Elected Officials and Department Heads are giving themselves huge pay raises

At the Budget Committee on Monday I spoke about the outrageous pay raises that some elected officials and Department heads are giving themselves in the fiscal year 2015 budget, which runs July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.  My comments fell upon deaf ears, as did all the comments from the citizens.  This is disturbing because two elected officials, receiving big pay raises, like to use their employees to demagogue for more money.

As usual Sheriff James Lee Berrong (Bewrong) came to the meeting asking for a pay raise for his employees.  He could start with the $18,773 raise he has given himself over the past two years.  That $18,773 could provide a nearly $1,000 pay raise to 19 employees.  The money is there Jimbo.  Why are you giving it to yourself?  You live on Lambert Acres Golf Course.  That would still leave you with a $99,063 salary, free car and gas and the most generous health care plan from any employer that I know of.

Then there’s Register of Deeds Phyllis Crisp who should be given the Blount County drama queen award.  She flapped her jaws, devoid of facts, and complained about the people who stand up to the good ole’ boys.  She is giving herself a $6,105 pay raise for FY 15 over FY 13, for a desk job where she sits in an air condition room and will make over $80,000 and have one of the most generous benefit packages on the planet.  Her husband Tony Crisp is the Chief of Police of Maryville, so she’s not hurting for money either.  Crisp made the statement at the Budget meeting that it takes years to train her employees.  That means that she is either doing a lousy job training her employees or she has incompetent employees, and I don’t think the problem is the latter.

So we have the County Sheriff and the wife of the Chief of Police feeding at the taxpayer trough.  If they really care so much about the men in uniforms on the streets, they wouldn’t hog all the bacon for themselves.  There’s plenty of fat to trim and it will start as soon as Bewrong and drama queen Crisp look in the mirror or when the County Commission grows a spine.  Don’t look for either to happen anytime soon.  The solution?  Show up at the Commission meeting on Monday June 30th at 6 PM and let them know that the buck stops with the Commission and they need to trim the fat from the good ole’ boys.

Important facts to keep in mind: The Mayor nominates the Commissioners to serve on the Budget Committee.  This Budget Committee originally sent a budget requiring $4.5 million use of fund balance from the General County without a recommendation to the County Commission.  The Mayor failed to properly hold a budget hearing.  The Mayor sent an illegible notice to the paper for publication about the public hearing.  The Mayor had to reschedule another budget hearing because the first one that he had was illegal, under the budgeting law.  This incompetent Budget Committee falls squarely at the feet of the incompetent Mayor.

Here’s a list of most Department heads and elected officials.  The County Buildings supervisor is not included because the numbers listed in the budget do not match the payroll earnings for the current and past years.  I am seeking clarification on this and will update this post when I have the information.

Official FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 1 Year 2 Year 
Accounting & Budgeting $84,298 $87,866 $90,511 3.01% 7.37%
Animal Control $4,167* $51,000 $52,500 2.94% *
Circuit Court Clerk $75,048 $78,508 $89,269 13.71% 18.95%
Civil Defense $58,580 $59,050 $57,050 -1.12% -2.61%
Clerk & Master Chancery Court $75,048 $78,508 $81,153 3.37% 8.13%
Commission Salaries^ $102,060 $102,060 $102,060 0% 0%
Co. Clerk $75,048 $78,508 $81,153 3.37% 8.13%
Data Processing $87,308 $89,120 $88,120 -1.12% 1.00%
Development $61,025 $64,000 $68,000 6.25% 11.43%
Election Commission $67,543 $70,657 $73,038 3.37% 7.52%
General Sessions Judges $153,231 $156,449 $158,796 1.50% 3.63%
Highway Superintendent $82,553 $86,359 $98,197 13.70% 19%
Mayor $104,340 $108,813 $123,727 13.70% 18.60%
Planning $70,086 $71,086 $70,086 -1.41% 0%
Probation Administrator $56,250 $66,000 $65,000 -1.52% 15.56%
Property Assessor $75,048 $78,508 $81,153 3.37% 8.13%
Purchasing $52,250 $56,548 $55,548 1.77% 6.31%
Records $41,624 $42,624 $41,624 2.35% 0%
Risk Management $61,992 $63,243 $62,243 -1.58% 1.00%
Register of Deeds $75,048 $78,508 $81,153 3.37% 8.13%
Sheriff $99,063 $103,630.80 $117,836 13.71% 18.95%
Soil Conservation $47,954 $49,205 $48,205 2.03% 1.00%
Trustee $75,048 $78,508 $81,153 3.37% 8.13%
Veterans Services $44,750 $51,000 $50,000 1.96% 11.73%
*No paid director for most of FY 13.  Staff was paid from part time personnel, overtime and other salaries & wages.
*AC Director, Part Time Personnel, Overtime, Other Salaries & Wages $118,152 $160,949 $164,300 2.08% 39.06%
^This is the salary for all 21 Commissioners combined.
Note: General County employees received a $1,000 bonus in FY 14.  They did not take a pay cut if their salary is $1,000 less in FY 15.
Rate of inflation is approximately 3.6% for 2012 to present.

