Thu
Mar 31 2011
09:22 am

Hey, gang: I am so very curious why no one in the local media has said one blooming word about the latest adventures of governing by ye ole County Mayor...remember him? The one who ran on a policy of transparency, blah, blah. I encourage all of you who really want to know what Burchett is up to now to check out Steve Hunley's two articles in his Knox Focus...one, dated 3/21: (link...) entitled "Naked Grab For Power" and the one in this week's edition, 3/28: "Burchett Seeks $80,000 Pay Raise".

I distinctly remember all those ludicrous reasons we were given by 'the powers that be' why they just HAD to vote for him, the biggest one: "He has so much more experience in government"...well, yes, he does! And so far, every single item he has touched has been melted away by his "we will get back to you on that" approach...or the other answer: "we will have to shelve that Project because I DO NOT agree with it."

Any comments???

And thanks to Steve Hunley for providing his disgust with the Mayor's lack of any apparent interest in doing anything that would help this County!

reform4's picture

C'mon dude...

.. I had to look that word up. Speak English!

reform4's picture

Another version I heard..

.. is that the bill was intended to clamp McIntyre's salary ($220K?). Since the bill states that the mayor can't make less, supposedly the writers intended to force Knox Co to cut McIntyre's salary, which they saw as too high.

What the truth is, I'm not 100% sure, but from what I know of Tim, $160K is plenty for him, and I think he'd rather avoid the bad PR that would inhibit say, I dunno, a future run for U.S. Senate vs. having another $40K in his pocket after taxes.

The Focus piece strikes me as a hit piece. Given that page 3 falsely claims that "Fee Office Takeover Is Attempt to Overturn Election", it calls the veracity of the page 1 piece into question.

(Sandy, if you want people to take you seriously on your issue, you might need to distance yourself from the Focus).

Somebody's picture

Of axes and raises

That article seems to be a good bit of hackery. It doesn't even explain anywhere what bill is being referenced, much less examine what's actually in it. I was just reading some commentary on it over at Knox Blab. If there were actually a there there, then I would hope the press would go after this, but the Focus article reads more like axe-grinding than actual journalism to me.

Mary the prez's picture

Burchett's pending raise...uh huh...

Because Somebody asked, I am working on producing the complete information on the Bill, who are the sponsors and its language. And yes, now that I know that Stacey is the author, that does explain a lot.
BUT I understood that this bill only pertained to the office of Knox County Mayor, Burchett, and didn't have anything to do with other officials, or others' salaries. I will keep you posted!

R. Neal's picture

Here's the

Here's the bill:

(link...)

Here's the fiscal note:

(link...)

Here's the status:

(link...)

Somebody's picture

According to the fiscal note,

According to the fiscal note, the bill would affect all 95 counties. Superintendents' salaries would not go down because they work under set contracts, and the subsequent raises for county mayors would cost the taxpayers in excess of $3.5 million. The fiscal note also mentions that, constitutionally, the general assembly can't pass something that will cost cities and counties money without agreeing to share in that cost.

While this is clearly another delightfully well-thought-out piece of legislation offered by Senator Campfield, it would be unfair to assert that this is a boutique bill just for the benefit of the Knox County mayor.

That's why the original Focus article is hackery. There are lots of assertions and insinuations, but no substantiation. This sort of thing is qualitatively of similar value to Glenn Beck's offerings. It's like sugarless chewing gum for partisans. It gives them something to gnaw on for a while, but it has no nutritional value, it loses flavor quickly, and it will eventually have to be spit out to make way for the next thing.

Mary the prez's picture

Responding to the queries

OK, sorry I didn't go to the source first. These are the bills: HB1372 and SB1106 and they are identical in wording and intent:
"As introduced,requires that the salary of the "Director of Schools" not be higher in any given fiscal year than the salary paid to the County Mayor for the Same fiscal year".

And apparently these bills, which ARE only specific to THIS county and this county mayor do involve bringing HIS salary up to meet that of our Superintendent of Schools. And that fact makes Campfield's efforts to help his cohort's efforts to get a raise without going to County Commission...all make this exercise even more devious and non-transparent.

