East Ridge Passes On Final Reading Ordinance For Elected City Court Clerk

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The East Ridge City Council on Thursday night passed on second and final reading an ordinance to elect the city court clerk.

The 3-2 approval came after Judge Arvin Reingold again lambasted City Manager Tim Gobble, saying the action was precipitated when Mr. Gobble got mad about the handling of a case in which his daughter was an armed robbery victim.

The judge said, "I cannot sit back and listen to the criticism of these three clerks, who are doing a fine job."

He also said the city manager had used the city's Facebook page to be critical of the clerks.

Judge Reingold said Mr. Gobble got some misinformation about the clerk passing his daughter's case and "came charging" to the clerk's office and "loudly criticized her." The judge said only he and the district attorney can pass a case, not the clerk. He said he contacted Mr. Gobble twice to keep him up-to-date on the status of the case, but got no response. 

Mr. Gobble said there are more than $1.95 million in uncollected fines from the court dating to 2004. He said some $171,000 of that should be turned over to a collection agency, but the data has not yet been received from the clerk's office.

Judge Reingold shook his head in disagreement and Councilman Denny Manning asked that the judge be allowed to respond. But Mayor Brent Lambert said he had his say earlier in the meeting and at a prior session.

Again voting in favor were Mayor Lambert, Vice Mayor Larry Sewell and Councilman Darwin Branam. Opposed were Council members Manning and Jim Bethune.

It was uncertain whether the action might be reversed when Marc Gravitt comes on in place of the outgoing Branum in December.

Mr. Gobble was also denounced by citizen activist Frances Pope, who told the council he said in an email to Elisha Hodge of the state open records office that she "is fond of not fully informing you of the true story and facts."

Ms. Pope said she could be accused of being "a loud mouth," but not of giving inaccurate facts.

She said in another email that Mr. Gobble had invited Ms. Hodge to sue the city over the issue of Ms. Pope not getting information she requested.

Ms. Pope said, "I'm embarrassed by this. Do we really want to challenge the state of Tennessee? He should be reprimanded for doing so."

Councilman Manning told Ms. Pope, "I will be the first to apologize for what went on in our city."

On another matter, City Manager Gobble said the city is close to turning over land at the entrance to Camp Jordan for a development known as Jordan Crossing.

He termed it "the biggest thing to happen in East Ridge in 50 years."

Mr. Gobble said some of the flood-prone property will have to be raised and other sections cannot be developed.

The city manager said planning is to start soon for a multi-use trail system that would link neighborhoods in East Ridge to the city of Chattanooga and North Georgia.

He said they would be designed for use by walkers, bicyclists and seniors in golf cars.

It is a long-term project, he said, but it is necessary to get a plan in place.

He said a number of old signs along Ringgold Road have been taken down in a beautification effort.

He also said the city's finances are sound and it is aiming to pay off all the city debt by 2024. 

East Ridge found it is responsible for a giant sinkhole that opened up on the parking lot at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church.

The hole is "big enough to put a school bus in," Safety Director Eddie Phillips said.

East Ridge officials at first said they were not responsible, then they were shown an easement signed by former City Manager Wayne Hamill. The city had no copy of the unrecorded easement, but the church had.

Mack McCarley of Thompson Engineering said the city has pipes below the parking lot that have collapsed in places. He said the whole section of pipe needs to be replaced by a large concrete pipe. Estimated cost is $55,000 for the pipe and $8,000 for the engineering.  


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAILIFF, KEVIN BRENTON  1211 LAKESIDE DRIVE HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DOMESTIC --- BARNES, RACHEL KATHLEEN  420 BOOTH ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 23 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga POSSESSION ... (click for more)

City Police Officer Seriously Injured In Crash On Dodson Avenue

A Chattanooga Police officer was seriously injured in a crash on Dodson Avenue on Friday afternoon.   Police said the injuries to Sean Lynch, 38, are not life-threatening.   Police responded to a traffic crash at 1400 Dodson Ave.   The crash involved a silver Ford 350 van,  a white Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser driven by Officer Lynch, ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Haggling Must Stop

Far be it for me to suggest the Hamilton County Commission and the School Board need to spend more time at recess but it was obvious this week the two groups need to work at being better friends. We have nine county commissioners and just as many corresponding school board members to work together for the betterment of one entity – Hamilton County. Everybody who thinks that is happening ... (click for more)

Amazing Bradley Builds 32-0 Lead, Routs Cookeville 69-35 In Region 3-3A Tournament

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central’s top-ranked Bearettes went into Friday’s Region 3-3A quarterfinal basketball game against Cookeville with several thoughts in mind. Sending a message was one of them. Stamp it delivered. The Bearettes, now at 30-0 with the tradition-rich program’s third-longest winning streak in its history, overwhelmed the Lady Cavaliers with a ... (click for more)

Macon County Ends Season For Signal Mountain Girls

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles entered the first round of the Region 4-AA basketball tournament as the District 7-AA champions and riding high on a seven-game winning streak. The Macon County Tigerettes came to Signal Mountain Friday night for that first-round game on a two-game losing streak and still hurting after finishing fourth in last week’s District 8 gathering. But ... (click for more)