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.

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.

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

oklahoma-greenBy Eric Holcombe

Reposted from

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:

Audio of Education Committee meeting where Jim Folts questions Director of Schools Rob Britt.

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.

Sometimes faster is better

When speed limits can kill
I’ve always thought that the faster you drive, the greater your risk of injury or death. But this isn’t quite true. As Aaron Carroll explains below, the best predictor of driving safety is the amount of variation in speed between cars. If everyone is going about the same speed, then things are relatively safe. But if some people are going much faster than others, then not so much. This means that, on some roads, increasing the speed limit can actually improve safety.

Check it out. –Ryan Cooper


Speed Limit Articles:

Supreme Court edits it’s opinions after public issuance

The federal government has far to much leeway for editing their statements and actions.  Members of Congress ask for “unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks”.  Enforcement of laws change from case to case, often lacking uniformity.  Does anyone understand rule making authority and how rules and regulations get changed?

We have much work to do if we’re going to reform the federal government.

Commission approves a contract without knowing cost

Last night the Commission approved a contract with Blount Memorial Hospital to provide health care to employees without knowing how much it would cost.  No amount was stated in the resolution.  That didn’t matter though, because it passed 15-2 with only Commissioners Burchfield and Folts voting against it.  Commissioners Lambert, Lewis, Melton and Murrell were absent.

Commissioner Wright brought to light that the copier contract isn’t a flat cost like the Commission has always been lead to believe.  There is a 5 cent per click cost for color copies.  Wright works in the industry and said he could negotiate a better rate.  The Commission chose not to pursue a better rate since some were afraid that Departments would be without copiers for a brief time if the final contract wasn’t approved prior to the old one expiring on June 30th.  Theresa Johnson sounded more like a cheer leader for Canon Solutions American Inc., than the purchasing agent for Blount County.  The length of the contract, 5 years, puts the matter out of reach for the incoming Commission where 6 incumbents will be gone.

Budget Modifications a new term

Old Agendas would specify budget increases and decreases.  Now, thanks to Randy Vineyard the Finance Director, these transactions are listed as Budget Modifications.  It sounds nicer than calling these for what they are, increases in spending your money.

The Commission also approved a Blount County employee dental plan without having much information.  Currently the employees pay nothing and taxpayers pay $23.51 per month for each employee.  Employees have the option of purchasing a family plan for $49.24 a month.  The family plan costs $72.75 and the County pays the $23.51 it would pay if they just had the employee plan.  Dental coverage was previously self insured by the County, but the current plans are offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield.