East Ridge Rescinds Resolution Allowing Council Members To Keep City-Purchased Electronic Equipment

Friday, March 01, 2013

The East Ridge City Council, after getting a strongly-worded letter from the state comptroller's office, voted Thursday night to rescind a resolution allowing council members to keep city-purchased electronic equipment. It allowed them to retain items such as IPads and cellphones when they go off the council.

Greg L. Cothron, assistant general counsel, told Mayor Brent Lambert, that such a policy "is not authorized as a 'perk of the office' and potentially creates a conflict of interest for those elected officials that vote for, let out, overlook, or superintend contracts for the purchase of such electronic equipment."

He said the resolution "could incentivize an elected official to request the purchase of equipment which may not be in the best interest of the city, but would transfer to the elected official's immediate personal benefit upon leaving office."

He wrote, "I ask that you immediately notify my office on the actions taken by the City Council on Resolution 2300 in the Feb. 28 City Council meeting."

Darwin Branam left the council while the resolution was in effect, but he had his own IPhone and turned in his city cellphone.

Frances Pope, a citizen activist who alerted the comptroller's office to the resolution, noted that it was passed while John Anderson was city attorney. She bragged on the new interim city attorney, Hal North.

Mayor Lambert, who defended attorney Anderson, said one option might be to have the city pay a stipend for electronic items for council members rather than have  the city purchase them. He said, "Once they are turned back in, they have very little value."

The council is planning a workshop to discuss whether to keep and put to additional use the old McBrien Elementary School located near City Hall.

Interim City Manager Eddie Phillips said it was necessary to stop using a bathroom in the old school because of asbestos concerns. It had been used by participants in a batting cage program that Recreation Director Stump Martin said is bringing $8,400 in revenue to the city.

Councilman Marc Gravitt said he recently toured the building and found it to be "in surprisingly good shape." But he said if a sizable portion of the building is put back into use it will be necessary to install expensive sprinklers.

The council balked at a resolution to set up a program in which Court Services established a method for online payment of court fines and fees. Councilman Gravitt said the firm's charge of eight percent was "very high."

He said, "I know the city will not be paying, but the citizens of East Ridge will be paying that rate." 

It was decided to bid out the service.

The council passed a resolution to put no parking signs on certain streets. Vice Mayor Jim Bethune abstained.

Officials said the city might be liable if a fire truck or ambulance could not get down a street because of parked cars on both sides.

The council is still wrestling with the idea of a memorial at City Hall for East Ridge soldiers killed in foreign wars.

Mr. Phillips said he put a halt to the process until the council decides whether it should include just soldiers from Vietnam or from all wars and whether it should be part of an existing war memorial that is at the Pioneer Frontier playground or a new memorial. He said the memorial could cost as much as $20,000.

 

        

 

 


Family Makes Treasure Trove Of Early Chattanooga Photographs Available For Book; Stokes Collection Has Been Passed Down To Descendants

A treasure trove of Chattanooga photographs that have been passed down in the Stokes family for generations has now been assembled in an upcoming book. Chattanooga Around The Turn Of The Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection will be published by Chattanoogan.com. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which includes over 700 photos on large-size pages. Publisher ... (click for more)

Woman Shot While Driving On 4th Avenue, Drives Herself To Hospital

Chattanooga Police were called to a local hospital Wednesday evening after a woman arrived with a gunshot wound.  Lakita Bowling, 36, told investigators she was driving her car on 4th Avenue when an unknown suspect fired a single round at her vehicle.   Ms. Bowling realized she had been shot and drove herself to a local hospital.  Chattanooga Police ask anyone ... (click for more)

Leaders Lead On Amendment 1

This week the Hamilton County Commission was faced with what I believe may be one of the most important votes they have cast during their tenure.  Granted, the vote was over a "mere" Resolution that resulted in no overt action or new law in our county.  But there are times when simply speaking Truth and taking a stand on a foundational Principle is paramount and as such ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Expert Reasons Why To Vote

Early voting for the November election begins two weeks from today so please jump-start your plans that will assure your choices will be counted. In a fun-filled attempt to show what some of those who actually vote do during the rest of the day, I offer two examples of “those who live among us” from experts. The first are a series of questions from readers of “Dear Abby” who ask ... (click for more)

East Hamilton Personnel Losses Boost Other 5-AAA Hoop Teams

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – East Hamilton’s loss has been solid gains for two other basketball teams in District 5-AAA and Ringgold, Ga. One of the Hurricanes’ top players, Kenny Bunton, left the program two days after Rodney English replaced fired Michael Stone and transferred to Walker Valley where he will play for coach Bob Williams’ Mustangs. “I took the job in March and two days ... (click for more)

John Shearer: Memories Of Watching 38 Baylor-McCallie Games

Back in the fall of 1971 when I was in the sixth grade at Bright School, I listened on the radio to the exciting football game between Baylor and McCallie schools, the first since the series had been discontinued after 1940. I was hoping to attend Baylor School as a student the next year, so I was quite excited that Baylor won, 9-7.  And the next year as a seventh-grader, ... (click for more)