Gobble Says "Recklessly Accused Of Wrong-Doing" By Newspaper Editorial Writer; Defends Administration

Saturday, February 02, 2013

East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble claimed Saturday he was maligned in an opinion column in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The column recommended that Mr. Gobble be fired. The issue of the Gobble contract is due to come before the East Ridge City Council on Thursday night.

Mr. Gobble said, "Today, top-level city staff in East Ridge were recklessly accused of wrong-doing in a Times Free Press editorial opinion piece by Drew Johnson without the true facts.

"The complete records, audits, back-up documentation and budget prove we operated within policy guidelines and the law.

For instance, purchases such as a coke and candy bar were made while on legitimate city business and were in place of full meals or more per diem to which the employee would have otherwise been entitled, saving the city money. This is all documented and proven.

"All hiring practices are within guidelines and no personnel policy or procedures were violated. This can be proven.

"Community Center and McBrien Elementary expenditures are appropriate and for official city purposes. This can be proven.

"Occasional directors, chiefs working lunch meetings with legal counsel and others are clearly justifiable and for official purposes and within credit card use policy guidelines.

"The city manager is a legal resident of the city of ER pursuant to the terms of his contract. He pays rent in ER for an apartment just like 47% of other residents, votes in ER and has a drivers license with his residence listed by the state as East Ridge. His family resides in Cleveland pending the sale of his residence and his daughter finishing high school. He regularly attends church in Cleveland. By contract, he may drive his city provided vehicle for limited personal use. The council is fully informed and aware of the city managers family residence and church situation. There is no contractual requirement for his family to live in East Ridge. The city manager does reside in ER and has been for nearly two years with the council's support.

"As far as the city code being on the MTAS website, the Administration and Finance Department made the decision not to pay MTAS $200 to put a code up that was outdated with wrong information by over a decade. The new codification process was underway and it saved the city money by not paying the $200 until the updated version was ready in a few months. There was no conspiracy by staff to keep anyone in the dark about any code. All codes have been followed to every reasonable possibility by every city employee to our knowledge.

"Bottom line: city staff is doing the job appropriately and within policy, procedure and the law. Since Tim Gobble became city manager, the city has gone from a $600,000 General Fund deficit to a $917,000 General Fund surplus and spent 15% less than budgeted to spend last year, a testament to good management. The city is in the best overall financial condition it has been in for the last 20 years.

"City staff looks forward to addressing each false reckless allegation made by Drew Johnson, line by line and has documentation, receipts, audits, budgets, policy guidelines and other documentation to prove we do things right."


Reward Offered For Information On Car Burglaries And Vandalism In Cleveland

A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of suspect(s) involved in car burglaries and/or vandalism in Cleveland occurring this past weekend in and around the Greenway and its parking areas, Stuart School and Perry’s Petals. Authorities are processing forensic evidence. The public is urged to contact Detective Matt Jenkins, Criminal Investigations ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Home Destroyed By Fire Early Monday Morning

A home in the Ooltewah area was destroyed by fire early Monday morning. At 3:18 a.m.., a 911 call was made reporting a house fire at 9215 Quail Mountain Drive. The Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived within minutes reporting fire showing through the roof and ¾ of the house fully involved.Firefighters quickly went into a “defensive attack” to control ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Our’ American Minute

William J. Federer is one of the leading historians in the United States and every morning I am among thousands of people who get an entertaining email from him called the “American Minute.” I adore it because Bill takes a significant event in American history that happened long ago – but he remembers on the very anniversary of when it occurred. A great example is that last Thursday ... (click for more)

Prep Football Practice Starts Today

Coaches barking instructions, players blocking and tackling, quarterbacks and receivers working on timing routes and error-free handoffs to fleet-footed running backs.   In the greater Chattanooga area and throughout the state it can mean just one thing. It’s time for Prep Football 2014.   Today is the first official day ... (click for more)

NPSL National Championship To Be Played At Red Bulls Arena

The NPSL announced on Monday that the national championship match between Chattanooga FC and the Red Bulls U23 will be played on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  The match will be played following an MLS match between New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution.   Local fans took to social media to appeal for the game to be played in Chattanooga. ... (click for more)