Fort Oglethorpe Council Meeting Comes To Abrupt End

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - by Mike O'Neal

Mayor Lynn Long on Monday night called for a motion to adjourn the regularly scheduled Fort Oglethorpe city council meeting without addressing all items advertised on the meeting agenda.

After approving several annexation and zoning issues, the council listened as Superintendent of elections Orma Luckey announced that a special election regarding the Sunday sale of alcoholic beverages will coincide with the general election in November. 

Council members approved spending money for essential services: $5,000 to install a new air conditioning unit at the fire hall, $5,700 to procure chemicals for the anti-mosquito spraying program and $6,700 for ongoing sewer construction professional services being provided by Arcadis.

The council also decided to renege on spending budgeted funds to promote tourism, began the process of forming a group — one independent of a state Senate sanctioned committee — to review the city’s charter and gave Police Chief Jeff Holcomb the go-ahead to update and revise his department’s policy and procedure manual.

City officials for more than a year have talked about the need to capitalize on an expected influx of tourists associated with the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Chickamauga that was fought in mid-September 1863. 

In years past Mr. Long has said, “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot if we miss that,” when speaking about capitalizing on a once-in-a-generation event and supported efforts to add signage on Interstate 75 that would direct travelers through Fort Oglethorpe on their way the battlefield and re-enactment activities.

“We’re missing the boat if we don’t change something that you would make you want to drive through (Fort Oglethorpe) to get to the battlefield,” the mayor had said publicly in the past.

Councilman Louis Hamm represented the city when Tourism Association was a city appointed committee. When the committee gained non-profit status and became an association — with membership open to anyone — Harold Silcox, now interim city manager, and his wife, Pat, became association members as did Mayor Long and his wife, Linda.

Mr. Long was a Fort Oglethorpe Tourism Association member when that group asked for the city’s support in promotional efforts, something that resulted in the 2013 municipal budget appropriating funds to lease billboard space along I-75.

It was Mayor Long who cast the tie-breaking vote to deny spending $4,500 toward the $7,000 cost (Georgia Winery would pay the balance) for a six-month billboard rental at exit 350 aimed at directing I-75 traffic to exit at Battlefield Parkway to reach 150th commemoration events.

Following his presiding over the council’s addressing new and old business, calling for comments from the council members and a city manager’s report, the mayor recognized Paula Stinnett during the “citizens’ petitions and request” portion of the night’s agenda.

Ms. Stinnett has been actively engaged in efforts to recall the mayor and several council members following the forced ouster of City Manager Ron Goulart and the immediate firings, by Interim Manager Silcox, of Police Chief David Eubanks and Public Works Director Jeff Long.

Both Mr. Eubanks and Mr. (Jeff) Long have appealed their firings and are scheduled to appear at a hearing — before a tribunal composed of the council members and presided over by Mayor Long — tonight, May 14.

Reading from a prepared address, Ms. Stinnett called on the council and mayor to overcome their sense of hubris, do the right thing and either resign or reverse those decisions that have incited the public.

After speaking for her allotted five minutes and resuming her seat,  Ms. Stinnett was applauded by several in the audience. 

At that point Mayor Long sounded his gavel to restore order and without advancing to the agenda item “executive session: litigation, real estate and personnel” called for a motion to adjourn.

During the tumult, no one heard if a motion to adjourn was made, no one heard a second and there was certainly no vote to adjourn — the city attorney, Robert Stultz, was trying to interject that there was still business to attend to — yet the mayor terminated the meeting.

moneal2480@comcast.net


Tennessee Delegation Urges Transportation Secretary To Work With Haslam, State Officials On Highway Funds

Every member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation this week urged U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to work with Governor Bill Haslam and state officials to find a solution to a problem that threatens Tennessee with the loss of $60 million in urgently needed highway funds.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this month that a new Tennessee ... (click for more)

Couple Charged With Breaking Into TVA Building And Taking $7,500 In Items, Truck

A couple was charged with breaking into a TVA building on Hickory Valley Road and taking $7,500 in items as well as a truck. Dustin Lee Adams, 25, and Hollie Diesz, 38, are charged with theft and firearm possession. In the incident on Wednesday, TVA officials said the thieves entered the building and took several sets of keys, a Think Pad, a Nikon 300 camera, two Garmin GPS ... (click for more)

Downtown Needs Cleaned Up

My son and I parked on Broad Street and walked to the Billiard Club on Cherry Street this past weekend. It's probably a total of two blocks. In that short walk we passed where Rone Regency used to be on 6th Street and in that doorway was about a years worth of human feces and urine covering the doors and walls. The concrete sidewalk on the street is all broken up and the metal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 40 Questions About ‘Blue Bags’

No. 1 – Did you know that one in every five of the 42,000 children in the Hamilton County school district is what the experts call “food deprived?” No. 2 – Can you get your arms around the fact that a huge percentage of those 8,400 children get little, if nothing, to eat from Friday at lunch until they return to our schools on Monday? No. 3 -- Did you know that you – just ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Baylor Volleyballers Roll Past Soddy Daisy

The 2016 high school volleyball season is only 10 days old, but the Baylor Lady Red Raiders are already playing in mid-season form. Fresh off a strong weekend where they beat perennial state power Brentwood twice en route to winning the prestigious Early Bird Tournament in Knoxville, the Lady Raiders continued that consistent strong play on Wednesday evening as they made short ... (click for more)

Nine Headed To East Ridge Hall Of Fame On Sept. 9

East Ridge will induct nine people into its Hall of Fame at halftime of the Central-East Ridge football game on Sept. 9. The 2016 inductees: 1.  DAVID COPELAND - 1964-1967. Played football and track for three years. Captain of both sports. Earned a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee. 2.  CARLENE ELLIOTT RYON - 1964-1967. Played basketball ... (click for more)