Watch the entire meeting.

Doug Overbey is the most liberal Republican in Nashville

This comes as no surprise to anyone that pays attention to State politics.  The only other politician to receive a negative score denoting being to the left is the former Republican, Kent Williams who was kicked out of the Republican Party.

This rating system isn’t entirely accurate, because the political spectrum is not linear, but it’s good enough to accurately reflect what we all know about Senator Doug Overbey.  Beth Harwell is hardly one of the farthest right Republican, like this rating system shows.  She’s declared herself a globalist.  Her rating may be boosted by the fact that she abstains frequently from voting, which the Speaker can do.

See the rankings here:

http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/06/11/how-partisan-are-your-states-legislators/

Are the good ole’ boys of the political machine sexist?

At the last minute, a woman named Helen Abbott has filed to run as a write-in candidate against Karen Miller who won the Republican nomination for District 4 Seat B on the County Commission.  After the primaries, three women were set to take office in September, but the political machine of Blount County has produced write-in candidates against 2 of the 3 women.  The third women, Tona Monroe, faces no challenger.  It’s likely because the political machine views this Tona Monroe as the strongest of the 3 and doesn’t believe that they can defeat Tona, while viewing Jamie Daly and Karen Miller as weak women.

You may be saying, well Helen Abbott is a woman, but that may be exactly what the machine wants to avoid the appearance of being anti-women.  Helen Abbott has worked for the good ole’ boys for years.  Furthermore, it’s probably all the machine could find before the filing deadline today.

Four years ago, Wendy Pitts-Reeves was the machine’s biggest political target.  This time Linda King and Tona Monroe were the biggest political targets.  The attacks against Tona slowed down after media coverage of the chain saw massacre of her signs, until election day when The Daily Times decided to do the soft hit piece on her and husband.  The machine went full throttle against Linda King, with Gary Farmer stealing her sign and a series of meetings that appear to be illegal.

Write-in candidates against Jamie Daly and Karen Miller appear to be the latest good ole’ boy misogynist actions of the Blount County political machine.

2014 Blount County Employees Salaries

Here’s a list of earning for Blount County employees in FY 2014.  This report was generated in April.  Thus, you will see the annual earnings as well as what they were paid up to that point.  Additionally you can see which employees received a bonus and which ones did not.  There is roughly 12 pages of employees making $50,000+ annually.

FY 2014 employee earning
FY 2013 earnings
FY 2006-2009 earnings

Commission in violation of State budget law

The Budget Committee failed to have a public hearing on the annual budget as required by State law.  Commissioner Jim Folts pointed this out at the Agenda meeting on Tuesday.  Rather than taking his advice of sending it back to the Budget Committee, the Commission choose to enrich attorney Craig Garrett’s wallet by getting his opinion and then sending the budget back to the Budget Committee.  Another example of waste.

A new Budget Committee public hearing is set for Monday the 23rd at 6:30 and the Commission will be meeting on June 30th at 6 PM to discuss the budget.  The regular monthly Commission meeting will occur on the 19th, without the annual budget.

The Mayor is responsible for this problem.  He chooses the Budget Committee.  His Budget Committee sent the unbalanced budget to the Commission without a recommendation.  He failed to have the public hearing and he failed to put a legible public notice with important required numbers in the paper.  Despite his multiple failures to comply with the law, he is proposing giving himself a $14,914 pay raise this year after taking a $4,473 pay raise last year.  That’s a 18.6% increase in two years, bring his annual salary to $123,727.  His Budget Director and “Assistant” Mayor will make $90,511 if the Commission approves the proposed budget, which is a 7.37% increase over the past 2 years.

10th District Commission Rematches

Neither of the candidates who lost their Commission races in the 10th district covering Louisville are taking no for an answer.  Both Gerald Kirby for Seat A and Larry Henry for Seat B have filed the paperwork to run as write-in candidates.  The August 7 election will be a rematch for both races in the 10th District.  Larry Henry lost by 6 votes and Gerald Kirby lost by 23 votes.

In the 8th district, 2 candidates have filed paper work to run as a write-in for Seat B, Doug Meyers and Gordon Wright II.  Doug Meyers has decided not to run after filing the paperwork.  Gordon Wright will face Teacher Union President Grady Caskey who won the Republican nomination unopposed after Gordon Wright Sr. passed away in March.

Sam Duck has filed to run as a write-in against Mike Caylor who came out on top of a 3 way race, for District 3 Seat B in the May 6th Republican primary election.

http://www.blounttn.org/election/petitions_for_elections/20140807.PDF

None of these candidates wins Nevada Democratic primary for Governor

None of these candidates won with 30% of the vote in the Democratic primary for Governor of Nevada.  It’s ridiculous that the second place finisher is declared the winner per State law.  None of these candidates ought to mean exactly what is says.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/by_state/NV_Governor_0610.html?SITE=AP&SECTION=POLITICS

Why can’t we be “common” with Oklahoma?

oklahoma-greenBy Eric Holcombe

Reposted from whatiscommoncore.blogspot.com:

Oklahoma Miracle: Common Core Officially Repealed

“Governor Fallin stated:

“We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded as the president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.