I am NOT an advocate of "The Focus", and the few times I have read through the crazed comments from "The Doctor", I vow not to consider it as a valuable and informative paper. But the two articles by Steve Hunley about Burchett's power grab to take over all fee offices WITHOUT any review by Commission and now this sneaky way to enrich his income...well, I say again, these revelations have been witnessed by TV watchers of County Commission and by the words in these bills.

R. Neal's picture

And apparently these bills,

And apparently these bills, which ARE only specific to THIS county and this county mayor do involve bringing HIS salary up to meet that of our Superintendent of Schools.

How are these bills specific to Knox County? I don't see that anywhere.

The bill does not involve bringing the mayor's salary up to meet that of the superintendent. It amends a section of Tennessee education law (TCA 49-2-203) that specifies the duties and powers of local school boards with regard to hiring school superintendents. The amendment limits the salary of the superintended to no more than that of the mayor.

The mayor's salary is set in TCA 8-24-102 that deals with compensation of county officers. It says the mayor's salary must be at least 5% higher than the fee office salaries, which are set according to a table based on county population.

The "confusion" here is the joke by the legislative review staff's fiscal note pointing out that Stacey's bill is dumb because superintendents are on legally binding contracts*.

The columnist seized on that to make up a local conspiracy where none exists, other than the ongoing nationwide teabagger attack on public education.

(*Campfield and Nicely could amend their bill to acknowledge that and say that the change only takes effect after those contracts and subsequent renewals expire and that future contracts must include this stipulation as to salary.)

Mike Cohen's picture

The Focus article

It is complete and total crap.

bizgrrl's picture

The bill is sponsored by

The bill is sponsored by Knoxville Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield.
...
"This is a much a do about nothing. It's not a bill that either of us are planning on moving," Sen. Campfield said.

Need more be said?

R. Neal's picture

I think I'd be more concerned

I think I'd be more concerned about the move to elect school superintendents. And judges.

Rachel's picture

The article is a hit piece.

The article is a hit piece. I saw Stacey on tee vee talking about it last night. He said a) it was designed to LOWER McIntyre's salary, and b) he knew he wouldn't pass. (Guess he just submitted it to get the kind of attention he's now getting).

The Mayor had nothing to do with this bill, and is in no way "seeking" a huge raise. Hunley's just mad at him over the fee offices thing.

R. Neal's picture

I also get a sense that the

I also get a sense that the Fiscal Review Committee is having a little fun at Campfield's expense in their fiscal note for the bill.

knoxvegas99's picture

Among other matters

Hunley's just mad at him over the fee offices thing.

LVG

teachersupporter's picture

Superintendent Salary Limits

I read that some states like, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania if I remember correctly set a maximum limit on superintendent salaries during the past 6 months of $175K. Several other states are moving in the same direction.

McIntyre's $240K is too high. A mayor's or governor's job is much more complex. Frankly, the superintendent's compensation should be 30-40% incentive, based upon him/her raising the district's ACT score or not, and how much he raised it within some reasonable guide line, like 1% maximum increase expected in consolidated county average ACT score. The majority of the last Board of Education made a mistake as usual, but so did their predecessors. The results are very poor, central Administration is very fat and happy, and teacher morale is poor. We are facing another tough year everywhere, but the superintendent, central management and the Board is already crying about all the cuts they have to make, and proposes a HIGHER BUDGET THAN THIS YEAR'S for 2011-2012.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Superintendent salaries

I read that some states like, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania if I remember correctly set a maximum limit on superintendent salaries during the past 6 months of $175K. Several other states are moving in the same direction.

McIntyre's $240K is too high.

In supporting docs to the KNS article that ran earlier this week on the upcoming school budget, Dr. McIntyre's "salary and benefits cost" was reflected as $283,862. Is $240,000 now his salary-only cost, then? I hadn't recalled what he earned following his evaluation...

In any event, this article I linked previously in another thread indicates that, as of December 2008, Hamilton County's super earned $200,270 and Davidson County's new super, then being selected, was expected to earn $200,000 to $250,000. Since this info is over two years old, it appears that Hamilton and Davidson likely pay their supers about what McIntyre earns.

However, it's true that all three of these supers were placed by either Ray and Associates or Bill Attea's search firm, both of whom work closely with the Broad Foundation.

It's also true, per Broad's site, that they now place two out of every five supers in the nation's large urban school districts, presumably using these two firms.

