Friday, September 23, 2011

September 23, 2011 Brooks and Thomas Discuss LeBel's Letter Proposing Council's Take Over of the Mayor's Office and Seizure of the Mayor's Cell Phone

The final agenda item at this past Tuesday's council meeting was the Paul LeBel "letter."

The letter, proposing that the Mayor's small office at the City Center become a timeshare space for all councilmembers and that the Mayor's cell phone be taken away, can be seen here. 

LeBel sent his letter out several weeks ago and got four councilmembers to sign on to the changes outside of a public meeting. LeBel never brought his letter or its proposals to council for public discussion or for a public vote.

As soon as LeBel had four signatures on his letter (LeBel, Bob Garrett, Kay Senter, and Chris Bivens), LeBel quickly made out a schedule for timesharing the Mayor's office and had city staff type it up and send it out. Click here to see the schedule. 

Gene Brooks made it clear that he didn't like LeBel using a letter that was sent and signed outside of a public meeting to change longtime policy and practice. Brooks added that LeBel didn't discuss any timeshare schedule with Brooks.  LeBel just put Brooks name on a schedule and sent it out and posted it on the city's website.

Brooks added that he would not have agreed to be listed and that he does not want to be part of taking over or using the Mayor's office and, if that is done, he would give his timeshare to the Mayor.

Mayor Danny Thomas added that he has no problem in leaving the Mayor's office and working elsewhere when a councilmember wants to meet with a constituent in the small Mayor's office even though it might be an inconvenience.

But Thomas added that if a councilmember signs on to a scheduled period of time in the Mayor's office, then that councilmember should show up and be there. 

This remark was directed at LeBel who set himself first (of course) to occupy the Mayor's office. But when his scheduled time came, LeBel came in 3 hours late and then only stayed for one hour of his "scheduled" five-hour stint in the Mayor's office. Click here.

Thomas also said that if council wants the cell phone that Thomas was given by the City when he took office, then there should be a public vote.

The usually combative LeBel was silent and made no motion to follow through with officially taking the phone away through a public vote at Tuesday's meeting.

Neither LeBel nor any of the signers of the LeBel letter participated in the public discussion of the office/cell phone issues at Tuesday's public meeting. Neither LeBel nor any of the signers of the LeBel letter made a motion to put approval of the office/cell phone issues to a vote at Tuesday's public meeting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 21, 2011 Council Again Says NOOOObody But Frank's Daddy George McGuffin Can Have the "McGuffin" Seat on MUS (VIDEO)

Yesterday the MUS Board of Commissioners sent a FOURTH list of three nominees to Mayor Danny Thomas for the Board seat that expired on July 31, 2011.  The three were George McGuffin, Wally Long, and Mike Davidson.

For the FOURTH time, the Mayor picked one of the names (Wallace "Wally" Long) and presented that name to Council.

Mayor Thomas barely got the name of his FOURTH nominee out when Paul LeBel immediately moved to reject the nomination and Bob Garrett, who worked for MUS/George McGuffin for decades, quickly seconded.

Five councilmembers then voted "YES" on LeBel's motion to reject Wally Long: Paul LeBel, Bob Garrett, Kay Senter, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks.

Two voted "NO" on LeBel's motion to reject Long: Gene Brooks and Mayor Thomas.

Now FOUR citizens that were considered and nominated for the MUS Board have failed to gain the approval of the group on council that wants George McGuffin to get yet another 5-year term to add to the 34+ years that he has already been on this Board.

The four that LeBel and followers have decided thus far are not acceptable as MUS Board members(despite their nomination by MUS and selection by the Mayor) are: Mike Minnich, Glenn Thompson, Carroll Fowler, and now Wally Long.

For LeBel, Garrett, and followers only one person in the City of Morristown can hold what these councilmembers apparently think has become the "McGuffin" MUS seat. That one person is...George McGuffin. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 20, 2011 King Paul (LeBel) and the Mayor's Office, Mayor's Cell Phone, and MUS/McGuffin (George and Frank)

Councilmember LeBel, aka "King Paul," sent out a letter just over two weeks ago to fellow councilmembers encouraging them to sign on to his plan to take away the Mayor's cell phone and convert the longtime office of the Morristown Mayor at the City Center into a "timeshare" room where (supposedly) councilmembers like LeBel would meet with constituents. Click on LeBel's letter.

