Friday, February 03, 2012

February 3, 2012 CFA Site Has Channel 8 (WVLT) Report on Five Councilmembers Trying to Change the Voter-Approved MUC Appointment Process

Citizens for Accountability has posted the video of a Ch 8 segment that aired on WVLT-TV on Wednesday evening.

The newscast discusses the local controversy generated by five councilmembers (Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks) who have aligned to reject not one, not two, but ELEVEN different mayoral appointees to the Morristown Utilities Commission (MUC) Board.

[Jinks, whose daughter-in-law works for MUC, cast a vote for the mayor's first appointment and then joined firmly with The Five in supporting current MUC Chair George McGuffin and rejecting everyone else]

Click here for the CFA post.

Click here for the original WVLT video and text of its report.


The current appointment process for MUC Board members was submitted to the PEOPLE, along with other MUC changes, for approval or disapproval in a 2001 referendum.   The MUC referendum, including the current appointment process, was approved overwhelmingly by 3,202 voters in 2001 (72% FOR 28% AGAINST).

As a result of the referendum, recommendation of candidates for MUC Board membership comes straight from the MUC Board which is chaired by 34-year member George McGuffin who wants to stay on the Board for another five years.

A list of MUC-candidates is sent to the Mayor, who then submits the name of one of the MUC-provided candidates to the full council for approval of disapproval. So far, ELEVEN MUC-provided candidates have been submitted to council by the Mayor, and all ELEVEN have failed to be approved.

So, MUC keeps sending lists of more MUC-approved candidates to the Mayor, and The Five keep rejecting every mayoral nominee.

MUC Chair McGuffin will not step aside and let someone else be appointed. McGuffin pretends to sit on the sidelines as a spectator while he actually backs and encourages The Five councilmembers to keep on shooting down the very people who have been recommended for an MUC Board seat by the MUC Board that McGuffin chairs.

How do The Five propose to get McGuffin back on? Change the law.  The integrity of the 2001 Referendum means nothing to the Five, so they have asked our local state representatives (Rep. Don Miller and Sen. Steve Southerland) to get the state legislature to help change the local law/MUC Private Act to alter the voter-approved appointment process without holding a referendum to see if the PEOPLE want to change what the PEOPLE voted for.

Why are McGuffin and The Five and their associates willing to go so far as to attack and overturn a referendum in order to keep McGuffin in place?  Well, it appears to be either a raw power grab by McGuffin and Company and/or part of a political vendetta against Mayor Thomas. 

From here on, you can only laugh when these officials publicly encourage people to vote and talk about the integrity of elections and preventing voter-fraud. Those nice little public statements are nothing but garbage when these officials are making a mockery of a local referendum as they try to overturn the MUC-appointment process that was approved by 3,202 voters---72% of all votes cast---as part of a series of 2001 changes to MUC.

If The Five want to make changes to the MUC appointment process and protect the integrity of the 2001 MUC Referendum,  it's really quite simple to do. Put the proposed changes on the ballot for a vote of the people. 

Maybe the people want to change the MUC appointment process that they voted for in 2001. Maybe the people do not want to change the MUC appointment process that they voted for in 2001. 

The council included the current appointment process as part of the MUC ballot question in a 2001 referendum, and 72% of the voters said YES.  Why are Five Councilmembers so afraid of putting their proposed changes on the ballot again to see if the VOTERS want to change what the voters approved in 2001?

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