Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011 Merry Christmas!

Wishing you Peace and Joy at Christmas and throughout the New Year!

free digital photos   hinnamsaisuy

Among my many favorite Christmas songs are Carol of the Bells and Do You Hear What I Hear.

These Christmas songs--and perhaps your favorites as well--can be found here.  Do You Hear What I Hear is #20. Carol of the Bells is #8 and #9.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21, 2011 Tenth Verse: MUC Submits Three Candidates to Mayor, Mayor Nominates One, Council Rejects

For the TENTH time, the Morristown Utilities Commission submitted three names to Mayor Thomas for appointment to the MUC Board. [George McGuffin, Steve Henrikson, and David Wild]

For the TENTH time, Mayor Thomas selected and nominated one of those individuals for appointment to the MUC Board. [Steve Henrikson]

For the TENTH time, council rejected the Mayor's appointment.

As soon as Mayor Thomas nominated Steve Henrikson to the Morristown Utilities Commission,  Councilmember LeBel moved to reject the nomination.

The five members of the McGuffin-or-bust group (Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks) then voted to reject Steve Henrikson's appointment.  Mayor Thomas and Gene Brooks voted for Henrikson.

Henrikson now joins the group of ten people proposed by MUC, nominated by the Mayor, and rejected by city council.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011 MUC meeting (Video Added)

Maybe the tenth list will make it to the Mayor before 5 pm.

UPDATE 4:28 pm

The nominees have been sent to the Mayor:
George McGuffin
Steve Henrikson
David Wild

We may get a tenth vote today.

Click here for the December 21 post for council's rejection of a TENTH nominee with video.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011 Morristown Utilities Commission Delays Nomination Process

In the continuing Morristown Utilities Commission (MUC) saga, MUC has chosen to wait until 4:00 PM on Tuesday, December 20, [one hour before the City Council meets on that same day] to meet and come up with a TENTH list of three names for a seat on the MUC Commission. 

MUC's TENTH list will then go to Mayor Thomas who selects one name and presents that name to the full council for approval or disapproval. On NINE previous occasions, Mayor Thomas' selection has been quickly rejected/ disapproved by council.

Since MUC knows full well that the City Council meets at 5 PM on December 20th, the date and time of the MUC meeting is no accident. Morristown Utility Commissioners know that if they vote on a list of three candidates at 4 PM, it may be hard to get the list typed up and to Mayor Thomas before council's 5 PM meeting on that same day. 

It looks like MUC is hoping that their last-minute vote on a list of three candidates for the MUC Board will make it difficult or impossible for the Mayor to make a nomination on December 20th--thus sparing a TENTH person from quick and automatic rejection/disapproval by the McGuffin-or-Bust group (Paul LeBel, Bob Garrett, Kay Senter, Claude Jinks, and Chris Bivens) at least until January's council meeting.

Just to make sure that no one else gets the "McGuffin" seat, the McGuffin-or-Bust group are planning to change the MUC appointment procedures and have asked local Rep. Don Miller and local Sen. Steve Southerland for help in getting the state legislature to make it where a vote of these FIVE councilmembers can change the current appointment process that was set up by the people in a 2001 REFERENDUM.  

It appears that Miller and Southerland have agreed to help the McGuffin-or-Bust group circumvent and cancel out the votes of the 3,202 people (72% of those casting ballots) who put the current appointment process in place with their votes FOR changes to the MUC Private Act in the 2001 referendum.

What's going on? 
Who is standing up TODAY for the 3,202 voters (72% of ballots) who cast their ballots for changes at MUC, including the current appointment process, in the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM?
Who is standing up TODAY to preserve the integrity of the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM and to make sure that any change to what the overwhelming majority of voters approved in 2001 is only made by a REFERENDUM in 2012?
You often hear people say my one vote doesn't count. Others say it doesn't matter what/who I vote for, they (politicians) are going to do whatever they want to do.

The McGuffin-or-Bust group and George McGuffin have no regard or respect for the 3,202 individuals who voted FOR changes to the MUC Private Act in 2001, including the current MUC appointment process.

The McGuffin-or-Bust group and George McGuffin are willing to cancel not just one vote but 3,202 votes to keep McGuffin in control of MUC.

The McGuffin-or-Bust group and George McGuffin are clearly going to do whatever it takes to keep George McGuffin in control at MUC.

Why doesn't Council just let changes go to a referendum like they did in 2001 and let this be handled the right way--by the people?

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011 Councilmember Claude Jinks Publicly States that Council Has "Great Hopes" of Transferring City Sewer To Morristown Utilities Commission

The City Finance Committee met two days ago.  In the short video above, Councilmember Claude Jinks asks City Administrator Tony Cox if Cox still plans to add a new City Hall position with the hiring of a new "public works" director. Tony says he's still working on selecting someone for that position. 

