This morning, the Ethics Committee met to consider applicants for two ostensibly open positions on the Committee, those appointed by the Committee itself. The applicants included two standing members of the committee, and 22 outside applicants, many of which I would consider very highly qualified and would add greatly to the Committee.

However, after interviewing the applicants, the two rounds of voting went as follows:
Round 1- Committee nominated their two standing members only. After one round of voting, the Chair was re-appointed to the Committee.
Round 2- Committee nominated the remaining standing member only. Obviously, she was re-appointed.

None of the 22 outside applicants were even considered for voting. The process left everyone in the room discouraged at best.

(I don't mean to imply, of course, that the existing members who were reappointed are not qualified or should not have been reappointed. However, the process is clearly flawed, that those members did not even have to compete with outside applicants for votes)

If we wonder why people are disinterested and frustrated with participating in local government, why voter turnout is low, and why there remains distrust- this morning's actions are the perfect example of why.

And yes, in case you are wondering, Committee members CAN vote for their own reappointment.

118
like
South Knox Remembers's picture

didn't happen like that.

"None of the 22 outside applicants were even considered for voting."

Drevik, that is flat out wrong. I get so tired of you coming on here and saying your warped opinion is what happened. Each applicant had two minutes to talk about themselves. I watched the entire meeting. Most applicants disqualified themselves within the first minute. You were one of the worst. One applicant said they wanted to learn about ethics, so they wrote a book. Only two applicants stood out of those that spoke. The gentleman from Bush Beans and the dark haired male attorney. They made a favorable impression. The rest did not.

"However, the process is clearly flawed, that those members did not even have to compete with outside applicants for votes."

That isn't true and you should know it. But apparently you don't. There was nothing wrong with the process. It is the same process as the audit committee and other county committees use. And yes, in those committees they can vote for themselves. Everything this morning was legal and above board.

There was little surprise watching this meeting that the committee would re-appoint the current members. And speaking of ethics Drevik, you should have disclosed you were one of the 22 applicants.

reform4's picture

Explain to me

Why each of the other 18 applicants were unqualified. Do you need the list of names again?

I never said what happened was illegal. But it doesnt mean it wasnt wrong.

You are entitled to your opinion. Oh, since you're interested in disclosure and everyone here knows who I am- who are you and what was your connection to the meeting? Another candidate? An existing committee member?

Holden C's picture

I have no idea who you are

I have no idea who you are reform4. But I would like to know, were you one of the people seeking appointment this morning? If you were, why are you hiding it?

reform4's picture

I'm not hiding it.

I was, that the matter of public record. By definition, I cannot hide it if it is a matter of public record.

I did not add it to my post, because it's irrelevant to the topic. This is not about me, and I don't wish to make it about me. The issue is about the behavior of the committee.

Trying to pretend like I'm hiding something, which I am not, is simply a red herring and avoiding the issue at hand.

JCB's picture

all about you

"I did not add it to my post, because it's irrelevant to the topic. This is not about me, and I don't wish to make it about me. The issue is about the behavior of the committee."

Not about you? You hid the fact you applied for the position. Then you cried foul. You don't have a right to complain about anyone's behavior after what you've done.

reform4's picture

Troll go away

you add nothing to the conversation. Go away.

Holden C's picture

"I was, that the matter of

"I was, that the matter of public record. By definition, I cannot hide it if it is a matter of public record."

Are you an Obama spokesman? You hid the fact you applied for the Ethics Committee in your post here. You expect people to know from the "public record"?

There was a post last night that was deleted that had an important point. Without the votes of the members of the Ethics Committee that were leaving there would not have been a quorum. I don't know why that was deleted but it is an important point. Your idea to change that is not a good idea.

reform4's picture

If I wanted to make it about me...

.. I would have added this:

If I had been on the committee and up for re-appointment, I would have done two things differently:

1. Recuse myself from the vote. That's SOP for Commission, but our Ethics Committee doesn't understand the most basic conflict of interest? The issue of the quorum is yet another red herring- the vote can wait until you had a quorum, or as part of the rules modification, a majority can be defined as the number of qualified voting members. That's pretty typical in a lot of organizations ("majority of votes cast"). I know Commission doesn't operate that way, but I would consider this a special case- Commission doesn't have the opportunity to vote their own membership, while Ethics Committee does, at least for some members.

2. After the New Business was complete, I would have stepped down off the dias, and spoken from the floor just like all the other candidates, as a symbol of putting myself on equal footing with the other candidates.

So, there, I made part of it about me, if that makes you happier. Again, you continue to avoid the main point- that Ethics Committee made themselves look really bad and call the integrity of the organization into question by not including even ONE outside candidate for a vote. As someone said (reported on Donila's blog): "they didn't even try to make it look good."

So, taking a look at the current rules and realizing that, without term limits, this can go on forever and ever until someone dies or leaves town, it's clear there has to be some adjustment. A static ethics committee has certain structural risks, or at least the appearance thereof.

Holden C's picture

"Recuse myself from the vote.

"Recuse myself from the vote. That's SOP for Commission, but our Ethics Committee doesn't understand the most basic conflict of interest?"

