Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response (2)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly.

By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect a volunteer fire department to follow these procedures?  You're going to need paid accountants to keep that straight. Who is paying for that? Nobody is paying for that, that's who.

While the CVB has an team of accountants, that get to eat at Hennen's, volunteer departments dine on smoked spam. Take Mowbray Fire Department for example. Mowbray gets a little over $20,000 a year because of some Claude Ramsey formula that funnels more money to departments in his former district. Out of that $20,000 a year, Mowbray has to pay bills. Equipment isn't cheap. This equipment they have to use when somebody gets hurt in the Pocket Wilderness.

That doesn't leave much left, but wait there's more....I wrote an article a few months ago about how Mowbray is in a severely outdated, mold infested, metal building. If you know about metal buildings, then you know it takes a lottery winner to afford to heat and cool the thing, when they're not exposed to mold.  

County commissioners, please exempt local volunteer fire departments and rescue squads who fall under the criteria you set today from your procurement guidelines. Other than that, with the exception of Commissioner Boyd, county commissioners will need to attend all board meetings. He doesn't have any volunteer departments in his district.  

James Berry
Mowbray VFD Board Member

* * *

What I get from the above comment is that there are other entities that are funded with taxpayer dollars that are not accountable to the public.

Please understand that I am in no way against the fire service but I have to wonder what procurement policies are they following?  Do they have procurement policies?  I see that the original poster identifies himself as a Board Member. Is he elected by the people or appointed by someone who is?

I want the fire service and all public safety to be as well funded as I'm sure everyone does.  In fact, I'm not opposed to any good use of my tax money for essential services.  This post however makes me wonder how many other places get my money but are not publicly accountable for what happens to it.  Maybe the fire department would be in better shape financially if they did follow some uniform purchasing policy or all got together and purchased in bulk at government prices.

I realize the original post was trying to make an exception but for me it just raises more questions and frankly makes me a little concerned about fire protection.

Jay Smithers

* * *

The Mayor's staff and the County Finance Department had over a week to study Resolution 617-35 to determine how many organizations the resolution might affect.  They could not determine the number of organizations effected because the non-profits benefiting from over $14 million of County Tax dollars are not required to submit budgets to the Finance Office to receive their money.
To my knowledge the Mayor has never required the non-profits receiving County tax dollars to submit copies of their budgets.  This may be the reason Mr. Kiser could not answer Commissioner Martin's question concerning the number of organizations to be effected by Resolution 617-35.

Last week I requested copies of the Humane Educational Society (HES), the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce (CCC), and Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) FY2018 budgets. HES and CCC submitted copies to the Commission Office this past Monday. The CVB has yet to provide the Commission with a copy of their $8.2 million FY2018 Budget.

Any organization asking if the Resolution 617-35 affects them obviously has no budget or they would know.  After all, it is pretty simple math to figure out if their organization will receive 25% or more revenue from the County based on their operating budget.  All organizations asking for and receiving tax dollars should be held to the same accountability standards as every County Department, every Constitutional Officer, every Elected Official and the Sheriff's Department.

If the Volunteer Fire Departments are worried they will be affected, my question is; Why have they not got operational policies in place conforming to Hamilton County policies?  Every fire department within a Hamilton County municipality must submit operating budgets and comply with their respective city government's policies.  Therefore the Volunteer Fire Departments in unincorporated areas of the County should be following and complying with Hamilton County policies. This all seems pretty simple and basic to me. 

Well run non-profits have good operating policies, good boards members, and good operating procedures in place.  The "Unintended Consequence" of Resolution 617-35 will be making non-profits receiving significant revenue from the County operate better and more responsibly.  I think is a good unintended consequence.

County Commissioner Tim Boyd 

Building Our Workforce With Tuition-Free College For All Tennessee Adults

As graduation season has come to a close, we celebrated the hard work and perseverance of so many who have achieved their dreams of earning a college degree. Their college success is not only important to their future lives - but also to the future of Tennessee.  Like many places across the country, Tennessee is facing a skilled workforce shortage. And while we know the ... (click for more)

Why Are Drugs So Expensive?

Diabetes seems to affect more people than any other chronic illness. It causes heart disease, liver and kidney failure and blindness. Eventually it is instrumental in the individuals death.  So why is there no cure?  Go ahead and call me a conspiracy theorist.  My fiancée recently started Trulicity. A once weekly self injection to help control blood sugar.  ... (click for more)

Former City Education Commissioner John P. Franklin Dies

John Porter Franklin, long a leading figure in Chattanooga city government, has died.  He was the city's first, elected black official, post Jim Crow laws, in 1971. Mr. Franklin's father, G.W. Franklin, was a pioneer funeral home director and John Franklin continued in that line. He was first an official in Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home, then he started John P. Franklin ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Killed In Cleveland Wednesday Morning

A pedestrian was struck and killed on Paul Huff Parkway early Wednesday morning. The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. More information will follow. (click for more)

Voice Of The Vols John Ward Dies

John Ward, the former “Voice of the Vols,” has died. Senator Lamar Alexander said, “When it came to UT sports, listening to John Ward was almost as good as watching the game. In fact, many Vol fans at many games brought their radios to make sure they could do both. John was a generous, courteous, enthusiastic ambassador for the University of Tennessee. He brought joy ... (click for more)

Belmont University's Mark Price Named Baylor School's Boys' Basketball Coach

Baylor School has named Belmont University's Mark Price as the boys' varsity basketball coach, following veteran basketball coach Austin Clark's announcement in April that he would be retiring after 36 years of coaching the Red Raiders. "I am very excited that Mark will be leading our boys' basketball program.  Throughout this process, we interviewed many individuals who ... (click for more)