Missy Crutchfield Is A Boon For Chattanooga - And Response

Monday, March 4, 2013

William "Buffalo Bill" Cody is famed for his Old West exploits. History remembers him fondly because of his latter years in his Wild West Show as Easterners got a taste of "the real wild west." Would he be regaled in today’s society because he earned his fame killing Native American Indians by the score?

Liberals are so quick to denigrate our memory of Ronald Reagan failing to remember that this one man galvanized a nation with just his charisma and accomplished more on his agenda than any President since. Liberals, in hindsight, always point to how much the national debt increased during Ron’s administration. Go ahead, play that card and I might point out the $6 trillion increase over the past six years. Compared to the current administration’s squanderous spending, Reagan was frugal.

To the point: People remember what they want to remember. When I read about how so many vilify Missy Crutchfield because of her salary, I shake my head for those hollow editorialists, flapping their rotting gums in ignorance of how much Missy has done for this community.

I have known Missy since she moved back to Chattanooga from New York. She has worked 20 years moving up administrative ladders from an entry level job to a VP at Chattanooga State to her current position on the Education, Arts & Culture Department. Working on a shoe-string budget, Missy and her staff have brought millions upon millions of dollars in otherwise unclaimed revenue into our local economy. A great percentage of tourism dollars came here because of their work

Under her tenure, EAC has brought major motion pictures to this area providing both fame and revenue to Chattanooga and the surrounding area. Major film festivals have decided Chattanooga is the right place to hold them due solely to the work from that office, like the recent Gig City Film Festival.

The start of Missy’s derisive standing in this community can be traced back to a single point in time when a not-to-be-named talk show host wannabe took two months on the air to constantly criticize Missy in the failed hopes it would elevate and advance his standing in the community. Eventually, this misdirected individual lost his election in a landslide, his talk show was cancelled and (assumedly) he’s no better off now than he was eight years ago. He brought Missy Crutchfield to light for all the wrong reasons: her salary, her father or whatever banal ammunition he could gather (or imagine).

Most sales jobs are based on commission. Were you to apply the same commission rates that many of you work under, Missy is undisputedly underpaid compared to the successes of the Education, Arts & Culture Department. Conservatively estimated, I calculate Missy’s commission to be a fraction of one percent per year compared to the revenues the EAC brought in. Could you live on such a commission?

Reading between the lines of those negative OpEds I find only blatant avarice and jealousy. Creating this department may well have been the only thing Ron Littlefield did correctly in his eight years of despotism.

I am a transplant, but have been here long enough to have the “Damn” removed from Yankee. Prior to my relocation to Chattanooga, I followed the radio buck around our nation. Twenty years ago the only thing Chattanooga was known for was a 50-year-old Glenn Miller tune. Not anymore, and Chattanooga’s reputation in this nation has been exponentially enhanced because of Missy’s work, wherever she was employed.

I’m certain every penny of her salary is well-earned and well-deserved. Whether the next administration considers her efforts basis for continued employment is unknown. But there’s no one better suited to this job: her contacts, her background and her belief in her job make most other appointed positions within the city government pale in comparison.

Once again, I wish people would become informed instead of simply opinionated. Starting out earning beans, Missy is a pivotal example of how a single-parent mother can rise above mediocrity and make a success of not only herself, but our city as well.

David D. Fihn

* * * 

After reading David Fihn's letter about Ms. Crutchfield one would think Chattanooga ranks right up there with Vienna, Paris, London and New York as one of the great arts centers of the world. His loyalty to Ms. Crutchfield is admirable, however some of his statements border on the absurd. 

Mr. Fihn states, "a great percentage of tourism dollars," are a result of Ms.Crutchfield's efforts. I would imagine that the vast majority of tourists come for the Aquarium, Rock City, Ruby Falls and particularly this year the Chattanooga-Chickamauga National Battlefields. We are fortunate to have the Hunter Museum, which is a very nice facility for a city of our size, however I doubt many tourists come to Chattanooga solely or primarily for the Hunter. Riverbend is a huge attraction but it was begun many years before Ms. Crutchfield's tenure with the city began. 

He also states that 20 years ago the only thing our fair city was known for was the song, "The Chattanooga Choo-Choo." As one who was born in Chattanooga 66 years ago I would have thought Chattanooga would have been known for being the site of the first Coca-Cola Bottling Company location and the site where Adolph Ochs began his remarkable Journalism Empire with the Chattanooga Times. Also at that time thousands of barns in the Southeast had, "See Rock City," painted on their roofs. 

I actually think Ms Crutchfield has done a pretty good job, however, her contributions should be viewed in proper perspective. 

Douglas Jones
North Chattanooga

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