Perhaps one of the worst bricks in the wall of bureaucracy in local government is the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS). On the front page of its website CTAS boldly proclaims to be “Promoting better county government through direct assistance to county officials and their associations.” This is laughable and should be removed from the website because its not true.
Wesley Robertson, the County Government Consultant for Region 2 which includes Blount County, routinely ignores my (Tona Monroe) emails. When he isn’t ignoring my emails, he is busy calling Blount County Commission Chairman Jerome Moon to give him the answers to my questions, rather than providing them to me. So much for direct assistance. CTAS is very cliquey. Picking favorites is something they do.
On a couple of occasions I’ve sent questions that I had to someone who is part of the clique and this person submits the questions to CTAS. CTAS responds promptly when this person forwards the questions to CTAS.
Furthermore, after failing to get answers from Robertson to important questions, I asked Robin Roberts the Executive Director of CTAS to allow me to consult with a CTAS attorney directly. He responded saying:
“We discontinued having our attorneys field direct questions from officials due to the number of officials and the volume of calls. We experienced many problems with the process of officials calling the attorneys directly and it reduced the level and quality of our overall service. This is a management decision and falls ultimately on my shoulders and I have very strong beliefs on the best utilization of our limited legal staff time and the large number of customers. Hopefully you can understand the limits of four attorneys trying to serve over 3,000 county officials and department heads, many state departments and other stakeholders.
If you have questions you do not believe to be resolved by Wesley, you can email or call me after your contact with Wesley. We are trying to serve Blount County to our best ability.”
Thus, the attorneys aren’t directly available to provide assistance. You can see that the email address for the attorneys aren’t available online.
Of course the statement about contacting Robin Roberts when Wesley Robertson doesn’t responded sounds good but it doesn’t mean anything either. Notice that Roberts said I could email or call him after contacting Wesley but he didn’t say anything about actually responding. Despite the initial anomalous response, Roberts doesn’t respond either.
A more accurate statement would read, “Promoting the status quo in county government through communication with those who are a part of our clique.”