Voting for yourself is a "conflict of interest"? Where did you study Civics? And it isn't SOP for Commission. When the Commission had a vote for Chair and Vice Chair everyone voted for themselves. You said a bunch of things here that aren't true. I'm not talking about opinions. You said things that have are false. You shouldn't lecture anyone on this subject.

reform4's picture

Apples and oranges

Voting for committee chairs and membership in sub-committees, tasks forces, etc of a body (specifically referenced in Robert's Rules of Order) isn't comparable to voting to appoint yourself to the membership of the committee itself forever and ever. Apples and oranges.

If you believe so much in disclosure, feel free to identify yourself instead of hiding behind an anonymous unverified registration.

R. Neal's picture

Donila: Some applicants

reform4's picture

My letter to County Commission- CHANGE THE RULES

To the members of the Knox County Commission and the County Mayor,

This morning, the Ethics Committee met to consider applicants for two ostensibly open positions on the Committee, those appointed by the Committee itself. The applicants included two standing members of the committee, and 22 outside applicants, many of which I would consider very highly qualified and would add greatly to the Committee.

However, after interviewing the applicants, the two rounds of voting went as follows:
Round 1- Committee nominated their two standing members only. After one round of voting, the Chair was re-appointed to the Committee.
Round 2- Committee nominated the remaining standing member only. Obviously, she was re-appointed.

None of the 22 outside applicants were even considered for voting. The process left everyone in the room discouraged at best. The process reflected very badly on the Committee itself, and left a stain that urgently needs to be washed out.

(I don't mean to imply, of course, that the existing members who were reappointed are not qualified or should not have been reappointed. However, the process is clearly flawed, that those members did not even have to compete with outside applicants for votes)

If I recall correctly, it is the Commission that wrote the bylaws for the Committee, and it would be in their purview to amend them. I urgently request the commission to draft for consideration two changes to the bylaws:

1. Limit committee members to two terms (terms are 3-year terms). This part is crucial- even if 'outside candidates' had been brought into the vote, there is always a strong tendency for the committee to reappoint their own membership. Term limits is the only way to break the cycle.

2. Disallow members from voting on their own reappointment (require recusal). This would require an change to voting rules in this case to 'majority of votes cast'.

If we wonder why people are disinterested and frustrated with participating in local government, why voter turnout is low, and why there remains distrust- this morning's actions are the perfect example that, although we have come a very very long way in improving Knox County government, there is still work to do. I respectfully request that you give my suggestion for amending the Committee rules urgent consideration.

Thank you,

Steve Drevik

Bbeanster's picture

A self-perpetuating ethics

A self-perpetuating ethics board is a bad joke. What is its purpose? IIRC, it is required by state law, but who wrote the rules?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

A self-perpetuating ethics board is a bad joke.

That's the way I'm leaning, Betty...

(Now again, that's an observation about the process, not necessarily about the appointees themselves.)

But remember that initial process commission followed to appoint that initial Committee?

They nominated and elected a buncha people they hadn't even spoken to to ask if they'd serve! Tommy Shumpert was one of 'em, who wrote 'em back to advise that he wouldn't have time, as he would be forming and co-chairing the new Public Trust PAC!

Not sure this process was very sound from the get-go...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Steve, I've been chewing on your observations since yesterday but I'm not yet sure what to think about yesterday's process because I haven't yet been able to find any direction on what that process is supposed to be!

I first went to the Model Ethics Policy that CTAS created for counties statewide (because that wound up being what Knox County adopted in its entirety).

At the top of page 4, I found this reference to the Ethics Committee:

While it is not required under the Ethics Reform Act, the model policy creates a local ethics committee as a mechanism for filing complaints of violations of the policy and maintenance of records. Although the CTAS model policy provides for the creation of a local ethics committee, the Ethics Reform Act does not mandate the creation of an ethics
committee or the designation of any other local office to receive complaints.

I took that passage to mean that I needn't bother looking into what state law says on this topic, because I wouldn't find any instruction there even on how the Ethics Committee is to be formed, much less on how its members are to be replaced into the future.

I'm now thinking that whatever instruction we have on forming the Committee and reappointing its members over time probably lies completely within this linked Modal Ethics Policy the county adopted (which is in turn codified within our Knox County Charter).

I do see instruction there on how the initial Committee is to be formed, but I don't see instruction there on how its members are to be replaced into the future?

Just now, I tried to pull up the Knox County Charter to see if possibly there's some mention of this within the Charter that wasn't part of the actual Policy adopted (and I'm concerned that maybe there isn't)--but now I'm having trouble even finding the Charter at the county's site! I have a call into the mayor's office asking help, but for the moment I'm stymied...

Anyway, I certainly think this process should be outlined somewhere, so that we onlookers may easily ascertain whether our practices are in keeping with our required processes.

And I certainly think that if we do find this required process outlined somewhere, only to learn that it's flawed, we should be able to speak up about that, too.

I think your inquiry is perfectly valid, whether or not you were an applicant in yesterday's process, and I look forward to learning whatever is to be learned on this topic.

Glad you brought it up.

(I'll share here any insights the mayor's office may relate.)

reform4's picture

The guidelines are very vague

The membership rules are, as far as I can tell, embedded in the County Ethics Code itself (Sec 8), and no place else I can see. Not surprising, this wouldn't/didn't need to be a Charter thing.