After getting three other councilmembers to sign his letter (Prince Bob Garrett, Prince Chris Bivens, and Princess Kay Senter), King Paul had city staff prepare an "Office Schedule" showing the days and hours that each councilmember could occupy the small office that had served as the Mayor's Office for previous mayors over a period of many years.

Paul's schedule for everyone is here.

Naturally, King Paul scheduled himself first for a grand appearance to meet with his subjects/ constituents from 7 am-12 noon on Monday, September 12. 

Surprisingly (or not), King Paul was not there at the appointed time. I was at the City Center from 7:30-8:30 waiting for his majesty's arrival in order to discuss city business. The King was a no-show.

I heard through the grapevine that King Paul finally showed up at 10 am, stayed about an hour, and then left his "City Council" office to get to his "County Commission" Committee meetings which started at 11:20 at the Health Department.

Why wasn't Paul at council meetings expressing concern about the "Mayor's office" when Sami Barile was sitting in the "Mayor's office" or when his one-time/former special buddy Gary Johnson was sitting in the "Mayor's office"?

Fiscal responsibility is great, but why is Paul so worried about saving money on a single cell phone while going totally silent about Princess Kay's huge use of taxpayer dollars for travel? Click here.

What makes King Paul obsess about the Mayor's office and the Mayor's cell phone and the Mayor's nomination for the MUS Board? 

LeBel can't accept that his buddy Frank McGuffin wasn't elected Mayor in May 2011. LeBel and the other councilmembers wouldn't be saying a thing about the Mayor's office or the Mayor's cell phone or the way MUS appointments are made if Frank McGuffin were Mayor.

Paul is simply trying to get revenge for Frank McGuffin's mayoral defeat by opposing and nagging at the person who defeated Frank --Mayor Danny Thomas.

Using the Mayor's office and cell phone as attack points, King Paul is the pointman in keeping Daddy George McGuffin in a lifetime position on the Morristown Utility Board. Thus far, LeBel has made sure that every single person (Mike Minnich, Glenn Thompson, Carroll Fowler) that Mayor Thomas has nominated to replace George on the MUS Board has been rejected by council. Click here.

King Paul and the "only George" group plan to continue to block ALL mayoral nominations of anyone except George McGuffin until 2012 when they will then ask local legislators Sen. Steve Southerland and Rep. Don Miller to help change the current law that worked just fine with the "only George" group----right up until Mayor Thomas was elected.

What about Bob Garrett and Kay Senter, co-leaders in the "only George" group?

Councilmember Bob Garrett was elected in 2009 and supported Frank McGuffin for Mayor in 2011 after working for Daddy George McGuffin at MUS for decades. 

In 2009 and 2010 Sami Barile was Mayor. Councilmember Garrett never said anything about Mayor Barile keeping a cell phone, never tried to share/use Mayor Barile's office, and never tried to change the MUS Private Act to get rid of the process of Mayoral nomination (from a list of three names submitted by MUS) followed by council approval or disapproval.

Fast forward to 2011. Danny Thomas defeats Frank McGuffin for Mayor. Garrett signs on to take the Mayor's cell phone, share/use the Mayor's office, and is ready to change the MUS Private Act to get rid of the the Mayoral nomination process followed by council approval or disapproval.

Kay Senter has been on council for decades and was fine with a Mayor's office and cell phone during that time.

Fast forward to 2011.  Danny Thomas defeats Frank McGuffin for Mayor.  Kay suddenly signs on to take away the Mayor's cell phone, share/use the Mayor's office, and change the MUS Private Act to get rid of the Mayoral nomination process followed by council approval or disapproval.

Playing games to get revenge for Frank McGuffin's defeat?
Fiddling while Morristown continues to burn financially?
Childish, petty politics at its worst.

