Mar 22 2011
04:27 pm
By: Mark Harmon

Let me thank Commissioner/Doctor/Colonel Richard Briggs for the measure to bring the fee offices into the regular budget.


I was talking today with mayoral aide and former reporter Michael Grider about this, and I've mentioned it in the first draft of my Crashing the Commission book. This antiquated system of turf protection needs to fall for the greater good of the community, and the budget power of its elected legislators.

--Mark Harmon

Mello's picture

Letters of Agreement

I am wondering if the fight in this will land on the Letters of Agreement for hiring the deputies and officers/employees of the fee office. As it is now, do the fee officers ( not the sheriff ) have to sign an agreement with the mayor on how many employees they will hire ( by title ) and what those positions will pay for the budget year?

Bird_dog's picture

bizarre work session

Since CC got rid of the redundant Finance/Intergovernmental Committee meetings, the Work Session has gone very smoothly for the most part. This resolution was added to the agenda at the last minute, yet there were fee office people at the meeting so they knew about it. Yet they did not speak up when given time for public input! Only after the Resolution was approved to go on consent at the meeting, did Com. Brown ask someone from the fee offices to respond.

Why didn't they object when given the opportunity before the vote? And the argument I heard was that they were elected and therefore the voters expected them to operate "in the full capacity", whatever that means.

Commission is the governing body and all fees should go into general funds - not to pay for the clerk's re-election...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Good, thorough column by Donila

I appreciated Mike Donila's column on this subject today.

He pointed out that the sheriff and the school board were also elected officeholders, yet they see their budgets run through the commission.

And yes, Donila did mention the failed charter amendment that would have allowed the mayor to appoint these offices.

However, the reason that amendment failed was because a majority of voters did not approve of the mayor (probably the seated mayor) appointing these officeholders AND because our former law director fanned the flames with his "lose your vote" rhetoric in the ballot text he drafted.

Does anyone actually believe that that amendment failed because a majority of voters didn't want oversight of the fee offices, and of their budgets in particular?! That's just absurd!

Mello's picture

Battle of Athens- sheriff on the budget system

Several years ago DeKalb County's website had an excellent article on why the sheriff has been on the budget system ( vs fee system) since shortly after the Battle of Athens. While some may recall what happened in Athens had to do with voter suppression, one of the triggers was the shake down of returning GIs with bogus fees which were used to fund the sheriff's department payroll.

The very idea that the sheriff and his deputies would only be paid by fees they collect is a very scary thought indeed.

Where is Elrod? There was a very big Blount County connection to the Battle of Athens and I don't think anyone could explain it as well as Elrod could.

Elrod's picture

No idea, Mello

I actually don't know much about the Battle of Athens or its Blount County connection.

Mello's picture

Well, then this link is as good as any...

(link...) It was around 1950 that all TN sheriff's were put under the budget system.

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