(link...)

Section 8 refers to the composition of the committee, the initial terms of the original appointees, and the regular term of office (3 years). The references to taking resumes and reviewing candidates is only listed for ongoing appointments, and interestingly, was not required for the initial appointments. Technically the Mayor's appointments and Commission's appointments don't have to be an open process either, only the Ethics Committee's appointments have to (perhaps that's something else to codify into a rule change....)

And yes, the state guidelines are really nothing beyond requiring an ethics policy to be drafted and passed.

That being said, and let me be perfectly clear here, what happened Monday was 100% in accordance with the rules as they stand today. They can keep re-appointing themselves until the day they die. I do not mean to imply in any way that they broke any rules. No, the point here is that the rules lead to a flawed outcome, and thus need review and amendment to provide a better outcome for the citizens of Knox County.

Pam Strickland's picture

Steve, I believe that it was

Steve, I believe that it was disingenuous for you to leave out that you were one of the candidates. Yes, in the long-run it is the process that is flawed whether or not you were a candidate, nonetheless, you have to be transparent about self-involvement. That's just the way it is. Get it out there and get it over with instead of having it being something that remains an issue that you fight about.

bizgrrl's picture

It seems like from near the

It seems like from near the beginning it was known that Steve was a candidate. It was probably known by many before this post he was a candidate. Move on, nothing to see here.

I'm thinking members of the Ethics Committee should have term limits.

Pam Strickland's picture

Maybe it was known, but not

Maybe it was known, but not everyone carries that information filed away. Yes, I knew it, you knew it, some others did. But the appropriate thing would have been for him to say upfront, something to the effect of "As you know, I was a candidate/applicant..., but whether or not that was the case, this system is broken..." and then go into the whys and why nots.

To completely ignore it isn't being transparent. Anytime that you write about something that you have a potential conflict of interest in, you have to be upfront about it, any writer will tell you that. Otherwise, the conversation ends up being about the potential conflict instead of about the issue itself.

It's like in a trial when a lawyer has a witness with a potential problem, you get the witness on the stand and you address the potential problem first, before the other side as a chance to go at it. Then it's out there in the open so no one can say it's a problem because you've already addressed it.

If Steve had simply reminded everyone upfront that this was the case, then the matter would have been addressed and that would have been addressed and he wouldn't have had to argue about it with the naysayers.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

No one made a motion to appoint themselves. That did not happen. Isn't this the second full term for both Davis and Mosley?

I don't see that Steve alleged anyone "nominated" themselves, JCB.

He alleged only that two seated members voted in favor of reappointing themselves (after they were nominated by other of their peers). And they did vote to reappoint themselves.

Maybe the solution to this "quorum" conundrum is to codify a process that County Commission, not the Ethics Committee itself, will make all appointments at the end of members' three-year terms? And to codify whether members having already served a term or two are (or are not) free to reapply, along with the new applicants? After all, it was Commission that made the initial appointments?

I absolutely agree with Steve that this "quorum" conundrum is avoidable, and that it doesn't necessitate any process that--in the worst case--could enable members to reappoint themselves into perpetuity.

(Pam, I really do agree with Biz. And too, I think Steve was kinda talking to we "regulars" at KV, not to new and unverified passers-by. We "regulars," of course, have all known for years who "reform4" is.)

JCB's picture

I'll accept the "apology"

I'll accept the "apology" reform4/Steve gave above when he finally accepted that nothing illegal went down and the rules were followed.

I think this is more about the two people that were reappointed. It looks like a personal grudge reform4 has and I think his tantrum was irrelevant to what matters about this committee.

R. Neal's picture

What tantrum? Seems to me

What tantrum? Seems to me like there are a few drive-by commenters with unknown agendas and/or affiliations throwing around a lot of unfounded allegations. So it's not too hard for readers to draw their own conclusions regarding who is genuinely interested in improving a democratic process in the interest of better local government v. who is trying to discredit him. The only remaining question is, why?

metulj's picture

Please code the IPs beside

Please code the IPs beside these folks names!

reform4's picture

More red herrings

Oh, please! I have no grudge against anyone on that committee. They are all fine people. The absolutely last thing I wanted to do was make this about me and my application, so that's why I didn't mention it- it seemed totally irrelevant at the time.

Currently, I don't give a rat's behind about serving on the committee at this point. I see a bigger problem, and given the choice between "hey, you can serve on the Committee OR we can install term limits", I would pick the latter now, forever, in a heartbeat, every time.

I'm getting a little incensed here about people questioning my motives. Anybody who knows me at all knows better. The rest of you anonymous trolls can just .... (ok, counting here... 1, 2, 3...9, 10.)

The entire reason I ran in 2006 was Black Wednesday. I saw a problem and wanted to contribute to the solution. Same thing here. I'm not in it for anything personal. If you don't believe that, I can't help you.

reform4's picture

to lighten things up...

Pam Strickland's picture

You might speak to the

You might speak to the regulars, but this is the Internet and there are all kinds of folks here so they should be taken into consideration since the door is always open for them.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I think this is more about the two people that were reappointed. It looks like a personal grudge reform4 has...

