Chairman Jerome Moon orders standing citizens to clear commission chamber while letting uniformed officers line the wall

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.

9 thoughts on “Chairman Jerome Moon orders standing citizens to clear commission chamber while letting uniformed officers line the wall

  1. Ms. Monroe,
    With all due respect, you fail to mention that the uniformed officers who were sitting down in the commission room graciously STOOD UP to allow those individuals who did not have a seat to sit down. YOU FAIL TO MENTION THIS BECAUSE IT DOES NOT FURTHER YOUR SOVEREIGN CAUSE. You were there. You saw it. If you are going to disseminate information, disseminate ALL the information. As far as Harry Grothjahn is concerned, he knew that meeting would be full. He should have gotten there earlier.

    • Ms. O’Briant, your response presupposes a couple of things. You say that Harry Grothjahn knew the meeting would be full and should have gotten there early. I have to wonder how you think he would know that. How was he suppose to know that the room would be full and that those left standing would be ordered out of the room?

      Telling citizens to leave the commission room has not been routine procedure at commission meetings thankfully. I been attending commission meetings for several years and have never been given any advance notice that a meeting would be full, either as a citizen or now as a commissioner. Furthermore, I’ve never been told that citizens would have to leave if they didn’t get there early and get a seat.

      You say that I saw uniformed officers give up their seats to individuals. I did not see this. I saw people leave the commission room after being ordered to leave. However after receiving your comment, I asked some people who were in attendance at the meeting what they saw. A couple of people saw a few uniformed officers get up and give their seats to some standing officers not in uniforms. This was convenient since only uniformed personnel were allowed to line the wall.

      This is all beside the point though. Standing citizens were ordered to leave the room. Uniformed officers were allowed to remain standing along the wall. These were not just commission room security officers. There is usually about half a dozen officers or less, uniformed officers, present for security purposes.

      I want to be clear that I am not saying that the officers shouldn’t be there. As I said previously, “the citizens are smart enough to know whether they want to stand in a room or leave.” The same is true for officers. I say let them all pack the room. Let everyone be heard and let them stand if they want to. Don’t make some leave the room and not the rest. Everyone should be treated equally.

  2. Pingback: Sheriff’s Department spokesperson responds to post on Chairman Moon ordering standing citizens to leave commission room | Blount County (BC) Public Record

  3. Pingback: May 2015 Commission Report | Blount County (BC) Public Record

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  5. ” The uniformed officers were able to clap for those advocating adoption of a new pay scale from an incomplete study…”

    Now, those of us who have been to commission meetings in the recent past know that clapping or voicing support of anything is not permitted – unless of course you are commanded to clap by the chairperson recognizing some personal order. If you clap on command you are “being a good citizen”. If you express any support for advocates or a measure the tax masters do not like you are “impeding county business” and are threatened with removal by the uniformed officers. It appears that wearing a badge and gun makes some citizens more equal than others.

    Of course, this is the privilege you are allowed only after you have been disarmed outside the door by the same uniformed officers. I guess now it is just “too dangerous” to hold public meetings at all. Just pay your taxes and keep your mouth shut.

    The hallway outside is the means of egress for the commission room. If you want to claim standing in the room is a fire code problem, so is blocking up the means of egress from that room-whether that blockage is citizens kicked out of the public meeting (to keep them ‘safe’) – or the tables and metal detectors used to disarm them.

  6. The fire code mentioned, is that State Fire Code, or County/City fire code? If it is not State fire code, then T.C.A. § 8-44-102(a) supersedes that code, as State law always trumps County, or City law.

  7. Maryville is an “exempt” jurisdiction, meaning they have their own construction plans review and codes enforcement and they must adopt codes within 7 years of the state’s current adopted revision of the International Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, Fuel Gas and Energy Conservation Codes. They also must select to enforce either the International Fire Code or NFPA1 (which incorporates almost all the NFPA standards). Assembly occupancies (like the courthouse) with greater than 300 occupants still fall under state jurisdiction, even if located in an “exempt” jurisdiction.

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