Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21, 2012 Donation of $125,000 in Public Funds to MHHS Foundation Fails in Hamblen County Commission

On September 10, the Hamblen County Budget Committee voted 8-4 to recommend that the full commission give $125,000 of public funds to the MHHS Foundation for use in a building project and reserve all remaining funds in the former Hamblen County endowment fund for future jail capital projects. Click here.  [Paul LeBel and Herbert Harville were not present at the Budget Committee.]

When that recommendation went to the full commission yesterday, it failed to get the 2/3 majority vote (10 YES) that was required for approval. 

Yesterday's vote was 8 YES and 6 NO, two short of the ten required for approval under the special act.

Doe Jarvis voted for the recommendation in Committee but voted NO yesterday. He was joined with a NO vote from his very good friend Paul LeBel.

Although it's hard to resist pressure from powerful people who come to commission asking for public money for their projects, it appears that there is---at least for now---a significant group of commissioners who feel that public money should go for county government projects first and foremost.

Helen Ross McNabb Center Foundation and MHHS Foundation have raised huge amounts of money already, plans are drawn, and both will more than likely proceed with their planned construction with or without a donation of public money from the Hamblen County Commission. 

But they go to public bodies (MUC and County Commission), ask for a public donation, and are often able to get support from commissioners who have no trouble in spending other people's money even while major county needs for roads and jails are present.

The eight YES votes were Stancil Ford, Larry Baker, Howard Shipley, Nancy Phillips, Dana Wampler, Rick Eldridge, Tilman Goins, and Herbert Harville.

The six NO votes Doyle Fullington, Larry Carter, Tim Dennison, Tim Goins, Paul LeBel, and Doe Jarvis.

That Hamblen County endowment money is burning a hole in commissioner's pockets. If it is not clearly set aside for county government capital projects soon, foundations and other non-profits will continue to come and ask for 14 people to take public dollars and donate them for foundation and non-profit capital projects.

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