Some of this resulted from the repeated objections from Andy Allen, Dave Bennett, Mike Caylor and Ron French.
What else is to be expected from Caskeu who insulted people by saying that peopole need to either be educated or jailed. He obviously doesn’t think much of all the hard working people who did finish high school but have paid the taxes for him to live on the government funded gravy train. He is the former President of the Blount County Education Association (BCEA) commonly called the teachers union. He has spent much of his life advocating taking more of your money. He was elected four years ago because his opponent died during the election and his name was the only name on the ballot.
I apologize to the citizens of Blount County for not making a statement at the end of the meeting about the treatment of the citizen sharing his experience with government. I had intended to make a statement but this and Caskey’s poor treatment of his fellow commissioners left me drained at the end of meeting and it slipped my mind.
If Commissioner French isn’t willing to listen to what the citizens have to say and Commissioner Caskey isn’t willing to listen to what the commissioners have to say, neither have any business being Blount County Commissioners. Both have challengers. Those living in district 8 can vote for Jeff Jopling for Blount County Commissioner and those living in district 9 can vote for Tracie Livesay for Blount County Commissioner.
Commissioners voting against asking for new auditor on regular basis include Andy Allen, Archie Archer, Brad Bowers, Shawn Carter, Rick Carver, Grady Caskey, Mike Caylor, Tom Cole, Dodd Crowe, Ron French, Scott King, Mike Lewis, Kenneth Melton, Brian Robbins and Tom Stinnett