Judging The Sheriff Candidates

Saturday, April 19, 2014
We have a decision to make on who will lead the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office - current Sheriff Jim Hammond or opponent Chris Harvey?  As you read the opinions there are some positives listed for each of the candidates.  No one is saying that either gentleman is a bad person.  You need to weigh what you want in an elected official that is in charge of managing the budget, supervising the staff and serving the citizens of Hamilton County. The comments in previous opinions list several comparisons to the two candidates.
  I would like to included one more concerning an issue with Sheriff Hammond.
 
I am a major supporter of transparency in government.  My mind goes back to an article in Sepember. of 2012 when the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board interviewed Sheriff Hammond.  This is one issue that was discussed in that interview and the sheriff’s response:
 
“According to state law, “all documents ... made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency” are public records. A government agency in Tennessee is required by law to make those records available within seven days or provide the requestor a written explanation of how long it will take to produce the request.
 
 So why then does it take weeks, sometimes months, to get documents from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department?
 
In a Times Free Press editorial board meeting on Thursday, Hammond responded to that question by admitting to slow-walking the process of furnishing public records. “If you’re asking me, ‘have I slowed the pace down?’ Absolutely,” Hammond said.”
 
Sheriff Hammond’s admission of not adhering to the State of Tennessee Open Records Act concerned me then and it is still a concern to me.   Why would a government official intentionally delay providing access to public records and violating the laws of the State of Tennessee?  When that elected official is over the law enforcement branch of the county government it concerns me even more.
 
I want to make it clear that in my experience other departments of Hamilton County Government do not share Sheriff Hammond’s “slowed the pace down” attitude with open records.  Departments of Hamilton County government that I have requested information from have always been polite, speedy and professional in supplying the information in a timely manner, even moving more quickly than the seven-day window set by Open Records Act.  The Sheriff’s Office should adhere to those same high standards set by other departments within Hamilton County Government.
 
For this reason and others (some listed above by fellow citizens), I will be casting my vote for Chris Harvey for Hamilton County Sheriff.  I ask friends and fellow citizens that believe in open, honest, and responsible government to join me in electing our next Hamilton County Sheriff Chris Harvey.
 
Frances Pope
East Ridge

Roy Exum: Want To Protest? Get Paid!

In a troubling time when “false news” is the rage and people ask me – to my face – if anybody from Russia ever approached me personally searching for votes for President-elect Donald Trump, there appears a website that, to cop a phrase, “is too good to be true.” There is a group out of California that allegedly wants to hire “operatives” to protest Friday’s inauguration. Forget ... (click for more)

During A Martin Luther King, Jr. March Is Not A Time To Campaign

It truly amazing what Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished at just 39 years of age. He changed an entire country. Dr. King was not in elected office or in any position of power. Yet, he accomplished more than any politician.  To me the Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision was an expectation of life centered in education, hard work, and accomplishment that in time would evolve ... (click for more)

School Board Turns Thumbs Down To Proposed Funding Of Central Track

County school board members on Thursday night expressed a number of concerns about a proposed $500,000 new track under consideration for funding by the County Commission at Central High School. The vote was 9-0 to table a motion to accept the money (if offered). Karitsa Mosley-Jones said, "We've got students at schools on a high priority list and you're going to give me a track?" ... (click for more)

School Board Approves 4-Year Contract Extension With Independent Bus Drivers, Who Say They Can Handle 100 Routes; Extension Given On Custodial Contract

The county school board on Thursday night extended the contract by four years of school bus owner operators, who said they could deliver on 100 bus routes. The board delayed until a special meeting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Central High School the issue of whether to accept the offer of 100 contract routes. That would be handled by many of the current 49 owner operators taking ... (click for more)

Smooth-Operating Cameron Leads Tyner Past 'Canes

(Story will be updated) Tyner may occasionally have an off night scoring, but that Rams defense is always on. East Hamilton found that out Thursday night in a hot Tyner Academy gymnasium. It didn’t rain points. Tyner, coming off an impressive key District 6-2A win over rival Brainerd on Tuesday, stifled the Hurricanes’ attack and came away with a 49-39 victory. ... (click for more)

Cleveland Wrestlers Whip Walker Valley, 60-12

The undefeated and top-ranked Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team just keeps rolling along, winning the close ones and also winning the ones not so close. Thursday night at Walker Valley, the Blue Raiders recorded five pins, three technical falls and two forfeits in a 60-12 victory over the Mustangs. Those pins came from Bryce Pond, Colton Landers, Austin Sweeney, Dylan Jones ... (click for more)