Dunno where you're coming from, bro.

Nobody here has evenly remotely examined the "people" reappointed.

We're examining the "process" followed to make those appointments.

I've linked the CTAS Model Ethics Policy for discussion and Steve's linked that same document's text as codified in the Charter.

If you wanna talk about the "processes" outlined in these documents, welcome.

If you wanna talk about "people," start another thread. On another blog.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Yes, JCB, I think you may be right that Steve's applied before. You may also be right that there's someone on the Committee he doesn't care for, I don't know.

But the fact remains that every point he's made here has clearly been focused on a gaping hole in this process being employed to select appointees.

If you read Donilla's article, Steve was just one of three Committee candidates to make this observation.

Several of us here who were NOT Committee candidates have also acknowledged what looks like a pretty good-sized hole in the process.

Just don't see how you can suggest that a process potentially allowing a "self-perpetuating" committee isn't flawed.

It is flawed.

Let's then talk about what process might be more inclusive, more democratic (note that I didn't capitalize that "d," so don't go getting your panties in a wad over my word choice :-).

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I've linked the CTAS Model Ethics Policy for discussion and Steve's linked that same document's text as codified in the Charter.

Sorry--I've said over and over in this thread that our Ethics Policy is "codified in our Charter," but apparently it isn't.

I did finally find the Charter at the county's website (since the Charter Review Committee's formation, looks like they've moved its location to fall under that link entitled "Charter Review Committee"), but again our Ethics Policy isn't to be found codified within it.

I guess, then, that the adopted text of the Ethics Policy Steve linked is the sum total of the "rules" we can examine?

Or does the Committee also have a body of standing rules of some sort we can examine?

Steve, I'm not yet seeing anything, anywhere to suggest the process the Committee should follow in making re-appointments.

Where are you finding anything?

reform4's picture

I don't think there is anything else.

We'd have to check with the Law Director, but I would guess that the Policy says the Committee appoints the 3 [correction, see below, *two*] positions, and they are just following the method County Commission uses for appointing people to outside boards and committees- nominate X names, vote, drop the lowest votes off, and keep voting until someone gets a majority.

The voting method itself is perfectly reasonable, other than the aforementioned oddity that it's not appointing to an outside position, but for the Committee's own membership. I don't see how the method is in any way in conflict with Section 8 of the Ethics Policy.

The major tweak would seem to be adding term limits. I'd like to see, if nothing more than for the symbolism, a second change where members can't vote for their reappointment- again, a 'majority of votes cast' language would need to accompany such a change.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Unless I just missed it, I didn't see that the Policy instructs the Committee to appoint three members to its own body?

Well, I tried to look up any landline Elaine has at home (and called directory assistance, too), then called the Law Director's office to ask from where this appointment instruction originates. They took a message to give David Buuck (sp?), whom they said is gone for the day.

Richard Briggs is very good to return calls, even from folks outside his commission district. I may venture a call to him at home tonight, too, time allowing.

Again, I think it's unfortunate that you (and probably any former candidate having unsuccessfully sought a position on this committee) would be looked upon with skepticism by some people for having raised this perfectly valid objection.

The validity of this objection should be determined solely on the basis of its logic, not on the basis of who raised it or why.

Don't sweat it that you're having trouble getting traction raising it, though. I'm persuaded of its logic and so, it appears, is Bean (who's no shrinking violet, her own bad self).

Let's see what more we can find out tonight and tomorrow.

reform4's picture

Sorry, it's 2 not 3 by EC (Commission has the 3+1 of its own)

[Section 8]
Seven (7) citizens of Knox County who meet the residential requirements of being a Knox County voter, who are not employees of Knox County, and are not directly related (i.e., spouse, sibling, parent or child) to any elected official of Knox County. Three (3) such citizens shall be appointed by the Knox County Commission, two (2) such citizens shall be appointed by the Knox County Mayor and two (2) such citizens shall be appointed by the Knox County Ethics Committee following an open process allowing citizens seeking appointment to submit letters, resumes and other relevant information to the Knox County Ethics Committee over a two (2) week period. Terms of office shall be for three (3) years

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Sheesh. I should have disclosed earlier that I'm on Day 5 of ingesting Alka Seltzer Plus cold tablets and not exactly clickin' on all cylinders...

Yeah, I see that you referenced Section 8 of the Ethics Policy earlier...which is when I first went off searching for the County Charter, thinking the Ethics Policy was codified there and that you were directing us to the Charter's Section 8!

But get this: The Model Ethics Policy that CTAS provided all TN counties actually ended with Section 6 and didn't even address all these questions of who was to appoint how many Committee members and how (here is the link to that Model again).

It must be, then, that our local Commission added Sections 7 and 8 to the policy we wound up adopting. Which means that we did not just adopt the CTAS model verbatim, as I'd recalled.

And this Commission to have drafted Sections 7 and 8 was then comprised of the same Commissioners who idiotically appointed to that original Ethics Committee a buncha people it turned out they hadn't even approached to ask if they would serve.

So it's starting to make sense why their reappointment process doesn't make sense, huh???

