June 1, 2012 Charging Councilmembers for City Government Documents
At Morristown City Council's May 1 meeting, a resolution was passed that allows some City officials to charge other City officials (City Councilmembers) for City Government documents.
Tony Cox describes the resolution, but he never says who is behind it or what prompted it. Cox doesn't explain the "need" to charge elected City Councilmembers for "non-routine"(?) City government documents.
Only Gene Brooks and Mayor Thomas commented on the resolution. Brooks and Thomas later cast the only votes against the resolution.
Brooks states that this should be called the "Gene Brooks" resolution as it appears to be retaliation against him for sending Millennium Square documents evidencing conflicts of interest involving Wild Contractors to state and federal officials--resulting in Wild being prohibited from bidding or performing work on the project. *See end of this post for a further explanation of the conflicts.
Mayor Thomas notes that this resolution is contrary to open and transparent government and that documents are often the only way that information can be gathered to make informed decisions.
Mayor Thomas asks if others have comments.
Total silence from Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Claude Jinks, and Chris Bivens.
No one stands up for this resolution or explains why it is good, why it is needed, or how it will promote open and transparent city government.
*Brooks sent Millennium documents and information on conflicts and insider information to TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) and to the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). The State then postponed the initial bidding to allow the conflicted owner (Tim and David Wild)/ contractor (Wild Building)/project estimator (Wild Building), to respond to the allegations.
Wild obtained an attorney to provide its response. Todd Morgan, the City's pointman for the Millennium project, responded on behalf of the City. Brewer/Ingram/Fuller, project architects, also responded.
The State determined that conflicts of interest and insider information did exist and that Wild Building Contractors would be prohibited from bidding on the project. Federal law on conflicts-of-interest was cited.
More on Millennium is here and here and here. For other info on the Millennium project, scroll down on the right side of this blog and click on the labels: Millennium Square Grant or Millennium Square Partners.
After the conflicts were addressed, the project was bid in April 2011. The low bid was considered too high. The project was re-designed to reduce costs, and bid for a second time in May 2012. In May only one bidder submitted a bid which again was considered too high. No contract has been awarded at this time.
Married. Three grown children. Taught school 11 years. Entered law school in 2001. Graduated and passed the bar in 2004. Licensed attorney in Tennessee. Hamblen County Commissioner (2002-2006). Focused on accountability, ethics, and openness in government at all levels.
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