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

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ARNOLD, JOSEPH LEGRANDE  3303 Through St Chattanooga, 37411  Age at Arrest: 54 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga VANDALISM/MALICIOUS MISCHIEF --- BRAMBLETT, JERRY LAMAR  603 PARSON ROAD APT 1 CHATSWORTH, 30705  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALVEY, SHANA DIANE  7111 TERESA ST BIRCHWOOD, 37308  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Collegedale Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BAKER, JESSICA FAYE  826 NORTH VALLEYWOOD CIRCLE HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (18)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The New Mean

Until last Monday I believed nobody could ever hurt my feelings again. In the half-century I have been a writer I’ve had hundreds of people take swipes at me, been called more names, and received more hate mail than you can imagine. I also know the only way anyone can hurt you is for you to allow it and, brother, it is nigh impossible to get inside me. My defense mechanism is because ... (click for more)

UTC Soccer Battles Eastern Kentucky To 0-0 Tie

The UTC women’s soccer team battled to a 0-0 tie against Eastern Kentucky Sunday afternoon at Finley Stadium in non-conference action.   The Mocs remain unbeaten at 1-0-1 while Eastern Kentucky moves to 0-1-1 on the year.   “There’s a reason why they were co-regular season champions in the Ohio Valley Conference last year and made a run to the conference tournament ... (click for more)

Blue-Gold Scrimmage Is Prelude To UTC Volleyball Regular Schedule

The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball program concluded their preseason schedule with the annual Blue and Gold intra-squad scrimmage  on Saturday  afternoon in Maclellan Gymnasium. The three-set scrimmage featured the Mocs roster mixing up lineups on both the Blue and Gold teams. Blue jerseys came out victorious after earning a 2-1 (25-23, 27-25, 15-25) win over the ... (click for more)