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. 

      


Alexander Says Senate-Passed Bill Will Help Fight Zika, Keep Government, National Parks Open

Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday voted for legislation that will provide $1.1 billion to combat the spread of the Zika virus, keep government and national parks open and fund Pell grants for college students. The bill will keep the government open through  Dec. 9 . Senator Alexander said, “Senate Democrats deserve no praise today for finally relenting and allowing ... (click for more)

Uses For Discarded Glass To Be One Of Focuses Of Green/Spaces City Recycling Grant

Finding possible uses for discarded glass will be one of the focuses for Green/Spaces under a $40,000 grant from the city related to recycling. Justin Holland, city public works director, said glass is "the most challenging" aspect in recycling at this time due to the lack of markets for recycled glass. Green/Spaces is "to launch an expansive educational marketing campaign ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 2.0 Embarrassment

Let’s pretend you are coming to a new and exciting world. You are on the jolly good ship “Mayflower” when some Miles Standish-type of a guy (he was the Pilgrim’s first cop) calls you into is presence and says, “Within two hours we are expected to stand on Plymouth Rock. Please come up with ten primary goals we should have in our public schools.” I believe you could do it within ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Beats Red Bank On Senior Night

It was Senior Night at Signal Mountain on Wednesday as the Lady Eagles played their last regular-season volleyball match at home before they host next week’s District 7-AA tournament and all went pretty much as planned. It was a battle of regular-season district champions as the 6-AA queen Red Bank Lionettes provided the opposition for the 7-AA winning Lady Eagles. Signal ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Wins 7-AA After Beating Notre Dame

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles took care of business at home Tuesday night as they swept visiting Notre Dame by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-19 to claim first place in District 7-AA with a 10-0 district mark and 30-8 overall. Audrie Johnson had 11 kills while Kate Barry added 17 digs and 11 assists.  Nicole Terfloth finished with 18 digs and three aces for the winners ... (click for more)