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Just off the phone with Richard Briggs, whom I asked two questions:

1) Does any committee in local government have the ability to appoint its own members (besides the Ethics Committee)?

2) Are members of the Ethics Committee term-limited?

Richard is unsure of the answer to my first question and encourages me to run it past David Buuck tomorrow.

Richard does, however, believe that Ethics Committee members (and all committee members serving local government) ARE term-limited. He suggests I also ask David where I should look to document this.

reform4's picture

Looking at the charter..

I couldn't find any reference to 'other committees' and term limitations. Unless there is a particular bill passed after the Ethics Policy adding term limits (I'm not aware of one), I can't see where, but we'll wait to see if Richard / David find.

Similarly, for #1, I'm not aware of any other body with this particular capability- other boards and committees (air quality, etc), from what I've seen, are all appointed by legislative bodies or executive positions. The idea that the Ethics Committee could appoint some of its own members independently from those who they are supposed to 'watchdog' is obviously an intentional check and balance, making it critical that those appointees be drawn from folks with no connection to the Mayor, Commission, etc.

Thanks for pursuing, and let us know what you hear!

JCB's picture

a day late, with sour grapes

Where was all this concern when the Charter Review Committee was meeting?

Term limiting county committees is all well and fine if it is what all the people want. It would have been more appropriate to have this voted on by all the people rather than wanting County Commission to deal with state legislated committees.

If you want to see what this is really about read the last paragraph from the cover letter from reform4/Steve. I would post it, but then it would be deleted.

What the hell:

"I should also note that last year I won a majority vote for an appointment by the County Commission (of the commissioners present, but due to a Commissioner leaving after roll call, the votes were insufficient, leading to a deadlock where I agreed to withdraw to resolve)."

reform4's picture

Ethics Committee isn't part of charter.

That's why. You don't load up the Charter with unnecessary crap.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Where was all this concern when the Charter Review Committee was meeting?

Term limiting county committees is all well and fine if it is what all the people want. It would have been more appropriate to have this voted on by all the people rather than wanting County Commission to deal with state legislated committees.

Slow down here, JCB...

First, like Steve said, I've finally come to understand that the Ethics Policy Commission adopted isn't "codified in the Charter" as I mistakenly indicated so many times earlier in this thread. It's a "free-standing" sorta policy. I apologized a few posts back for my having been a bit obtuse on this point previously.

Second, given the popularity of term limits for elected officeholders, it's not a stretch to think the citizenry probably supports the notion with regard to committees, too.

Third, "all the people" didn't get to vote on the earlier versions of the Ethics Policy (it's already been amended a time or two, I'm told), so it's not any oddity that we won't get to vote on any future amendments to it, either--although we can certainly lobby our elected reps with our requests to do this or that.

Fourth, as I mentioned in one of my first posts on this subject (and as I linked in that CTAS Model Ethics Policy), our local Ethics Committee isn't any "state legislated committee." Adopting our local Ethics Policy was required by state law, but forming our local Ethics Committee was simply a recommendation from CTAS. that counties form such committees.

("CTAS" stands for the "County Technical Assistance Service," since I don't think I've spelled out that acronym, and they just provide advice and assistance to counties statewide; they don't regulate counties in any way.)

Anyway, I don't think it's any biggie to just ask Commissioners to consider making some changes to the way our local committee functions, as the Ethics Policy outlining all that has already been amended.

amybroyles's picture

Ethics Committee

Steve, I have already added a discussion on the Ethics Committee to the Commission's Work Session agenda for Monday.

I also just sent you (and Tamara and Rachel) copies of the two resolutions Commission passed in 2007 regarding the Ethics Committee. If anyone else would like copies, send me your email address.

Holden C's picture

what happened yesterday?

Commissioner Amy Broyles, yesterday Dr. Briggs spoke about retroactively changing the results of a vote of a committee. He said your proposal to disband the Ethics Committee and reformulate it was improper. Dr. Briggs said it was wrong and probably not legal.

You said it was fine to do this because the people on the committee should not be able to nominate themselves.

Yet less than two hours later you did exactly that with the Committee on Committees.

I don't understand what the difference is. I felt yesterday was a bad day for Commission. You did exactly what you accused the Ethics Committee of doing and many of your fellow Commissioners said nothing.

reform4's picture

Not Exactly

There was a resolution to affirm or certify (?) the Committee's appointments, that was voted down. Bud Armstrong then observed that the Policy doesn't require the Commission to approve those appointments (no "consent" clause), so the failure of the Commission to approve that resolution meant nothing (to which some Commissioners said "so why was this even on our agenda?").

But no, they did not vote to retroactively change the votes.

As part of the exploration of what Commission could do, Armstrong said the only options were to terminate a Committee member "for just cause" (everyone agreed that did not exist), or disband the Committee and re-create it. The idea of disbanding was, IMHO, not as much driven by last week, but by the idea that this was an opportunity to improve the makeup of the committee and make it more citizen-oriented, and to remove the Commission and KCSO members. Dr. Briggs pointed out that these two posts would have standing conflicts of interest, and add little to the committee as voting members.

I would suggest that you turn the volume on your TV up, or listen more attentively before drawing conclusions.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Thanks, Amy.

