Tag Archive | Chairman Jerome Moon

Audit: Most Tennessee cities, counties require photo ID to access public records

The Blount County Commissioner referred to in this article is me: Tona Monroe.  The state agency that is discussed is the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance which is responsible for providing meeting minutes for the Tennessee Corrections Institute Board of Control

https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/tennessee/2018/05/21/tennessee-public-records-open-government-id-required/617790002/

Last year, when the commission adopted an open records policy, I said during discussion that a photo ID should not be required.  Then Chairman Jerome Moon, now a state representative, defended requiring papers just to see records.  Most of the commissioners must have agreed because only Commissioners Mike Akard, Jamie Daly, Karen Miller and I voted against this policy.

It is good to read that a few counties don’t demand papers, proving identity, just to see records.  Requiring proof of citizenship is an unnecessary impediment to a society that is suppose to be free and claims to be transparent.  The USA is not Nazi Germany.

Read the audit herehttp://tcog.info/public-records-policy-audit/

On another note, this is the second article in which a request that I made is discussed without naming me.  The other involved questions that I submitted to Troy Logan, fiscal administrator for Blount County Schools.  Some teachers had several questions about the schools related to how money is spent.  I submitted their questions.  A response was sent me as well as the other 20 county commissioners.

A few months later, there was a story in The Daily Times about this request for information.  Then Blount County Board of Education Chairman
Trevis Gardner told the paper that he supported charging for looking at records because they’d received a big request that took a lot of time to respond to.  He citied the questions that I submitted with his support for charging you to look at records.

The paper requested a copy of the questions and answers, and knew they were submitted by a commissioner, but did not mention this in its story.  Gardner said the response took time away from administrators focusing on classrooms but failed to mention that the answers included comparisons to other school systems, which were not part of the inquiries.  Such a comparison may have required time but it was not what was requested.  Furthermore, the fiscal administrator is a records custodian so his job duties include providing records.

Logan said the questions were frequently asked which is why he submitted the response to all 21 Blount County Commissioners.  Thus, having written answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) may have saved the schools time and money in responding to FAQs.

December 2017 Commission Report

2 called commission meetings to appoint state representative and state senator
Two commission meetings were called to meet in special sessions this month to fill state lawmaker vacancies.  Doug Overbey resigned his Tennessee Senate seat to become the US Attorney of Eastern District of Tennessee.

A majority of commissioners chose Representative Art Swann.  I (Tona Monroe) nominated Scott Williams.  You can read more on that here.

Since Swann had to resign from his Tennessee House seat to become the new state senator, this created another vacancies to fill.  16 yes men on the Blount County Commission chose Commission Chairman Jerome Moon.  I nominated Jim Hammontree, who has decided to run for Blount County Commission against three term incumbent Mike Lewis.

Neither of these were surprising because I had been told months in advance that the courthouse clique/GOP establishment/political machine of Blount County had this plan in the works.

Commission meeting

Resolution urging repeal of fireworks ban
The commission approved a resolution urging state lawmakers from Blount County to repeal a private act that prohibits the possession, sale, manufacture, storing and use of pyrotechnics (fireworks) in Blount County.  Read more about that in the November 2017 Commission Report.

Recommendations to Blount Memorial Hospital following embezzlement scandal
The Blount County approved a resolution making recommendations to the hospital following the Blount Memorial Foundation embezzlement scandal that revealed that foundation had not had a full audit for close to a decade.  The recommendations that the commission adopted came from the Audit Committee.  The recommendations include:

1. That the Blount Memorial Foundation have an annual audit every year going forward and this audit be conducted by a different firm than the firm that conducts the audit for Blount Memorial Hospital, Inc.

2. That the Blount Memorial Foundation and Blount Memorial Hospital, Inc., each have separate and distinct Board of Directors and that no members on one Board serve as a member of the other Board.

3. That Blount Memorial Hospital, Inc. obtain a different auditing firm to conduct their audit than the auditing firm that has been conducting their audits for the last several years and that they do so by seeking proposals through “Requests for Proposals”. Upon the proposals being received, the Blount County Audit Committee have input regarding who is to be chosen as the auditors for Blount Memorial Hospital, Inc.

There are other areas of concern with the hospital, such as its variable rate debt that Blount County’s taxpayers would be on the hook for if the hospital were to default on its debt.  The hospital left much to be desired with the lack of information and the short time frame to make a decision in 2016 about extending the existing debt structure.  Read more about that here.