Friday, September 16, 2011

September 16, 2011 Attorney General Opines that McGuffin Is a Holdover

State Senator Steve Southerland recently requested an opinion from State Attorney General Robert Cooper as to the status of George McGuffin on the Morristown Utility Board of Commissioners.

Cooper's opinion is that McGuffin, who has served on the Board for over 34 years and whose most recent five-year term has already expired, remains on the Board, acting as a "holdover," until a successor is approved by the Morristown City Council.

The full opinion is here.

Thus far three individuals have been nominated by the Mayor to succeed McGuffin. A core group of councilmembers who think George McGuffin (pictured below) is the ONLY person who can serve in this position has blocked all three of the Mayor's nominees from serving on the Utility Board. 

To keep anyone from taking "the McGuffin seat," councilmembers did not approve Mike Minnich and voted to disapprove Glenn Thompson and Carroll Fowler as noted here, here, and here.

At this point, most of the "only George" councilmembers have indicated that they will continue to block the appointment of anyone except McGuffin to the Morristown Utility Commission until January 2012 when the state legislature goes back into session.

In January 2012, they would ask State Sen. Steve Southerland and Rep. Don Miller to change the Private Act governing the MUC so that they can "officially" put George back in instead of blocking the nomination of anyone and everyone else.

George is not the manager of the utility. Jody Wigington is.

Why are certain councilmembers, led by King Paul LeBel along with Prince Bob Garrett and Princess Kay Senter, going berserk and crying that the "sky is falling" at the thought of someone other than McGuffin  serving as a utility commissioner? 

Is George McGuffin, one of five Utility Commissioners, indispensable or just powerful and power-hungry?

Is the management and staff of the Morristown Utility System--the people who run the place--so weak that George McGuffin must be on the Board in order to keep the utility going? No. 

What happens when McGuffin, at some point, is unable to serve or resigns? Does the utility collapse? No.

Why won't George step aside, let someone else serve, and contribute to the community outside of this particular Board?  Does McGuffin think he is indispensable?

What is the real reason that McGuffin is so desperate to hang on to this position?

Follow the money/power trail...Wheels within wheels.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 9, 2011 Paul LeBel Sets Up "Office Schedule" for Mayor and Councilmembers

Folks, Paul LeBel has not only taken over the City Center, he has now set up an "office schedule" for the Mayor and his fellow councilmembers to follow. [Click on the schedule to enlarge it for easy reading!]

So come on and bring your neighbors and friends to the City Center at 7 AM on Monday morning, September 12, to meet the one, the only, P. LeBel sitting at the City Center in what has been the Mayor's office for years and years for five hours to see his constituents.

Yes, just four months after being elected to the City Council by a slim 24-vote margin, P. LeBel has crowned himself King. Prince Bob, Prince Chris, and Princess Kay are dutifully doing the King's bidding while Prince Claude, as usual, can't decide what to do, but he talks a good game.

Because LeBel, King of City Council, is also on the Hamblen County Commission, Monday, September 12, is going to be a tough day for him.  Wearing his city council hat, LeBel is scheduled to be at the City Center from 7AM-12 Noon to meet constituents.  But LeBel will have to leave the City Center a bit early and throw on his county commission hat if he intends to get to the county commission committee meetings on time at 11:30 AM.

Run, Paul, run.  And keep talking fiscal responsibility while you sit by and watch the lovely Princess Kay spend $1000s of taxpayer dollars on travel while other councilmembers spend nothing or next to nothing on travel. Click here.  Where's that resolution to stop excessive travel by "certain" councilmembers?

Friday, September 09, 2011

September 9, 2011 CFA Posts Video of September 6th City Council Meeting

Citizens for Accountability just posted the entire video of the September 6 Morristown City Council meeting.
It's broken down in segments for easy viewing.

Click here to go to the CFA website.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

September 7, 2011 Carroll Fowler's Nomination to MUS Board Rejected by City Council

The video (below) tells the tale. Yesterday, the "only George (McGuffin)" group on City Council rejected Mayor Thomas's nomination of Carroll Fowler to the MUS Board of Commissioners.