Sorry to have garbled this conversation so much with my misunderstandings on various points.

Like I mentioned, these head cold meds are making me a little fuzzy, I think...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Back to report what David Buuck offered, when he returned my call bright and early this morn (and what a nice fellow he is).

I asked him those same two questions I had asked Richard, namely:

1) Does any committee in local government have the ability to appoint its own members (besides the Ethics Committee)?

2) Are members of the Ethics Committee term-limited?

As to my first quesiton, David says all local government committees have the ability to appoint members to fill vacancies for the balance of unexpired terms. I explained that I wondered if other committees have the ability to appoint members to fill full terms. He said he'd have to look into that.

As to my second question, David agreed with Richard that all committee members are term-limited to two terms, just as elected officeholders are. He referred me to the Knox County Commission Rules, which I found on their website here.

I confess I lacked the time to read the entire document and instead skipped directly to Rule V--Committees General (starting on page 8) and Rule VI--Committee Specific (starting on page 11).

In two reads of these sections, though, I failed to spot any reference to committee members being term limited? Possibly the reference can be found elsewhere in the Rules, though, so I certainly choose to take Richard's and David's word on the question.

Provided the rule may be found somewhere and provided our practices are in adherence to the rule, I personally am now unconcerned that membership on the Ethics Committee might be self-perpetuating.

In one last thought on this topic, Richard shared last night that he has long believed the Ethics Committee's voting members should be comprised exclusively of private citizens. He thinks that certain ex officio members appointed from among branches of local government are needed to lend the Committee institutional knowledge, but that these members should not be casting votes on issues before the Committee. Richard says he has offered this suggestion to his peers on Commission previously, but that a majority did not favor the idea.

When I ran Richard's thought past David this morning, David's comment was that it was an idea worth discussing.

reform4's picture

I found a number of problems with applying Commission Rules...

If the Commission rules are the guiding rules, then the Committees may NOT fill vacancies caused by resignation, death, disqualification, etc. See 5.G:
Should for any reason one or more members of a committee vacate their positions, the Commission shall fill those vacancies in the same manner as the original members.

BUT that begs the question- do Commission rules apply? By using these rules, then arguably Commission would replace vacancies in all 9 members, even those appointed by KCSD or the Committee-appointed positions. That doesn't seem reasonable. I'm not sure if it's come up yet, but I would assume a vacated position would follow the policy of whichever body appointed that position (KCSO, Commission, or the Committee itself).

Rule 6.A clearly contradicts the Ethics Policy membership language (by saying Commission appoints all the members), so there's another strike against the logic of using the Commission rules.

Finally, as you noted, there is NOTHING in the rules here about term limitation in committees or sub-committees. Just wishing or opining that it's there, but we just can't see it, that's not going to work.

The last point is interesting, I can see the logic. But it's minor compared to the issue that remains before us- the current membership does allow those two positions to be self-perpetuating, forever (and the Commission/Mayor positions can be re-appointed without limitation as well). I still have yet to see any solid evidence otherwise.

I'll look through the other sections to see if anything else turns up.

Mike Cohen's picture

Ethics committee

It seems to me that part of the reason they gave the committee some appointment powers was to make sure there were people chosen from outside the bodies they were to examine, I am not sure, but seem to recall it.

As for term limits, the people are for them. Every time they are on the ballot. Overwhelmingly. Seems like having term limits on the Ethics Committee would be a very good idea. Certainly no shortage of good people willing to serve.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Steve said (Thurs at 8:51 p.m.):

The idea that the Ethics Committee could appoint some of its own members independently from those who they are supposed to 'watchdog' is obviously an intentional check and balance, making it critical that those appointees be drawn from folks with no connection to the Mayor, Commission, etc.

And Mike said (Fri at 7:14 p.m.):

It seems to me that part of the reason they gave the committee some appointment powers was to make sure there were people chosen from outside the bodies they were to examine, I am not sure, but seem to recall it.

Yes, Steve and Mike--I'm sure you're both right that this rule is a check, yet it's rather an odd check?

I'm content not to comment on how odd until we possibly learn from Commission's upcoming work session what precedent exists for it in other committee settings, including in any outside local government...

However, as to what Holden C said (Thurs at 9:08 a.m.):

There was a post last night that was deleted that had an important point. Without the votes of the members of the Ethics Committee that were leaving there would not have been a quorum.

I forgot until tonight that I'd meant to read up on this in Robert's Rules. My copy says on the topic that "the quorum refers to the number of such members present, not to the number actually voting on a particular question" (their italics, not mine). In my 10th edition (published 2000), that's from page 334, Chapter XI: Quorums; Order of Business and related concepts, subsection 40, lines 5 through 7.

My understanding of this rule is that it means a deliberative body doesn't cease to have a quorum just because one or more members declines to vote on a particular question, as in recusing oneself from a vote due to having a conflict of interest in that particular voting issue?

So this question remains.

The question of what documentation exists where to claim that these committee positions are term-limited remains.

And yes, Steve, I have to agree that you're also raising some valid questions as to our ability to apply Commission's Rules to the work of the Ethics Committee.

