Grohn Hits Berke Administration As COO Kean Departs; Chairman Hakeem Says Grohn "Went Over The Line"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

City Councilman Larry Grohn, noting that city COO Andrew Kean is leaving after six months on the job, on Thursday hit the administration of Mayor Andy Berke  "for its complete lack of transparency, all sorts of arm twisting and personal witch hunts."

Councilman Grohn questioned an upcoming resolution for a $96,000 expenditure with the PFM financial management firm.

He said, "Mr. Kean was brought in here to install outcome-based budgeting, but now we are having to pay PFM to finish the job. He was brought in from Rock City at a young age with little experience, and I don't think he was up to the task."

The councilman said the proposed budget work "comes just four and a half months before we are supposed to get the next city budget."

Councilman Grohn said of the PFM contract, "Here is a firm that the city did business with 10 or 12 years ago and now we are saying we are giving them a 'continuing' contract without a bid. This is a firm that Mayor Berke's wife worked under the local PFM operator, and it doesn't pass the smell test." Officials in the mayor's office noted that Ms. Berke worked for David Eichenthal when he was at the Ochs Center, not at PFM.

He noted that PFM earlier got $100,000 from the city to work on the fire and police pension fund issue.

Councilman Grohn said he initially had been unable to get any information about the status of Mr. Kean from the administration.

He said, "The last city administration was not transparent and this one is even worse. And it is just as vindictive."

City Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem praised Mr. Kean and said Councilman Grohn "went over the line" in his remarks about him and the Berke administration.

The chairman said, "I am extremely disappointed in the remarks of my colleague, and I am going to have a conversation with him about it."

Chairman Hakeem said, "I think the council as a whole treats each other very respectfully and we expect that to carry carry over to the general government as well."

He said Councilman Grohn should have not brought the mayor's wife into the issue and it should have been "based on the facts".

Chairman Hakeem called Mr. Kean "an asset to the city." He said, "We all have been here just six months, and I think we have accomplished a doggone lot in that short time."

He said the Berke administration "has been very transparent. I don't know of a single question that we have asked them about the budget that they have not answered." 

He said he does not believe other council members agree with the Grohn remarks.

Travis McDonough, chief of staff, said, "We work extremely closely with all councilpersons to ensure they have the best and most accurate information, especially as it pertains to their districts. I believe the council persons would agree that this is a priority of the Berke Administration. Unfortunately, Councilman Grohn appears to be more focused on making false statements about this administration and our approach to Budgeting for Outcomes than paying attention to the issues facing the community.”


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AMINI, ROBERT ALLEN     425 425 NORTHMONT ROAD HIXSON, 37343     33     Chattanooga          DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED     IMPLIED CONSENT LAW - DRIVERS BALDWIN, ANTONIO JARQUISE     2100 CLEVELAND AVENUE ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AUSTIN, CHRISTIAN JAMES     727 E 11TH STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37402     26     Chattanooga          PUBLIC INTOXICATION BALL, CHRISTINA JEAN     1267 LEESIDE LANE HIXSON, 37343     29     Hamilton ... (click for more)

When The City Was Silent

I don't know how to say this without getting my head handed back to me on a platter as is often the usual case. But at least I no longer receive the hateful (even threatening) emails and insults I became accustomed to. So I'll just bite and say it: I honestly don't see anything expressed by the NSM that hasn't been said locally on some level at one time or another, and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Could Use You…

In the spring of 1968, this just before pro golfer Billy Casper would win six tournaments that year and be the leading money winner on the tour, the wildly-popular “Buffalo Bill” was in Japan playing some off-season tournaments. He was asked if he would like to visit some American soldiers who had been seriously wounded and Casper, ever the gentleman, said of course. As he melted ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy, Ooltewah Claim Softball Titles Saturday

A whole lot of high school softball was played at the Kids Club Park this weekend in Soddy Daisy, but it was District 5-AAA rivals Soddy Daisy and Ooltewah that walked away with the championship hardware. Soddy Daisy beat Wilson Central by a 3-2 final for first place in the Gold division while Ooltewah had a much easier time putting the Powell Lady Panthers down by a 10-1 final ... (click for more)

Owls Beat Pounders, 10-4, In Trojan Classic As Tune Up For District Stretch

Ooltewah and Central used their diamond matchup in the Trojan Classic on Saturday as a tune up for critical district home-and-home series on Monday and Tuesday. But the Owls left Central High’s baseball field in a slightly better mindset than the Purple Pounders about the week ahead. Ooltewah backed a complete game by sophomore C.J. Harden with a 12-hit attack and knocked ... (click for more)