Pam Ladd Offers To Referee Latest Dispute Between Littlefield, City Judges

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

City Council Chair Pam Ladd said Tuesday night she is willing to step in and referee the latest dispute between Mayor Ron Littlefield and City Judges Sherry Paty and Russell Bean.

Judge Paty sent an email to the council members, saying the administration was moving ahead with a plan to convert the City Court Clerk's office to a paperless system, though the judges asked that the process not start until a new mayor can appoint a new City Court clerk.

Council members took up the controversy at the close of the City Council meeting, and Councilwoman Deborah Scott asked Finance Director Daisy Madison if the process could not start with another department.

Ms. Madison said it was, "but it's not my call. The administration sets the priorities."

Councilman Jack Benson said when a motion was made to approve a firm to move a number of city departments to a paperless system that council members recommended that the administration not start with City Court since the judges wanted to hold up. But he said the motion was advisory and "the mayor has the right to do as he pleases."

Councilman Andrae McGary asked Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett if the council could withhold funding for the project if it chooses, and he said the council could.

Councilman Peter Murphy said it made sense to start with City Court since he said paperwork from a number of offices - including the police and Neighborhood Services - wind up there.  

Ms. Ladd said she would like to see the administration and the judges sit down and try to work out a solution, and she said she would be glad to sit in on the meeting if necessary.

She said, "Let's see if they can resolve whatever concerns there are and get this moving."

Judge Paty said in her email to the council:

Dear Council Members,

I am forwarding an email and attachment regarding meetings that are being set up between Armedia and the City Court Clerk’s office. As you will recall, you approved this contract with Armedia with the understanding that City Court and the Clerk’s office would not be the first department to implement this initiative. It appears to be moving forward without our approval nor the approval of the Council. Judge Bean and I made it clear that we do not want to implement any paperless initiative until we have a new administration in place. We also stated that Armedia should begin with another department other than City Court since this company has never implemented a paperless initiative in a Court system. I wanted to make you aware of these meetings, since this is in complete disregard of the conditions upon which you approved this contract.

Sherry Paty

City Court Judge

She was responding to an email from Ken Hymes of the Armedia firm chosen to implement the process.

It said:

All, attached is the proposed interview schedule for the week of Feb. 25. We are planning to conclude interviews in an hour (or less). I’ve tried to arrange the schedule to fall within your standard working hours but with time set aside in the morning to “settle in” before we start! As was discussed earlier today, this schedule is flexible and can be modified to accommodate work schedules, prior commitments, etc. Please feel free to suggest appropriate changes that will allow us to canvas all the identified persons between Monday and Thursday. Once we get this finalized, I hope you can put these interviews on the calendars of each individual so the time is booked.

 

We understand we will have a room to interview in/work in that is inside the Court Clerks area, and we will bring our projector and hotspot to use that week.

 

Thanks in advance for your help with planning and scheduling the interviews and logistics! Looking forward to seeing you on Feb. 25. Regards,

Judge Paty said she and Judge Bean will be at Judicial Conference at the time their educational session was planned.

She said, "I am not opposed to the clerk's office going paperless, but it should not be started during this administration without a permanent City Court clerk in place."

Mayor Littlefield and the judges have clashed over a number of issues since Judge Paty accused the mayor of trying to interfere in her handling of a case involving a Hamilton Place Mall pet store.

 


Upcoming City Council Agendas

Here are the upcoming City Council agendas: Agenda for Tuesday: I.    Call to Order. II.        Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilwoman Berz). III.    Minute Approval.              IV.    Special Presentation. V.    Ordinances ... (click for more)

2 Arrested In Bradley County For Burglary Of A Church

Heads-up work by detectives led to the arrest of two suspects in a burglary at Michigan Avenue Baptist Church. The break-in and theft from the church’s annex building where youth worship services are held occurred sometime from April 8 and when it was discovered on April 11.    Early in the investigation detectives found a DVD/VCR unit and dehumidifier that ... (click for more)

Time For Tennessee To Act On Climate This Earth Day - And Response

Tennessee will join the rest of the southeast region, the nation and countries across the world in celebrating Earth Day on April 22. The entire month of April is a great time to reflect on the strides we have made to reduce pollution over the last 44 years, and assess current environmental conditions while evaluating our personal responsibility to a cleaner environment.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Jim Coppinger Excels

Jim Coppinger, who as the mayor of Hamilton County has understandably had to grow some thick skin, wants no part of the repulsive billboards now seen around town that ask, “Do you have gonorrhea?”  His Tuesday morning telephone call revealed he is just as disgusted as the rest of us who see them showing a picture of a forlorn African-American male. “You need to know the Hamilton ... (click for more)

Owls' Fugate Fires Two-Hit Shutout In 2-0 Win Over Blue Raiders

Ooltewah was on the verge of a District 5-AAA double-header sweep against Cleveland. But the Blue Raiders’ hot-hitting catcher Hunter Oliver had other ideas. The Owls rode Logan Fugate’s brilliant two-hit shutout and two first-inning runs to a 2-0 win over Cleveland in the first game at A.C. Bud Ball Field on Wednesday. “Logan is an absolute warrior,” Owls coach Brian Hitchcox ... (click for more)

Bucs' Willingham Strikes Out School-Record 17 In 5-A Win

Boyd-Buchanan’s Brandon Willingham threw a three-hit, complete-game gem and set a school record with 17 strikeouts in the Bucs’ 7-1 victory over Copper Basin on Wednesday. Willingham, a sophomore, improved his record to 6-0 on the season while the Bucs went to 14-9 overall and 5-0 in District 5-A. Willingham threw 101 pitches with 73 strikes in dominating the Cougars. Willingham ... (click for more)