I'm thinking this online conversation is kinda at an impasse and we should just make like flies on the wall at this upcoming Commission work session???

reform4's picture

Roberts Rules

Ill have to read up, but previously somewhere I have seen a variant to handle votes where the is a high opportunity for recusals, my calling for a "majority of votes cast". Only yea/nay votes count, and recusals and abstentions are not considered. But yes, a quorum is defined just as the requisite # of members showing up to convene the meeting. You don't "cease to have a quorum" because of recusals, it just makes the majority vote harder. With Briggs out and 2 recusals, an appointee would have needed 5 of 6 votes, but it would not have held anything up.

In the case of a 9-person board with only 1 recusal, it basically means an existing appointee would still need 5 votes, but they don't have theirs. If they end up dropping off as the lowest person on the slate (unlikely), they get to vote again.

If could mean a 4-4 deadlock, a similar situation that occurred previously on a Comission appointment (one commissioner had to leave after roll call), where somebody had to budge, but that all worked out.

Note that the two Committee appointee terms currently expire together, so arguably it could be 7 members voting, only requiring 4 votes under the alternate rules. Still quite workable. It would be preferable if the next time a Committee slot is filled, that person chooses to only serve one term, so we have a staggered opening. Assuming germ limits get put in place, that is.

reform4's picture

CLARIFICATION: Ordinance

I just spoke with Dr. Briggs who indicated they did identify an ordinance from a few years ago that globally limits any board members to two terms.

I believe the discussion today will be to review the ordinance in light of positions appointed by the committee itself to ensure 'coverage' and that there isn't any limiting language (e.g., "positions appointed by the Commission or the Mayor"). I don't have a copy of that ordinance, but I believe the Law Director will be able to read it.

On another note, at the interviews, Diane Jablonski read into the record her statement about last Wednesday (in the process withdrawing her application in protest).

reform4's picture

Now I'm confused

Bud Armstrong said something to the effect that the Commission, through its charter, limits committees to two terms or 8 years, which he said would be four 2-year terms (but I think that's not right, some initial terms were 2 years, but ongoing terms are 3 years).

I still don't see anything in the Charter. I don't want to question Bud, I just want to see where it is so we don't end up years from now saying "oh, it wasn't there after all", or "it doesn't apply to the Committee appointed positions." Call me paranoid?

Currently, Commission is considering failing to ratify the Committee's appointments. As they have no current business before them, the impact some argue is negligible.

Also, some discussion of making the board all-citizen and eliminating the Commission and KCSO members. Briggs points out there are often recusals due to conflicts of interest.

Briggs doesn't like the way it was done, but argues against not ratifying the appointments because it was done legally (and he's 100% right, assuming Brad's issue that "should they have voted if their terms had expired?" doesn't make the Committee's process invalid).

South Knox Remembers's picture

Happy Drevik? Looks like you

Happy Drevik? Looks like you and Jablonski create a lawsuit. Nice work.

You've been turned down 5 times for this committee. There's a reason for that.

reform4's picture

For the last time, it's not about me.

As much as you try to make it so, it's not, so quit making yourself look foolish.

This is about a structural issue, and Commission pretty much agrees.

An what lawsuit are you talking about? Can you elaborate?

JCB's picture

reform4/Steve, How many times

reform4/Steve,

How many times have you applied for the Ethics Committee?

metulj's picture

I have mongoose that is nine

I have a mongoose that is nine feet long

reform4's picture

My hovercraft is full of eels.

Equivalent relevancy.

fischbobber's picture

You Know

That's a big mongoose.

JCB's picture

5 times? really?

Have you tried 5 times to get on this committee? At what point does it occur to you that that's excessive for anyone?

reform4's picture

5 times? No, I think you're factually incorrect there.

and I don't know why you take such an interest in me, it's really creepy and stalk-ish.

Average Guy's picture

Is it that plum a gig?

What point are you trying to make?

There is no political power in the position, other than the possibility to admonish a government official accused of ethical wrongdoing. And since there is nothing or no one currently before the committee, obviously there could be no political axe to grind.

So, somebody really (x4) wants to serve their government in the capacity where they feel they best can.

Please explain the problem you see with that.

reform4's picture

Live Blog Update

Voted to deny ratifying appointment (Briggs recused, Ownby no, all others yes). However, the question is- does it matter? Does Commission have the right to deny their appointments? Armstrong opines no, they could only remove members for just cause.

Broyles suggests one solution is dissolving the current Committee and reconstitute it (with improvements) as a solution. This would have to be an ordinance to be taken up next month. Wright suggests a rework should allow only two 2-year terms.

Bird_dog's picture

PS - then they voted to reconsider

and sent without recommendation. Possibly to dissolve the Ethics Committee and start over.

KCC should consider impaneling an Ethics Committee like jury selection for say, one year at the time. They are complaint-driven, right? They don't go looking for trouble and, as noted, haven't had any issues to review in 2 years.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Thanks for your live blog, Steve. I'm sorry I couldn't attend today's meeting.

Well, I hate that Commission is now having to hastily address all these concerns in this atmosphere of chaos that's existed since last week's appointment process, but I suppose it's a good thing that they are motivated to address it, nonetheless.

As for you, South Knox, you obviously won't hear Steve or me to the effect that his concern is for process, so I suppose you won't hear that Diane's concern is for process, too.

