City Judges Say Left Out Of The Loop By City Hall

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Judge Sherry Paty addresses the City Council
Judge Sherry Paty addresses the City Council

City Judges Sherry Paty and Russell Bean told City Council members they have been left out of the loop on changes to the city charter affecting City Court.

She also said the judges only accidentally learned this morning about a resolution on the council's evening agenda regarding a $457,000 contract to make City Court paperless. She said she read about it on Chattanoogan.com.

"This is beyond frustrating to us," she said.

Judge Paty asked that the issues about the charter change and the paperless system be delayed "until there is a new administration.

"

Judge Paty and Mayor Ron Littlefield in 2010 clashed when the judge charged that the mayor had tried to influence her in a case pet store case in a manner that was "improper, unethical and perhaps contemptible." The mayor said he had gotten involved because he felt the judge was being "indecisive."

The council agreed to hold off on any city charter changes affecting City Court at this time, though proceeding with other sections that are "archaic."

Council members also indicated they may delay consideration of the purchase of an electronic management system software suite for $457,108 from Armedia, L.L.C. Officials said there are plans to convert other offices to a paperless system and the city may eventually do an estimated $1 million business with the Atlanta-based firm. The annual maintenance fee is $58,423.

However, the contract was approved with only Councilwoman Deborah Scott asking for a delay. Councilwoman Carol Berz said that another department could go first if problems continue with implementing it in City Court. 

Judge Bean said there had been discussion of such a move about 18 months ago, but he had heard nothing recently.

He said he asked at the time if there was a backup system. He said, "When we have 100 people waiting in court, we can't have the system go down."

The judge asked what other court system had gone paperless. "They still use paper in Sessions Court," he said.

On the proposed charter changes, Judge Paty noted that it was removing a section about City Court about concurrent jurisdiction with General Sessions Court to hear state cases. She noted that the city had pulled back from hearing state cases some years ago, but at some point might want to resume.

City Attorney Mike McMahan said he believed the city had lost its right to do so under a state law dealing with municipalities.

Daisy Madison, finance director, said the city had made a gaffe by not getting the judges included. She said the contacts had been with interim City Court Clerk Jan Turner. But she said she did not want to see the whole project shelved.

She said it was felt that City Court was the place to start the conversion because of its large amount of paper.

Judge Paty said one charter change put the city court clerk under the finance department. She said that would preclude other options, including an elected clerk.

One version of the City Court charter change had the City Council having annual oversight over the pay of the judges. 

      


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AKRIDGE, CHRISTOPHER D  1812 S WILLOW ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 30 years old Arresting Agency: Chatt. Housing Authority CRIMINAL TRESPASSING CRIMINAL TRESPASSING CRIMINAL TRESPASSING --- BENFORD, JAPEKA QUANET  814 WEST 13TH STREET COURT CHATTANOOGA, 37402  Age at ... (click for more)

Man Suffers Injuries In Mountain Bike Accident Near Stringer's Ridge Park

A man suffered injuries in a mountain bike crash near Stringer's Ridge Park on Thursday afternoon. It happened on Hiram Avenue on the Red Bank side of the park. After the crash, a woman walking nearby heard the man yelling and she went to help him. The man had a buddy who was a distance away. After he arrived, he carried the injured man to where Red Bank firefighters were ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Quaker Oats & Stuff

Some genius in the Quaker Oats marketing department came up with a novel idea last summer with the theme: “What if you had the chance to do something you have always wanted to do … but you had to start today?” Somehow Michael Hope and his family – that includes three children – got to be interviewed and, when his 10-year-old daughter Lauren was asked, she said she always wanted ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Beats Signal Mountain In Volleyball

The high school volleyball season is only in its second week, but things haven't gotten off to as good a start as teams from Notre Dame and Signal Mountain would like. But these two teams met Thursday evening at Signal Mountain and it was the Lady Irish who went home smiling as they beat the Lady Eagles, 3-1.  Set scores were 25-21, 25-17, 20-25 and 25-18. Both teams ... (click for more)

Vols Feel It's Almost Football Time In Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After weeks of preseason training and kickoff in Nashville now just 10 days away, the Tennessee players and coaches are just as excited as their followers for the 2015 season to begin. The sweltering heat of early August has lowered to a late-summer simmer at Haslam Field, signaling that fall is on the horizon and it is almost Football Time In Tennessee. ... (click for more)