MTAS Attorney Says He Overlooked Section In His Recall Opinion

Friday, September 3, 2010

An attorney for the Municipal Technical Assistance Service (MTAS) who earlier said state law trumps the city of Chattanooga charter on recall matters ackownledged he overlooked a key factor in his decision.

Sidney Hemsley, senior law consultant, said in a letter today to election office attorney Chris Clem, "I do agree that the re-enactment of the city of Chattanooga charter after July 1, 1997, satisfies the 'contrary charter provision' requirement contained in TCA 2-5-151 with respect to the number of signatures required on the recall petition."

Attorney Hemley, in an earlier eight-page opinion, said those carrying out the recall in Chattanooga needed to follow the more stringent state law.

That would have required them to collect 15 percent of the signatures of registered voters instead of the city's standard of at least 50 percent of those who voted for mayor in the last general election. It would have meant about 15,000 names in the recall of Mayor Ron Littlefield as opposed to fewer than 9,000 under the city charter.

The opinion was requested by Council Chairman Manny Rico, who is one of the recall targets.

Attorney Hemsley also said in the letter to attorney Clem, "I relied on the historical citations contained at the end of the recall provision in Section 3.18 of the Chattanooga city charter without further ensuring that there had been no re-enactments of that charter since 1997, a mistake worse in view of the fact that I had the Chattanooga Municipal Code in front of me, which contained the charter and information regarding updates to the charter since Brown v. Board of Commissioners, a case with which I was already familiar.

"I apologize for any consternation my opinion caused to the government and people of Chattanooga and the Hamilton County Election Commission with respect to the mathematical requirements for the recall petition, and I do appreciate your calling the charter re-enactment to my attention."


Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us on Facebook ... (click for more)

Bradley County Sheriff's Office Says It Does Not Know What Grand Jury Decided After Hearing Evidence Against Sheriff Watson

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office said early Thursday afternoon it does not know what the Grand Jury may have decided after evidence was presented to it on Wednesday against Sheriff Eric Watson. The evidence was presented after a year-long investigation by Sevier County District Attorney James Dunn and the TBI. James Bradford of the Sheriff's Office said, " The Bradley County ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Never Rile A Ghost

I don’t care whether you believe in ghosts or not but there is one of life’s rules that should be etched in stone – “Don’t Stir Up A Ghost.” Personally I’ve never seen a ghost but when I was a little kid I heard a bunch of them at different times, and I know where some hang out. There is the famous “Green Eyes” among a handful of haunts at the Chickamauga Battlefield. You can hear ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Basketball camp Is More Than Basketball

As Chattanooga State head men’s basketball coach Jay Price out it simply, “Chattanooga Parks and Recreation had the kids, we had the resources.” So, a partnership was struck where the city supplied 140 boys from the inner city and Chatt State brought the facilities. The girl's camp last week had 75 participants.   Just like that the first of what Coach Price hopes will ... (click for more)

Lookouts Announce That Playoff Tickets Are On Sale Beginning July 24th

The 2017 First Half North Division Champion Chattanooga Lookouts have announced that individual tickets for the Lookouts 2017 playoffs presented by CoreCivic Silverdale Detention Facility will go on sale online at Lookouts.com and over the phone on Monday, July 24 at 9:00 a.m.  Tickets start at just $6.  On Monday, fans will be able to secure their seats to the team’s ... (click for more)