Native Blount Countian takes the Mayor, School Officials and DA to task over political meetings

This is the off the agenda statement of Susie Bowman at the July 17, 2014 Blount County Commission meeting.

I am Susie Myers Bowman, 70 year old NATIVE of Townsend, TN. 44yr resident, same address in District 2, Alcoa.

MANY NATIVE Blount Countians….as well as the “transplants” mentioned in the July 4th article in The Daily Times are indeed AWAKENING to the travesties perpetrated against Blount County taxpayers.

The Mayor attacked newcomers. Mayor, don’t you understand, many of those newcomers come here and buy houses providing badly needed work for our unemployed construction workers. Several of my relatives make their living in construction. They were born here. They like newcomers. They don’t like you driving people away.

The Mayor & other Blount County officials called “faculty meetings” at 21 schools prior to the May 6 Primary Election. These political discussion meetings were NOT voluntary attendance (a violation). By their own admission in recorded evidence, they clearly violated more than one TCA law by using their official positions (a violation) in attempting to “educate the staff on the sales tax referendum” as well as addressing other political topics such as refuting “nearly a quarter billion dollars in debt” and inappropriate statements concerning more than one candidate for County Commissioner without providing an equal opportunity for opposing candidate(s) or position(s) to present their case as prescribed by Tennessee state law!

When the Mayor addressed the allegations in the media, he stated that the County Attorney had determined that no laws were violated! Blatantly false! There is no such official position as County Attorney in the Blount County Government!

It is entirely clear the Mayor and other “public servants” involved in these (& other horrific abuses of their oath of office that have recently come to light) cannot effectively cope with the stress levels incurred when confronted with actual FACTS concerning their actions. If there was anything resembling JUSTICE regarding the political machine in Blount County, significant prosecutorial action would be currently underway and in the obvious absence of such, if the Mayor & other involved parties had any sense of scruples they would resign their respective offices IMMEDIATELY!

The RESPONSE:

Well, as one might have expected—

The people who have been witnessing the abuses by the board were glad to see some of it addressed. Of course, there were a lot of government employees in attendance, those wanting the Kronos 2.2 million total computer overall which will end up being likely 2-3 times that initial estimate. They had the Kronos ‘salesman’ there and Jim Folts made everyone aware that that is all he was. They had NO ONE designated to head up the major project, could not answer specific pertinent questions regarding design for the roll-out or anything one would NEED to KNOW prior to embarking upon such an expensive major project. Jim Folts (made his living with his expertise of computer technology) suggested that choosing to upgrade one department at a time would be the wise thing to do rather than attempting a complete upgrade all at one time. Only about 3 voted against the expenditure (Burchfield, Folts & Murrell). It actually sounds like another ‘ObamaCare’ fiasco.

Monica Murrell voted against it. She is not going to be on the commission next term, having chosen NOT to serve again. She came up to me as I was going out of the building following the meeting and said she was glad I had spoken and that I did a fine job with my delivery. On occasion, over this past term, she would vote with Jim Folts to TRY to bring some restraint to the SPENDING and curtail the obvious deceptive violations of actual Tennessee law. No doubt, the corrupt ‘machine’ gave her a rough time for not consistently ‘toeing their line’.

Doug and Abby came as moral support for me. Mike had invited several of his friends who also came. The room was packed with mostly county employees who LIKE getting a BONUS. The Mayor’s secretary (who makes around 52 grand/year) of course stood to deny there is a ‘political machine’ in our county and government is being run by fine people. Phyllis Crisp (who had also received a hefty pay raise) voiced her commendation of our fine mayor and commission. What would one expect them to say?

Commissioner French got up attempting to refute my assertions that TCA had been violated, but he only read a portion of the law that was NOT the part that clearly states otherwise. Mike raised his hand (wanting to quote the entire law) but they would not call him up to speak.

Several rose to speak nice supportive commendations for the dedicated service of Jim Folts. One man (a machine reporter) said he was ‘glad to see Jim Folts go and good riddance’. Some applause from county workers upon hearing that very RUDE remark about such a fine wise man who has always said and done what would be in the best interest of the TAX PAYING citizens.

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Read more about the meetings here.

2 thoughts on “Native Blount Countian takes the Mayor, School Officials and DA to task over political meetings

  1. Facts (irrefutable) in evidence:

    Prior to the May 6th Election, the Mayor and a number of County Commissioners seeking re-election were directly involved (by their own admission as substantiated by audio recording) in Mandatory Faculty Meetings at all 21 Blount County Schools (outside of normal school hours). -CLEAR & ADMITTED VIOLATIONS of Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) laws!

    These meetings were held on publicly owned property (schools) in CLEAR VIOLATION of TCA 2-19-206-b!

    The attendance of faculty members was mandatory in CLEAR VIOLATION of TCA 2-19-202-b!

    The Mayor was acting in his official capacity as Mayor in CLEAR VIOLATION of TCA 2-19-202-a

    The Commissioners were acting in their official capacity as Commissioners in CLEAR VIOLATION of TCA 2-19-202-a

    At least one Commissioner, an actual member of Education Committee of County Commission, was not invited to ANY of these 21 mandatory “Faculty Meetings”…not even those in his own district….yet others in support of the material were invited/present/participating in CLEAR VIOLATION of TCA 2-19-206-b!

    The attendees were “educated” on a matter up for referendum in the May 6th Election without ANY opportunity for opposing views to be presented in CLEAR VIOLATION of TCA 2-19-206-b!

    The attendees were also subjected to political rhetoric concerning the county’s debt with the Mayor specifically refuting statements made by candidates for County Commissioner that were opposing the County Commissioners seeking reelection that were present/participants in these meetings by directly referring to the statements as “lies” and then proceeding to “educate” the attendees with his propaganda concerning said debt (admitted in audio recording). In fact, the Mayor was actually misleading the attendees concerning the debt according to the official Tennessee state Audit Report….all in the attempt to coerce those in attendance to vote for the candidates the Mayor preferred in CLEAR VIOLATION of TCA 2-19-202-a!

    Details alleged, but not yet substantiated with irrefutable proof:

    Faculty members that were required to attend the mandatory meetings were promised appropriations of public funds for their schools/projects if they voted as directed and threatened if they shared details of these meetings with others or publicly supported opposing candidates/position.

    Tennessee State Laws CLEARLY VIOLATED:

    Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)
    2-19-206-b

    Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)
    2-19-202-a
    2-19-202-b

    Additional Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) laws of concern (that may well have been violated, but as of yet no irrefutable evidence is available to publish):

    Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)
    2-19-134-a
    2-19-134-b
    If the attendees were indeed in any way threatened (employment) concerning the attempt to coerce them to vote a certain way.

    Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)
    2-19-204
    If the attendees were indeed in any way promised any sort of appropriations or favor in the attempt to coerce them to vote a certain way.

    Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)
    2-19-205
    If the attendees were indeed in any way threatened that they would be deprived of any sort of appropriations or favor in the attempt to coerce them to vote a certain way.

    Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)
    2-19-207-a
    If “employee of the state” includes county officials as well, the Mayor & all involved Commissioners acting in their official capacities would be in violation of this law as well as above listed violations.

  2. Susie did an excellent job of taking the Mayor to task for violations of the law. It was even more powerful because she is not a “regular” speaker at these county meetings and it proved that we’re not just the same handful of people who find fault. We need more people doing the same.

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