At the April 18, 2016 special called Blount County Commission meeting, a citizen named Fred Anderson spoke during public input saying that the wording of the public notice is ambiguous and that he didn’t think it complied with state law. You can read the public notice and the resolution that the commission voted on here. The meeting was called to rush through a resolution to look at expanding the jail and/or programs to appease the Tennessee Corrections Institute Board of Control. No solution Commissioner Mike Caylor called it buying time.
Anderson’s comments motivated me to reread the public notice and resolution. After reading both, I noticed that neither the title nor the be it resolved portion of the resolution mention the jail.
The title of the resolution reads:
“RESOLUTION OF THE BLOUNT COUNTY LEGISLATIVE BODY AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASING AGENT TO SOLICIT A REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS FOR ARCHITECTURAL PLANNING AND/OR DESIGN SERVICES AND/OR PROGRAMMING SERVICES FOR BLOUNT COUNTY, TN”
The resolved statements of the resolution read:
“Now therefore be it resolved by the Blount County Legislative Body assembled in special session on the 18th day of April 2016, to authorize the Purchasing Agent to solicit a Request for Qualifications for architectural planning and/or design services and/or program services.
Be it further resolved that this resolution take effect from and after its passage, and that any proper resolution to the contrary is hereby declared null and void, the public welfare requiring.”
There isn’t a word about the jail or what type of design and/or programs services are to be solicited in either the title or the resolved statements of the resolution. The only place that the jail is mentioned in the resolution is in the whereas statements. While the whereas statements describe the situation and show intent and reasons for taking action, it is the resolved statements where the commission takes formal action.
The action(s) should be precise in what the commission is attempting to do. Without any mention of the jail, the resolved statements in the resolution appear to be so broadly written as to authorize the purchasing to solicit a RFQ for architectural planning, and/or design services and/or program services for anything.
Was the resolution even necessary?
The Purchasing Agent, Katie Branham, told the Blount County Corrections Partnership (BCCP) that under the Purchasing Act of 1957, a state law, that she could issue the RFQ if the BCCP wanted her to, without commission approval. Bob Bass, of the TCI, pushed the BCCP to do it as did William Robert Kane, who puts false statements in the note section of the TCI inspection reports.
Who wrote the resolution?
Here’s the real kicker. It turns out that the Purchasing Agent wrote this resolution. She is an attorney, turned Purchasing Agent. To make matters worse she wrote that the mayor’s attorney (she called him the County Attorney) reviewed the resolution. Two attorneys reviewed this resolution. Yet, the resolved action statements don’t mention a jail or program services related to the jail and criminal justice system. Scary, but par for the course from the court house clique.
This makes me wonder why the Purchasing Agent has been so slow to issue the RFQ. How hard is it to write a resolution pertaining to the jail and programs for the criminal justice system? How hard is to the issue the RFQ? Is there something more going on here? I don’t know, but I sure am wondering about the competency of the people running the courthouse and justice center.