The May Commission meeting started with one of the most despicable acts toward the citizenry of Blount County that I’ve ever witnessed. Chairman Jerome Moon ordered the citizens who were standing to clear the room while allowing uniformed armed officers to line the wall.
Citizens have historically lined the walls of county government meetings. You can pull up archived meetings from previous years to see citizens standing along the walls without being ordered to leave.
Furthermore a member of the press, Harry Grothjahn of Truth Radio, was not allowed to enter the commission meeting room except for the 3 minutes that he spoke about items on the commission agenda.
Fire codes are the excuse but if they are so important why can government employees stand along the wall in large number? No distinction was made by Chairman Moon as to off duty uniformed officers and on duty uniformed officers.
Furthermore, the citizens are smart enough to know whether they want to stand in a room or leave. Laws are used by those in authority to suppress those that they don’t agree with. The people have long stood against the walls of public building rooms. Using the fire codes to suppress free speech is the latest tool of the political machine and should not be tolerated.
Conveniently this occurred at a meeting where discussion about a new pay scale for county employees was on the agenda. The uniformed officers were able to clap for those advocating adoption of a new pay scale from an incomplete study, while the citizens opposing having their taxes raised, who weren’t able to obtain seats, were relegated to standing outside in the hallway.
One of my constituents said to me what are they (the commission) there for? It seems that some have forgotten that they are there for the people of Blount County.
This video only shows the second time that Jerome Moon ordered citizens out of the room. The first time he told them that they could stand out in the hallway while the Sheriff’s deputies could stand along the wall. Moon’s first statement was likely made prior to the meeting starting and is therefore not available as a part of the commission meeting video.