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.”


Sign Up To Get The Latest News, Opinions From Chattanoogan.com In Real Time; Win Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Sign up for our Facebook and Twitter feeds and you will get the  local news in "real time." You will also be entered for a chance to win the complete set of the Chattanooga Photo Books published by Chattanoogan.com. We will give away three sets of The Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga to our new Facebook ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BALLARD, TANIKKA NICHOLE  1722 STANFIELD STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County LIGHT LAW VIOLATION --- BEARDEN, DENISE MINOR  2730 APPLEBROOK LANE CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 45 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ... (click for more)

Tom Edd Wilson Was A Great Visionary

We want to add to the many heart-felt messages that have been expressed regarding the recent passing of Tom Edd Wilson, a truly great visionary.    While he made his mark on many local organizations, Tom Edd will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked closely with him at Erlanger.   We benefited greatly from his steady guidance, leadership ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Leaders Stand ‘Way Back’

Franklin McCallie, a former principal at Howard School and the maverick in one of Chattanooga’s finest families known for education, delivered an impassioned speech before the Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday. Sadly, his remarks came after the commissioners had passed the FY2018 budget that has no financial methodology for the Department of Education, much maligned in the ... (click for more)

Inclement Weather Forces Cancellation Of Thursday Night's Lookouts Game

Not only was Tropical Storm Cindy responsible for the cancellation of Tuesday's Southern League All-Star Game, but now the storm has also resulted in the cancellation of Thursday night's game at AT&T Field with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The First Half North Division Champion Lookouts announced that Thursday's (6/22) game has been postponed due ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)