Friday, September 16, 2005

September 16, 2005 Two more vehicle reports come in

Two more county vehicle mileage/condition reports have arrived.

Most county officials are very co-operative in providing information about county (taxpayer) cars, trucks, and equipment.

Barry Poole and his staff (Bob Gouge, Jeff Wisevarver, Rex Epps, and Melody Roxburgh) at the Highway Department and Garbage Department are among those who are always co-operative and helpful. They sent in mileage/condition reports on the trucks, tractors, and equipment for the Highway and Garbage Departments. I received the reports today.

After I sent out e-mails requesting this information on Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 13), the responses have come quickly.

In fact, I need to mention that Frank Parker, director at Cherokee Park, actually handed me the mileage/condition information for the Cherokee Park vehicles and equipment at the September 12 Finance Committee meeting--right after I asked. I didn't send Frank an e-mail request because he was at the Committee meeting and responded on the spot.

Right now, I think only two small departments--workhouse and county maintenance--and one large department--the Sheriff's Department-- haven't responded yet. It really shouldn't take long for the workhouse and county maintenance to work up mileage reports since they only have a small number of vehicles.

Sheriff Otto Purkey has a lot of vehicles in his inventory, so I'm guessing it may take one or two more days for him to list the mileage and condition of each. Strangely enough, County Mayor David Purkey's vehicle is run through his brother's (Sheriff Otto Purkey's) Department instead of being listed in the County Mayor's Office/Department.

Even more strange to those who tend to think that each department or official should include the cars that he or his employees drive in that department's budget and inventory, it appears that County Mayor David Purkey's vehicle, the one that is listed in Sheriff Otto Purkey's inventory, was actually paid for and purchased with funds out of the Juvenile Court budget.

It may be that Mayor D. Purkey gave an old car to Juvenile Court and then let Juvenile Court pay for the Mayor's new car...and then Mayor Purkey's new car, the one that was paid for out of the Juvenile budget, was put into Sheriff Otto Purkey's inventory, leaving Sheriff Purkey to pay for his brother's gas, maintenance, etc. out of the Sheriff's budget instead of out of the Mayor's budget. Are we confused yet?

Maybe all this shifting explains why last year:
(1) the Juvenile Court 2004 inventory report didn't show any vehicle at all (even though Juvenile Court did have a vehicle at the time); and
(2) Finance Director Nicole Epps in 2004 asked for and provided mileage information for all county vehicles except all those listed in the Sheriff's inventory.

As I mentioned in Tuesday's post (Sept. 13), the 2005 inventory is also interesting for the pieces of equipment and other items that have apparently been left off of certain department lists. I'll have more on what appears to have been left off the 2005 inventory sometime after Commission's September 22 meeting--after I check on a few things and try to talk with the County Mayor and Finance Director about the inventory.

It appears that the same thing (leaving items off) happened with the 2004 inventory as well. Lots of equipment, computers, and even the Juvenile Court vehicle--items that were purchased many years ago and that actually should have been included on the 2004 inventory report-- were left off the 2004 report.

We need to be very careful with our inventory. Several hundreds of thousands of county taxpayer dollars have been spent on computers, phones, vehicles, tractors, and other equipment. We need to know that everything is accounted for and is where it should be.

Have a good weekend!


Anonymous said...

It is amazing how much different you seem on your blog vs. how the Citizen Tribune paints you. From reading their stories I always thought you had a screw loose. Keep up the good work and the blog. Let the taxpayers know what is really happening.

Linda said...


Spin by the local newspaper "machine" is a fascinating thing to watch.

The paper props up its favored politicos and tries to eliminate those who don't play political games or go along with the good old boys and the Trib's official line.

I'm going to have a blog entry devoted to the Tribune next week so stay tuned.

Speaking of Trib spin, one of the funniest things I saw recently was the Tribune reporter furiously copying down a remark that was made by a commissioner in a public meeting. This commissioner had said that the powers in Nashville look down on Hamblen County as a "peon" county.

The Tribune reporter was all excited and ready to report the remark UNTIL she found out that the remark had been made at an audit committee meeting by one of the Trib's favorites: Commissioner Maudie Briggs.

You can bet that if Tom Lowe, Edwin Osborne, Nancy Phillips, Bobby Reinhardt, Larry Baker, or I had said that, there would have been screaming headlines.

There's a whole lot more that citizens and taxpayers need to know.

I will be focusing on issues related to bidding and purchasing, controlling and reducing debt, controlling and reducing spending, cleaning up our city and county, and giving the people a chance to look seriously at Metro government.

Maybe we can have a discussion about these issues in the coming weeks instead of the continuing barrage of personal attacks that just make it look like people have something to hide.