The local paper had a quote from Mayor Ed Mitchell in the Saturday paper saying, “There has been no conversation between me, the sheriff, nor anyone else about building a jail. You’ve heard so many people out there say that we’re wanting to build a jail. You’re listening to one person who is giving fact-less information, disseminating it to the public with no basis.”
Fact #1: State record mentions conversation between mayor and sheriff
The mayor says there has been no conversation between him and the sheriff about building a jail and that one person is giving fact-less information to the public. Let’s compare what he said with the minutes of the September 2, 2015 Tennessee Corrections Institute Board of Control meeting. Statements attributed to Sheriff James Berrong appear to contradict what the mayor told the Blount Partnership/Chamber of Commerce.
“Sheriff Berrong said he addressed the board three years ago and at that time said that the mayor did not think he had a problem but rather thought the sheriff had a problem. Since that time, the mayor is on board 100 percent and called the sheriff the previous day and told the sheriff that one million dollars had been escrowed and earmarked for a new jail and plan to do the same thing next year. The sheriff said they are making great strides and progress with cooperation between the jail and the mayor’s office. He added that they also have a commission that does not believe there is a problem.”
Well gee mayor, did that conversation happen or not? A state record says it did.
Fact #2: Mayor called a special commission meeting with a resolution to authorize a request for qualifications (RFQ) pertaining to the jail
Mayor Ed Mitchell called a special session meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Blount County, Tennessee in April of this year. The agenda contained one item: a resolution to authorize the purchasing agent to solicit a request for qualifications for architectural planning and/or design services and/or programming services for Blount County, Tennessee.
Well gee mayor, did you call a meeting to put the RFQ resolution before the commission without talking to anyone, including the sponsors of the resolution?
Fact #3: The RFQ project overview says county is seeking services to plan and design a jail expansion
The project overview in the RFQ says, “Blount County Government is soliciting Requests for Qualifications from licensed Architectural and/or Engineering firms for professional services necessary to plan and design a jail expansion for Blount County, Tennessee.” See page 9 for the quote. Under Proposal Award it says, “Once an agreement is reached, the Purchasing Agent will then request that the full Blount County Commission approve a multi-year contract.” See page 16 for that quote.
Well gee mayor, did you call a meeting to have the commission vote on an RFQ to seek services to plan and design a jail expansion without talking to anyone about it?
What kind of leader would assign $1 million of fund balance and call a meeting to seek commission approval for issuing a document that says the county is requesting qualifications for services to plan and design a jail expansion without talking about it? Were there no conversations or is someone not telling the truth?