At about the 20 second mark, Claude says that he was wondering whether the position would still be needed since City Council has "great hopes" to transfer the City sewer to the Morristown Utility Commission (MUC) next year. 

Councilmember Kay Senter makes no comment. She adjourns the meeting and leaves.

What is Claude talking about? When and where did councilmembers discuss this transfer of the city sewer to MUC?

Apparently, the sewer transfer is part of the LeBel Five's agenda for MUC, but they have kept the public focus, instead, on their crusade to keep George McGuffin on the MUC Board. 

Publicly, the LeBel Five have voted against NINE different people recommended by MUC and nominated for appointment to the MUC Board by Mayor Thomas.

Publicly, the LeBel Five have discussed and voted to ask Rep. Don Miller and Sen. Steve Southerland to get the state legislature to authorize the LeBel FIVE to change the appointment process in the MUC Private Act--a move by FIVE people to circumvent and cancel out the votes of the 3,202 people (72% of the voters) who put the current appointment process in place in a 2001 Referendum. 

What the LeBel Five have not done publicly is discuss their plan to transfer control of the sewer to MUC and MUC Chairman George McGuffin.

While the public discussion about the MUC Private Act has been on changing the MUC appointment process to make sure that George McGuffin stays on the Board, the LeBel Five apparently have had private discussions about transferring the sewer to MUC and put that change in the legislation that they asked Rep. Miller and Sen. Southerland to carry for them. 

Miller and Southerland have agreed to carry the LeBel Five's legislation. Since the LeBel Five included the sewer transfer with the change to the appointment process, Miller and Southerland will be assisting the LeBel Five in making both changes without a referendum

The sewer transfer is a major change to the City's longtime policy and practice. Why didn't the LeBel Five discuss this publicly when voting on MUC Private Act changes at the two council meetings in November?  Why didn't the paper mention that the sewer transfer was part of the LeBel Five's changes to the MUC Private Act?
It is extremely ironic that the first really public mention of the sewer transfer comes from Councilmember Claude Jinks in an off-hand remark at the end of a Finance Committee meeting.

The LeBel Five refuse to allow the people to decide if changes should be made to what the people voted for in 2001 and on the sewer transfer.  Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks.

Two officials support the people's right to vote on changes to the Private Act. Mayor Danny Thomas and Councilmember Gene Brooks. 

And politicians wonder why people don't vote and say it doesn't matter what I say or how I vote, they (politicians) are going to do whatever they want to? 

The Morristown/LeBel Five/MUC/McGuffin/Sewer actions are just one example of why people are so cynical.

The "news"paper was not at the Finance meeting.

**The Finance Committee also discussed and took a vote recommending that the full council adopt a policy that will reduce the number of (non-law enforcement) take-home vehicles.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11, 2011 Thom Robinson Resigns as CEO of the Morristown Chamber of Commerce

The Morristown Chamber of Commerce announed the resignation of Thom Robinson, Chamber CEO, on Friday afternoon, December 9.     [See earlier post here.]

Robinson was also secretary for the Industrial Development Board of the City of Morristown.

The local "news"paper reports the resignation in today's December 11 online and hard copy editions.

[Click here for the online article but don't expect the link to work for very long since the "news"paper usually disables its links shortly after the article appears.]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 10, 2011 Former Assistant District Attorney General Doug Godbee Will Not Get Pretrial Diversion

It appears that former Assistant District Attorney Doug Godbee will not get pretrial diversion on charges of official misconduct. A special prosecutor from the Ninth Judicial District recently refused to recommend pretrial diversion for Godbee.

Pretrial diversion would have allowed Godbee to avoid a trial, be put on probation, and keep a clean record if he stayed out of further trouble during the probationary period.

Godbee, an Asst. DA in the Third Judicial District for more than 20 years, was arrested on May 2, 2011, after a Hawkins County grand jury indicted him, finding that Godbee attempted "to solicit sexual favors and in some instances (received) sexual favors from female defendants whose cases he was prosecuting," In return for "sexual favors," Godbee offered "reductions in charges and/or punishment"

The News-Sentinel story is here. A previous noe4accountability blog post with links to many news articles recounting the Godbee saga is here.

Godbee's case is being handled in Jefferson County Criminal Court.

Friday, December 09, 2011

December 9, 2011 Chamber Changes Coming?

There is a rumor going around that a major personnel change--perhaps a retirement/resignation--may soon be announced by the Morristown Chamber of Commerce. If this is true, it may come out as soon as today.

