Let's Abolish Councilman Hakeem's Position Instead - And Response (2)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It was just a matter of time before the real Councilman Yusuf Hakeem presented himself.   If shutting citizens down trying to speak at the podium was not enough, now Councilman Hakeem wishes to bypass bid law and retaliate against an employee that refused to help him. 

The new director of transportation should be protected by the public at all costs.   While I have never met Mr. Bailey, the newly appointed director of city of Chattanooga Transportation, he gets an auto A plus for refusing to participate in bid rigging.

In the state of Tennessee all municipalities are required to competitively and publicly bid contracted services.  I have complained for years about pervasive bid rigging that occurs in our local governments involving contracts for goods or services with taxpayer dollars.  For the taxpayers to get the best price and highest quality services,  competition or public bidding must occur. 

It appears that Mr. Hakeem is attempting to terminate employee Mr. Bailey for refusing to participate in a taxpayer-funded service proposal for transportation services. Mr. Hakeem had preselected a taxi company without the benefit of bidding, and the new Transportation Director, Mr. Bailey, apparently said “no” refusing to violate bid law. 

That is how checks and balances work. Contracts for goods and services with taxpayer funds must be bid, so way to go Mr. Bailey.   A plus in ethics on this one.

Councilman Hakeem, we will abolish your position next election, watch us work. 

April Eidson 

* * * 

Current City Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem’s insulting actions this week should outrage both District 9 residents and citizens of Chattanooga.  While his efforts to broker a sweetheart deal for Tim Duckett’s Millennium Taxi business are shameful, Chairman Hakeem’s brazen vilification of Blythe Bailey is as delusional as it is pathetic. 

Chairman Hakeem invited City Transportation Administrator Blythe Bailey to attend a March 17 meeting with Millennium Taxi owner Tim Duckett, CARTA officials and city officials regarding a public-private sector partnership between the city of Chattanooga, CARTA, and Millennium Taxi.  Crafted by Hakeem and Duckett, the proposed partnership called for the city and CARTA to fund the purchase of 40 Nissan e-NV200 vehicles, along with insurance and maintenance coverage, for Millennium Taxi. 

In response to Hakeem’s invitation, Bailey said a belief that “naming a specific vendor on the front end of a policy discussion involving significant financial expenditure may be a violation of purchasing policies” led him to “respectfully decline this meeting.” Bailey added that he was available to discuss policy decisions “without the expectation that it would benefit a specific company or vendor.” 

To say that Chairman Hakeem – who also served as city councilman from 1990-2006 - was ignorant of the bidding process for public contracts is laughable. Sensing inevitable public outrage, Hakeem attempted to manipulate media coverage and public perception of this situation using an aggressive public relations offensive to forward his own fictional and illogical account of what occurred. 

In a letter to Mayor Andy Berke, Hakeem describes a meeting “meticulously built to accommodate” Blythe’s schedule regarding “a working relationship between CARTA and the taxi industry” that “would be a win-win for all involved.” He establishes Bailey as the “unmanageable” and “loose cannon” villain while vigorously painting himself as the “disrespected” victim. The letter says Bailey “questioned [Hakeem’s] ethics” and accused him of being “a crook” in an “attempt to soil [the chairman’s] credibility.” 

Bailey serves as the red herring in Hakeem’s conjured narrative. Baseless accusations against Bailey and threats to defund the Transportation Department are intended to distract the public from the truth of this situation – Chairman Hakeem tried to funnel money to a specific business and got caught red handed. 

Councilpersons Henderson, Mitchell, Smith, Grohn, Gilbert, Berz, Anderson, and Freeman:
This situation shows that Hakeem is either grossly incompetent or deceptively corrupt – either way, he is unfit to serve as chairman moving forward. Hakeem should be relinquished of his chairmanship in order to preserve the City Council’s integrity. 

Residents of District 9: Unless Hakeem can truthfully explain this mess, a recall effort would be justified and necessary.  

Bob Johnson
Chattanooga

* * *

Amen, Ms. Eidson and Mr. Johnson.
 
I am too old and too experienced with politicians, both local and in that great district of Washington, D.C. to roll over and play dead simply because I am sick and tired of incompetent, self-serving blowhards fooling the public into electing them and being left powerless to do anything about what follows until the next election.  No one has to agree with anything I post on this site (and I am so thankful for this avenue to speak), but I refuse to keep my mouth shut and wait three or four years for things to change.  So please excuse my persistence.  I shall not be another "dead horse."
 
Mr. Hakeem should be relieved of his position on the Council or preferably lose his presence on the Council.  He obviously has no respect for the law or for the mayor's authority to appoint his leadership with the concurrence of the Council or for the taxpayers who provide those funds that he seems to think he single-handedly controls, forget about the mayor who establishes the budget on the recommendation of the Council and has authority to give final approval of how our money is to be spent and for what purpose.
 
We have too many qualified, educated, and tolerant people on that Council for a bad apple to cast a blemish on the entire group.  They deserve more respect than that, especially from one who should know better.
 
Charlotte Parton
Chattanooga 


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