Dennis Norwood: Show Me The Negative

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - by Dennis Norwood
Dennis Norwood
Dennis Norwood

You’ll forgive me if I seemed a bit puzzled. While I have never run or managed a campaign before I have had a bit of experience recognizing negative things in my life and for the life of me I can’t find anything falling into that category regarding Vince Dean’s campaign against Gwen Tidwell for the position of Criminal Court Clerk.

Apparently Mr. Jim Hall has. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Hall, but in this instance I must respectfully disagree with his findings. I am familiar with Ms. Tidwell, as well. As a matter of fact, we are Facebook friends and have, on one or two occasions, commented as to how we would offer prayers for one another.

Now, on the other hand, Vince is a “real life” friend. I’ve known him since my days as the Information Center Manager at the Chattanooga Police Department and he was a Sergeant, serving as a supervisor and administrative assistant to one of the Deputy Chiefs. His knowledge was extensive and very valuable to me and he shared it freely. I was extremely grateful for his mentorship.

One of the very first things I learned about Vince was that he was nothing if not honest. This was followed in an instant by learning that he was a wonderful Christian man. More on that in a bit.

Mr. Hall has asserted that Vince has put out distortions and half-truths. As I’ve listened to both sides of this hotly contested race, I’ve heard neither from Vince. Knowing the way he was raised by his mama and daddy, I doubt sincerely he is capable of doing either. At this point let me say that I won’t even attempt to impugn Gwen’s reputation. By all accounts I’m sure she is an honorable person, as well.

However, while character is important, it is about the ability to accomplish the task at hand that I’m concerned with. Yes, Ms. Tidwell has experience in the job, but there appear to be aspects of the role where she has fallen short. These occasions have caused reporting requirements to have been ignored and monies owed to the office to have gone uncollected.

Vince will work diligently to ensure those shortfalls never happen on his watch. Ms. Tidwell’s supporters have tried to paint the picture that a law degree is necessary to hold this position. That would appear to be a distortion of the truth to me. Especially when one learns that only two Criminal Court clerks in the entire state of Tennessee are attorneys. This is a management position – period.

Mr. Hall would have you believe that Vince falls short in this area. However, Vince has quite a bit of management experience. Let’s go back to his career at CPD where he supervised, at one point, over 60 officers. He also had input into budgets for manpower, equipment and shift schedules. How about his time on the East Ridge City Council and later as Mayor? Again, his hallmark was balanced budgets and the respect of citizens, fellow council members and city employees.

His time in the State Legislature has also been marked with the respect of his constituents and fellow representatives and senators. He has been responsible for appropriating funds and bringing legislation about that has bettered not only his district, but the entire state of Tennessee. Management experience? Yes, I’d say he is more than qualified.

And talk about dealing with people? Only a police officer knows what it’s like to deal with folks when they are at a point – whether it’s a speeding ticket or worse – that may not be the high point of their day. Vince has that in his favor, as well.

When I was in the Air Force and an NCO that was tasked with leading people and managing offices, I was oft-times called on to take over an office or project that I had never been familiar with before. When you have been given the training and have management and leadership experience you can, with minimal time in the new position, soon find yourself, and your office, running on all cylinders. Vince’s career and experience ensure that this will be the case for him leading the Criminal Court Clerk’s office.

 Vince Dean has proven his mettle as a public servant. I know first-hand that Mr. Hall’s assertion that Vince merely “wants to return home from Nashville” has no truth to it at all. As a matter of fact, his statement rather smacks of negativity and meanness. Sort of like one who “doesn’t have any facts to stand on.”

 Oh, that bit on “more about this in a bit?” What I feel should be pointed out about Vince is that every time he has to make a decision, his first action is to hit his knees and go to his Lord and pray about it. I know, with the so-called separation of church and state this probably shouldn’t be a deciding factor in an election. Well, while this might put some of you off, and I get that, but, let’s face it, for many of us it is an important factor.

 It’s time for a change in the Criminal Court clerk’s office. It’s time for Vince Dean.

 (Dennis Norwood can be reached at newswriter614@gmail.com or followed on Twitter at DennisENorwood. The views expressed herein are fully his own and not the opinion of The Chattanoogan.com.)



Sewage Contaminating Our Water

For anyone who lives near Moccasin Bend, it's no secret that there is raw sewage and feces being pumped into our water and the Tennessee River. Ask any fisherman or boater who is on the water before they stop pumping of a morning and they will tell you stories such as this. I've seen it myself personally and have witnessed the brown and yellow concoction that is being blasted into ... (click for more)

City Council’s Critical Call—Creek Consensus?

The Friars Branch Stream Restoration Project cost the city $1.2 million after new homes were flooded along Hickory Valley Road caused by inadequate stormwater management during the development of Hamilton Place upstream.  The residents dealing with the floodwaters suffered cleanup costs as did the city.  Allowing homebuilders to cover up more surface with impervious homes ... (click for more)

City Council Votes On 1st Reading To Lower Rain Retention Requirement In South Chickamauga Creek Basin

The City Council on Tuesday voted to lower the requirement for rainwater retention in the South Chickamauga Creek basin. The move from holding the first 1.6 inches to one inch had been requested by the Home Builders Association and the Berke administration. Sandy Kurtz, longtime leader of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance, said the resolution was "not yet ready ... (click for more)

Former Pilot Regional Account Specialist Says Former President Mark Hazelwood Approved Of Fraud

When well-known attorney Rusty Hardin on Tuesday asked a former Pilot regional account specialist if she believed that former president Mark Hazelwood knew of a plan to cheat trucking firms he didn't get the answer he expected. Holly Radford told a jury in Chattanooga, "I know he had knowledge of the rebate schemes that were going on. "I had conversations with him about it ... (click for more)

Davis, Volker Power Soddy-Daisy Past Hixson 53-31

Tuesday was Game 2 for Bill Eller being back on the sideline as a head basketball coach. “I was nervous as heck in the first one,” Eller said Tuesday night after his Trojans belted Hixson, 53-31, behind the potent one-two scoring punch of Josh Davis and Doug Volker. “But this is my 29 th year coaching. It’s like riding a bicycle and once the ball is tipped, it’s about the ... (click for more)

CCS Sweeps Polk Co. In Thanksgiving Round Robin

Coach Eddie Salter appears to have a pretty good basketball team at Chattanooga Christian, but he’s still looking for the right chemistry as he finds the best combination of players to put on the floor. The season is still really young and the Chargers had only played one game coming into their annual Thanksgiving Round Robin Tournament Tuesday night, but it looks like he will ... (click for more)