It would be interesting to learn what supers placed by Ray's and Attea's competing search firms earn. Is there a discrepancy in salaries there, I wonder?

reform4's picture

WATE apparently did an article on this

(link...)

I don't know if I'd say a Mayor's job is that much more or more critical than a school supe. Our county survived a really shi**y mayor for 8 years and is doing pretty well. I don't think the schools recover as quickly from a sh**y supe, because kids get one shot at their public education.

Who generates all these cut-and-paste bills? When was the secret brainwashing convention held where they handed out all this crap?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Broad Foundation in the New England states

... New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania...

And to date, Broad has placed the majority of its supers in the New England states, where you're recalling that legislatures have recently placed these salary caps.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

But about Burchett

Sorry. I have "Broad on the brain" in recent weeks...

But about Burchett: No, I can't see that he has any culpability whatsoever in this stuff.

Mike Donila's picture

i blogged about this bs back

i blogged about this bs back in mid-march when it was just a footnote and not a lot of details were out.

(link...)

niceley and campfield are sponsoring it, and from my experience talking with burchett, i believed him when he said he wasn't aware of it. he made a joke about how his wife would like it, etc.

but i'm pretty sure the guy is happy with what he's making right now. not that anyone would complain about an extra $80k, but i'll take the mayor at his word on this one.

on a side note, i agree with the hippie. people should be more concerned about the proposal to elect the school supes.

it comes up every so often, and i doubt it will pass but . . .

Tamara Shepherd's picture

I've been chewin' on that one...

I think a bill to elect TN superintendents has come up every year since 1992, Mike, and I'm kinda concerned that it COULD pass this legislative session.

Even so, it's not my biggest concern simply because we'd still have two lines of defense locally in preventing its becoming law in Knox County:

1) We'd have to see 8 of 11 commissioners, a 2/3 majority, move to enact an ordinance to this effect (and I don't presently see that happening on this particular commission), and

2) We'd have to next see a majority of voters approve such an ordinance on the ballot (and that COULD happen, too, so I'm relying heavily on the wisdom of 8 or more commissioners to block any such ballot).

Mike Donila's picture

that's right. i forgot that

that's right. i forgot that the commish would have to sign off on it. that's one vote i don't think they'd table. i also don't think they'd approve it.

Mary the prez's picture

Thanks, Mike..I thought I remembered your blog

OK, y'all, I will stop laughing now.

But Why the HECK did Stacey and Frank dream up this mess, then forget to tell the County Mayor, the one who would benefit from it in this County?

And why is Stacey now saying he won't push this bill and it will go nowhere? Why bother to waste time, effort and paper with a bill that you knew would fail?

And I might remind y'all that Superintendent McIntyre wrote and presented Tennessee's proposal that WON this State one-half a BILLION dollars in Race To The Top funding? And that he has found creative ways to open two new schools here in Knox County without one new dime in tax increases.

Meanwhile, so far county employees have suffered job cuts, cuts in pension and health benefits, and NO NEW jobs are out there.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Randy's right that the Focus is wrong on this one, Mary.

And furthermore, the Focus is also wrong in suggesting that the proposal before commission to run fee office budgets through first the mayor, then the commission, would somehow result in a "power power grab to take over all fee offices WITHOUT any review by Commission."

If passed, that proposal would simply allow the mayor, working with the fee officers, to suggest a budget for each, after which time the eleven commissioners would have an opportunity to approve or amend the mayor's suggestion.

The process would be one in which twelve people (beyond just a given fee officer) would collaborate in establishing any fee officer's budget--and in the process, the mayor's solitary opinion could very likely be overruled.

I just don't see any "power grab" on the mayor's part in either proposal.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

And why is Stacey now saying he won't push this bill and it will go nowhere? Why bother to waste time, effort and paper with a bill that you knew would fail?

To my knowledge, Campfield has only had one bill pass among all those he's ever sponsored, over all those how many years. He's made a career of wasting time.

And I might remind y'all that Superintendent McIntyre wrote and presented Tennessee's proposal that WON this State one-half a BILLION dollars in Race To The Top funding? And that he has found creative ways to open two new schools here in Knox County without one new dime in tax increases.

Mary, you must drop by more often. Meanwhile, please catch up here.

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