Paul LeBel made the motion to reject Fowler. Sidekick Bob Garrett, former MUS employee, seconded the motion.

Voting "Yes" on the Motion To Reject Fowler: Paul LeBel, Claude Jinks, Chris Bivens, and Kay Senter.

Voting "No" on the Motion To Reject Fowler: Bob Garrett and Mayor Danny Thomas. [When the vote flashed on the screen, it was obvious that Garrett was confused when he voted "No."  Garrett had seconded LeBel's motion to reject Fowler and meant to vote "Yes" with LeBel in favor of rejecting Fowler.]

Abstaining: Gene Brooks.

This is the third MUS Commissioner nominee that the Council has rejected. 

The MUS Board sends the names of three qualified individuals to the Mayor. The Mayor then selects and nominates one of those individuals to the full Council for approval. With yesterday's vote, the City Council has now rejected three different Mayoral nominees (Mike Minnich, Glenn Thompson, and Carroll Fowler) on three different occasions.  Click here and here.

And what's wrong with Minnich, Thompson, and Fowler? They are not George McGuffin!

SIDENOTE: The McGuffin flash mob at yesterday's meeting was smaller than the contingents that showed  up at the two previous meetings where votes were taken.  George McGuffin was there yesterday. MUS General Manager Jody Wigington was there. John Stroud was there. David Wild was there sitting near County Commissioner Doe Jarvis. Doe was treasurer of fellow County Commissioner Paul LeBel's campaign for City Council, is LeBel's sidekick on county commission, and has begun attending city council meetings to watch and cheer his special friend on.

NEXT: The MUS Board of Commissioners will meet again and send the Mayor another set of three names of individuals that the Board deems to be qualified to serve on the MUS Board.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

September 6, 2011 Realtor/City Councilmember LeBel Wants To Use City Mayor's Office on a "Timeshare" Basis and Take Mayor's Phone

Paul LeBel, city councilmember and county commissioner, is proposing a "timeshare" arrangement under which all city councilmembers, "including the Mayor," would share what has been the City Mayor's office for years and years in the City Center.

[Click on LeBel's letter at left to enlarge and read]

Wearing his city councilmember hat, LeBel says he wants to meet at the City Center with his city constituents one-half day each week. That's a nice idea, and there is an easy solution for LeBel or any councilmember who has decided that he or she wants "timeshare" office space at the City Center.

All councilmembers know that there is a conference room near the City Council Chambers. This room, which has been called the "Mayor's" conference room for years and years, could be renamed the "City Council" conference room and could become the perfect place for LeBel and all city councilmembers to spend lots of time at the City Center with their constituents or doing  research.

And after City Councilmember LeBel works out office hours and the location of his timeshare office at the City Center, maybe County Commissioner LeBel will decide (after five years as a commissioner) that office hours and a timeshare office at the County Courthouse are important to enable him to serve his  (commission) constituents in the same way that he wants to serve his (council) constituents.

[It is my understanding, after talking with some county officials, that while City Councilmember Paul LeBel is  pushing for "timeshare" office space and office hours at the City Center to meet with his (city council) constituents, County Commissioner Paul LeBel has never sent a similar letter to his fellow county commissioners trying to use any room at the County Courthouse on a "timeshare" basis to meet with his (commission) constituents.]

Finally, LeBel's letter says that he wants to make sure that no councilmember, "including the Mayor," has arbitrarily been provided with a city cell phone.  LeBel doesn't name any councilmember who was arbitrarily provided with a phone.  LeBel's proposal appears primarily or solely directed at taking back a city phone that was apparently provided to Mayor Danny Thomas after Thomas was elected in May 2011.

Perhaps LeBel needs to do some research on the phone issue as it relates to the City Mayor. Among his duties, the City Mayor has specific authority to summon the police or others to aid in quelling or preventing a riot or similar emergency. Therefore, there is a public safety reason for the City Mayor, whoever may hold the office, to be provided with a cell phone for quick contact anywhere and anytime.