Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 30, 2008 Former Commissioner Frank Parker Stripped of Deputy Status

Frank Parker, former Hamblen County Commissioner who was indicted for felony theft over $500 and felony official misconduct on May 12, 2008, is no longer a Hamblen County Deputy Sheriff.

Sheriff Esco Jarnigan stripped Parker of his position and status as a deputy sheriff yesterday.

Even though he no longer holds deputy status, Parker still holds a job with Hamblen County Government as Director of Cherokee Park--a position that pays about $38,000 a year plus health insurance and retirement benefits.

Parker will not stand trial for the charges. Last week D. A. Berkeley Bell recommended pre-trial diversion in connection with the theft and misconduct charges. Parker was ordered to make restitution to the victim Albert Walker as part of the diversion agreement.

Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008 Director of Cherokee Park/Deputy Sheriff Frank Parker Gets Diversion; Lebel Says School Board Spends Money Like a "Drunken Sailor"

I've been busy lately, sorry for letting so much time go by between posts. Lots of happenings on the local front in the last few weeks...Here are two...more to come...

Judge approves judicial diversion for former Commissioner Parker. Trib front-page headline on July 25, 2008.

Frank Parker, currently Director of Cherokee Park and a sworn Deputy Sheriff, was indicted by a local grand jury for felony theft and felony official misconduct in May 2008. D. A. General Berkeley Bell's recommendation of pre-trial diversion for Parker was approved by Judge John Dugger on July 25.

Parker admitted criminal responsibility for taking $750 from Albert Walker for getting Walker's car out of the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department impound lot---when no money was due.

The article adds that Parker will make restitution of $500 to Walker. Parker's Co-Defendant Cherokee Park Manager/Constable Paul King was also indicted in May 2008 for theft over $500 in this matter.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I represent Mr. Walker. A letter in opposition to diversion was submitted to D.A. Berkeley Bell on July 2, 2008. This letter is a public record. Although opposed to diversion, Mr. Walker's position was that IF diversion were granted, then Mr. Parker should be required to tell the truth about what happened, should make restitution, and should be removed as a deputy sheriff.

Lebel: county needs to focus on education. That was the bland headline for an article buried on page 6 of the July 27, 2008, Trib.

According to the Trib, Lebel made a comment at the end of the commission's July 24 meeting that Director of Schools Dale Lynch is spending money like a "drunken sailor."

I'm glad I never made a comment like that---it would have been a front-page special Trib banner headline Noe attacks Lynch--says he spends money like a "drunken sailor." It sure wouldn't have been under a sweet headline saying Noe: county needs to focus on education.

Lebel's pointed comments were generated by the school board spending tens of thousands on a new scoreboard while only giving a 1% raise to employees.

While Lebel referred only to the fancy scoreboard, the real issue is spending priorities within the education budget.

This is the second time Lebel has very openly criticized the school board and Dr. Lynch in particular.

The first criticism came during recent budget hearings when Lebel coupled criticism of Dr. Lynch's failure to push for a sales tax increase with criticism of the county commission for approving the mega-million dollar school budget WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT WHERE THE MONEY WAS GOING.

The county commission rubber-stamped the school board spending plan as soon as it was received--without looking. Lebel was on target with his criticism of county commission's "no-look" budget approval.

The school budget could have had hundreds of thousands of dollars for new layers of administration---and the county commission would blithely have given its OK.

Watch for updates and follow-ups on the above...

Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4, 2008 Independence Day

The Fourth of July. Independence Day.

The Declaration of Independence is a thoughtful, well-reasoned, and at the same time stirring, recitation of the events in the history of the American Colonies leading up to the Declaration and the Revolutionary War with Great Britain. While I quote only an excerpt below, the entire document can and should be read for a better understanding of what the early American patriots endured as well as for an understanding of their view of government.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.---That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness....

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, ...solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States....That they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;... And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

God Bless the USA (link)