We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma’s public schools…

“For that reason I am signing HB 3399 to repeal and replace Common Core with Oklahoma designed and implemented education standards… They must raise the bar – beyond what Common Core offers…

 

The withdrawal from Common Core by Governor Fallin –not only a member, but the chair of the National Governors Association –the same NGA to which Bill Gates has given millions upon millions of dollars to create and implement Common Core– is a very big deal.

And the elephant that’s been crowding the room for years now –Common Core’s pretense of academic excellence– has taken a serious hit with Governor Fallin’s acknowledgement that Oklahoma’s soon-to-be-written NEW standards “must raise the bar beyond what Common Core offers.

“How I wish I could be a fly on the wall, listening to conversations in Oklahoma now! What is the local Oklahoma PTA saying? What are Oklahoma state and local school boards thinking? And what are Oklahoma’s chambers of commerce saying now to their members? All these figureheads have pushed pro-Common Core marketing on parents and teachers and businesses for several years, and now they are having to change their whole story.

How many thousands of not-from-Oklahoma teachers plan to move from other states to Oklahoma –solely based on this turn of educational events? How many parents in other states, who are exhausted from the effort of being endlessly dismissed by their state school boards and governors, are thinking what I’m thinking?

If the rest of our U.S. governors, legislators and school boards don’t see the light –and fast– it’s going to be wahoo, pack your bags and let’s move to Oklahoma.” (emphasis mine)

 

Remember all those stories about TN teachers threatening to leave for a $5k bonus in Georgia (plus that extra bonus of a state income tax and increased housing costs)? Wonder how many would leave to not deal with Bill Gates-based education and their education prostitute front (TNSCORE, Achieve Inc., PARCC, LIFT, Fordham, TFA)? Sounds like Huffman and Barton need to make a trip to Oklahoma to remind them that punting Common Core is a step backward academically… just put it on the PARCC tab, Bill Gates is buying.

 

 

 

 

President of charter school resigns over Common Core

Copyright: Little Seed Productions

Copyright: Little Seed Productions

By Eric Holcombe

Some excerpts from Eagle Crest Charter Academy President Brian Polet’s resignation letter:

Over the past few months it has come to light that this Academy has suffered the chaos over the past two years of what is commonly called Common Core.”

This copy-written, corporate-driven education model has been developed by non-teachers and edu-crats from Washington to Lansing to the detriment of students, parents, taxpayers and local school boards. Without control of curriculum and a limited control of budgets, CC has effectively removed local control from parents and put it the hands of ESPs, the Dept. of Ed and state boards.”

More disturbing to me is the inability to guarantee the data privacy of our students. Neither NHA or the State Board will be able to protect a child’s data from corporate vultures, marketers, and political interest groups from being used in a malevolent way. Equally troubling is the ability for educational personnel to manipulate tests and assessments to move any student into certain fields or vocations and to modify behavior without consent or knowledge of the parent.”

With CC, we no longer have the Socratic model of education, but a new Bill Gates vocational schooling for worker bees and drones. Plainly, I have not left education, education has left me and more importantly, our students.”

Sounds like Jamie Woodson and Kevin Huffman should parade Arne Duncan around Michigan too and remind them how Common Core is “state led”.

Did Mayor Ed Mitchell and Director of Schools Rob Britt break State election laws?

Jim Folts asks some hard hitting, important questions about meetings that took place at each Blount County School before the recent May 6th primary election.  The Chairman of the Education Committee, Commissioner Ron French, said that some Commissioners were present at the meetings of the Schools in their districts, if they were called.  Jim Folts serves on the Education Committee, yet he was not invited to these meetings.

Election Laws that may have been broken: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4i9IFqGDcTKNVBmZFQ0ZkpVcVE/edit?pli=1

Audio of Education Committee meeting where Jim Folts questions Director of Schools Rob Britt.  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4i9IFqGDcTKZkY2akdSWFMwZXc/edit?pli=1

According to Rob Britt, Mayor Ed Mitchell called him to have a meeting at each school.  Rob Britt says the purpose of the meetings was, “Real simple, it’s just to educate our faculty and staff on the sales tax referendum.”

Tennessee Code Annotated 2-19-134

(a) It is unlawful for any person to coerce or direct any employee to vote for any measure, party or person who may be a candidate for any office, or for any person who may be a candidate for nomination for any office, to threaten the discharge of such employee if the employee votes or does not vote for any such candidate for nomination or for office, or for any particular policy or measure.

Were these meetings mandatory?  Were employees told what the funds from the sales tax referendum would be used for?  Were certain Commissioners, facing opponents, invited when others weren’t?  A yes answer to these questions would likely mean that one or more of these law(s) was/were broken.

An investigation should be conducted by the DA.  If any of these laws were broken, then Rob Britt should be demoted and the Mayor should resign.