Cleveland Mayor's Salary Raised, But Not As High As Projected; Council Critical Of Handling Of Lt. Tyson Case

Friday, August 29, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

The future salary of the Cleveland Mayor's Office was changed from a projected $40,000 annually to $24,000 during a special Friday afternoon city council meeting.

Councilman Richard Banks made a motion to raise the salary to $30,000, but the motion failed. 

The $24,000 salary will double the current $12,000 per year.

Councilman Banks said Mayor Tom Rowland, the second longest serving mayor in the state of Tennessee, goes "goes way beyond the call of duty." 

He said, "He has not been compensated for what he has done."

Councilman Banks stated that after Mayor Rowland eventually retires, "We have to have someone who will step in his shoes and look at what he's done and be somewhat encouraged to follow in his footsteps. Unless we set a compensation rate like other cities...then Cleveland will suffer." 

Councilman Dale Hughes also spoke during the meeting about the recent termination of Lt. Steve Tyson, who has been reinstated. Lt. Tyson was terminated after taking a pain pill for his kidney stones one night after work. Failing a random drug test, he was terminated without question. Community and family members took great issue with this, as well as its portrayal by the media.

Councilman Hughes asked the police chief, "You've known this guy for 27 years and you didn't show him the courtesy to call him in and eyeball him to see if he was impaired?" 

He said, "I'm disappointed...If it wasn't stopped at your level, it should've been stopped at the manager's level. He just deserved better treatment than that. I think somebody fumbled the ball on that."

The police chief and city manager Janice Casteel said they were only following procedure. During the previous city council meeting, the council voted to make changes to those procedures. 

Ms. Casteel said, "They don't have the discretion to pick this one or pick that one."

Councilman Banks said, "Every small offense does not warrant what Steve Tyson was subjected to." 

Councilman George Poe Jr. said the incident tarnished the image of the police department.

Councilman Banks made a motion asking the city manager and police chief to give the council all information relating to the incident including emails, phone calls and text messages. 

He said in order to prevent the situation from happening again, the council needs to fully understand what went wrong before the council revises the policy.

The motion passed.


Just 3,267 Have Voted In The City Election After 7 Days Of Early Voting

Just 3,267 Chattanooga voters have cast ballots after seven days of early voting leading up to the March 7 city election. One day just 48 people showed up at the Northgate voting site. Only 88 went to the most popular early voting site - the election office off Amnicola Highway the same day. The high turnout thus far has been 199 at the election office on Tuesday. The ... (click for more)

City Board To Issue Requests For Proposals For City-Owned Parking Lot

A city board on Wednesday voted to issue a Request for Proposals on a .66-acre city parking lot that is across King Street from the St. John's Restaurant. The city bought the lot in 2007 from architect Thomas Johnson for $195,000. Stacy Richardson, chief of staff to Mayor Andy Berke and a member of the five-person Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, said the lot ... (click for more)

Getting The Message

Our school age youth have inspired me with their responses during “Q and A” sessions after my readings as a volunteer during African American History Celebrations and Read across America Celebration, too.  Before this school year, I read to classes at Orchard Knob Elementary School and at Rivermont Elementary School, here in Hamilton County.   Their answers to factual ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ed Chief ‘Embarrassed’

At the start of the school year in September, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education held an “educational summit” with state legislators from embattled Hamilton County. The entire “summit” took a prescribed 90 minutes and was such a dog-and-pony show her strongest statement was, "Create your plan around the right vision, have some metrics and align to the right goals and make sure ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Softball Ranked No. 33 In MaxPreps Preseason Top 50

Ooltewah’s softball team is ranked No. 33 nationally in the Maxpreps Preseason Top 50 and junior Kayla Boseman is on the website’s preseason All-America team. The Lady Owls finished third in the 2015 TSSAA Class 3A state tournament, but was eliminated by Stewarts Creek 6-2 in the sectional. Ooltewah has a combined record of 81-16 over the past two seasons. Coach Jon Massey ... (click for more)

Silverdale Girls Claim District 5-A Championship

The face and philosophy might have changed, but the expectations for the Silverdale Baptist Academy girls’ basketball team remained the same. Heading into the season with five seniors and a first-year, first-time head coach in Victor Underwood, the Lady Seahawks had their sights set on winning a District 5-A championship. Wednesday night, they achieved that goal with ... (click for more)