[UPDATE 12/11/11: The Chamber announced the resignation of Thom Robinson on Friday afternoon, a few hours after the above post. Robinson was Chamber CEO and secretary to the Industrial Development Board. All this is reported in the December 11 online and hard copy editions of the local "news"paper. Click here to link to the online article but don't expect the link to work very long--for some reason the local "news"paper disables links shortly after the article appears.]

Thursday, December 08, 2011

December 8, 2011 LeBel Five Reject Mayor Thomas' Ninth MUC Nominee Gene Lynch

Paul LeBel made the motion to reject Gene Lynch. Bob Garrett seconded the motion. The remaining members of the LeBel Five (Kay Senter, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks) then voted for the rejection.

In just a few short minutes, Paul LeBel and sidekicks rejected the ninth person (Gene Lynch) submitted by the Mayor for appointment to the Morristown Utilities Commission.

Nine times Mayor Thomas has selected a person as his nominee for the MUC, and nine times LeBel and sidekicks have said NOOOOO.

LeBel. Angry. Bob Garrett.  Bitter. Senter, Bivens, Jinks--gladly serving ONE person (George McGuffin) who has a burning desire to stay on the MUC Board and rejecting EVERY other person.

For those keeping score, these are the NINE people rejected so far: Mike Minnich, Glenn Thompson, Carroll Fowler, Wally Long, John Allen, Mike Davidson, Bruce Sluder, Jerry Isaacs, and now Gene Lynch.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

December 7, 1941 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941 the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

By planning his attack on a Sunday, the Japanese commander hoped to catch the entire fleet in port.

The first strike began with 183 fighters and torpedo bombers striking at Pearl Harbor and other targets. A second strike was launched at 0715 hours.

The News-Sentinel has a wonderful article here.

We should honor and remember all who currently serve or have served the United States of America in the armed forces at home and abroad.

The gifts of freedom and liberty that the Founding Fathers established have been preserved through the years by the devotion and sacrifice of many. 

My father served in World War II. He died over six years ago. To me, he was the greatest member of the Greatest Generation.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

December 4, 2011 Sheriff Terminates Lynn Wolfe; Wolfe Files Grievance with Civil Service Board

Lynn Wolfe, former Hamblen County Chief Detective (under Sheriff Otto Purkey) and later jailer Lynn Wolfe (under Otto Purkey and under Sheriff Esco Jarnagin), is making news again.

Wolfe, who had been working as a corrections officer at the jail, was terminated and has filed a grievance with the Civil Service Board to be heard in early January 2012

Most local people know of the Wolfe saga. Wolfe worked at the HCSD. In 1998, newly-elected Sheriff Otto Purkey, a relative of Wolfe, promoted Wolfe to Chief Detective.

In December 2000, Wolfe wrecked a county cruiser in a one-vehicle wreck. Wolfe blamed the wreck on winter weather. Blood alcohol levels, however, were reportedly more than twice the legal limit. Wolfe pleaded guilty to the DWI and resigned after negotiating a nice severance package with his relative County Mayor David Purkey.
A few years later, Wolfe was hired back as a corrections officer by relative Otto Purkey.  When  current Sheriff Esco Jarnagin defeated Otto in 2006, Wolfe was kept on as a corrections officer but was never promoted to patrol/road work despite Wolfe's burning desire to get back behind the wheel of a county vehicle.

Eventually, Wolfe sued Jarnagin. Click here. Jarnagin eventually prevailed and let Wolfe continue to work in the jail, but refused to put Wolfe behind the wheel of a county cruiser.

After the 2000 wreck, the County sued Wolfe.  County attorney Rusty Cantwell and Wolfe's attorney worked out an agreement where the cruiser was valued at $6,250 and Wolfe was to "work off" the $6,250 debt by "working" for the county at $6/hour.

So where and how did Wolfe end up "working off" his debt? Well, Wolfe was assigned to work for the county maintenance department that just happened to be headed by his father Harold Wolfe

In claiming that he had "worked off" the debt, Lynn took some timesheets, signed his name on each line, listed a bunch of dates, but did not show even one hour worked on any date listed. Wolfe's timeless timesheets were signed by Gary Templin, who was an assistant to Lynn's father Harold, as proof of hours worked to pay the debt.

Only in the world of Hamblen County Government could timesheets with not one hour of time on them be used as proof of payment of a $6K+ debt.  All the timesheets show is that Lynn signed them, put some dates down, and got his father's assistant to sign off on it, with no questions asked.

Then Lynn turned in his timeless timesheets to County Mayor David Purkey, another relative, with no questions asked!

It sort of looked like Lynn knew all along that he could turn in blank timesheets--to his relatives--and get away with it--no questions asked.

Click here to see the "time"sheets and a summary of what went on.