Here goes, anyway:

With the disclaimer that Diane is a longtime friend of mine (across the political aisle) with whom I've shared motel rooms and in whose home I've been a guest, that is her concern, as she and I discussed over the weekend.

And something else she told me this weekend is that she was pleased to see so many applicants for this panel who were better qualified for it than she.

Diane, who is a Certified Parliamentarian following years of study and exam-taking, had some other observations about last week's process that I shouldn't repeat without her permission (unlike Richard Briggs and David Buuck, she is no longer a "public official," but a private citizen).

In all the years I've known her (and through only one major blow-up between us), I have never doubted that she (and husband Jim, too) has a heart for service.

Years after her service to the school board, Diane has continued to serve our state and local PTA organizations and also volunteers as a courtroom advocate for children through CASA.

Like Steve, she's good peeps, too.

reform4's picture

Diane's comments were great.

She was a hard act to follow. :) And she has done a lot of work for the schools across the years, and is indeed well respected. If they choose the path to reorganize, I hope she comes back!

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

KCC should consider impaneling an Ethics Committee like jury selection for say, one year at the time.

That might be a good idea, Bird.

Another idea I heard someone mention in the last few days is to elect these positions via the ballot.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I became concerned that we already elect more people via the ballot than we can really research very thoroughly as to their qualification.

I think I like your idea better, especially given how many highly qualified people appear willing to serve.

reform4's picture

I'm not a big fan of the election approach either.

The local media barely gives us coverage of local candidates (well, they do the best job they can, a lot of people don't take the time to WATCH the coverage that is there, really!), so elected committee members would get lost in the wash, with people picked solely by the party affiliation next to their name, or name recognition.

I have full faith in the ability of the existing bodies to pick good candidates, and I am impressed at the Commission's apparent dedication to make it more citizen-oriented, with faster turnovers.

Honestly, I was very surprised that the idea of dissolving and re-forming it came up. While it has its merits (a 'cleansing' after last Wednesday, and a necessity to change the structure and membership), I wouldn't want a bad precedent set either (Archibald Cox ring a bell?).

Of course, the Commission has no business in front of it now, but who is to say someday if there was a large voting bloc on Commission that was violating the Policy, could they dissolve the Committee (all appointees) and reorganize it in the middle of an inquiry, packing it with pro-bloc appointees?

But other than changing the charter, since the Committee is a creation of the Commission, there's no real way to make a safeguard, other than public opinion. In this case, most public opinion would be in the Commission's favor, if they choose to dissolve and reform. And again, if their goal is to change the makeup and structure and make it more citizen-oriented, I say go for it.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Stay on topic, Toby! :-)

(Nice didn't work. I'm just gonna ignore 'em now...)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

You said it was fine to do this because the people on the committee should not be able to nominate themselves.

Yet less than two hours later you did exactly that with the Committee on Committees.

I did not see the work session, Holden, but to my knowledge Commission does not take any voting action on any topic during their work sessions?

To my knowledge, all voting issues are decided in Commission's regular monthly meeting?

I'm therefore wondering if you may have misunderstood the action you observed?

Anybody else observe what Holden believes he saw???

(Also, no one on the Ethics Committee nominated themselves to serve an additional term. Two members did, however, vote for their own ability to serve another term.)

Holden C's picture

Tamara,

This was not in the Commission Workshop. It was in the Committee on Committees meeting that followed the Workshop. It happened just as I said. Amy nominated the very same people that were on the Committees. Exactly what she criticized the Ethics Committee of doing. She was so mad they did it she proposed disbanding the Ethics Committee. But it is fine for Commission to do it? At one point she raised her hand while Sam McKenzie, the Chair of the Committee on Committees, was speaking. Sam said, "Amy has nominated herself". Amy said, "No, I have a question". Neither saw a problem of her nominating herself.

It was bad. You can watch it on CTV next week. I don't think you will like what you see. Real do as I say not as I do stuff.

metulj's picture

If thine eye offend thee,

If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Thanks, Holden--I misunderstood which meeting you were talking about.

So she didn't actually nominate herself, then.

With regard to her having nominated people already serving on the Committee, were there other applicants standing in the sidelines?

Or does that Committee's process call for openly inviting applications from the members of other committees?

I think we'd have to know the answers to these two questions before we could reasonably conclude our any right to be offended by the practice you describe.

reform4's picture

If I understand correctly....

.. we're talking about Commission sub-committees that are composed entirely of members of the Commission itself, such as Beer Board, right?

If so, then we're not talking about a slate of outside applicants for consideration- these MUST be Commissioners and can ONLY be Commissioners.

Or am I missing something?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

...yesterday Dr. Briggs spoke about retroactively changing the results of a vote of a committee. He said your proposal to disband the Ethics Committee and reformulate it was improper. Dr. Briggs said it was wrong and probably not legal.

Also, is this precisely what Richard said yesterday? I want to understand his objection completely.

I have always found I could rely on Richard for thorough and honest insight into questions like this, so if he's concerned, I'm wondering if I should be, too?

Holden and Steve, I'm curious to hear both your reports on Richard's concern?

reform4's picture

Not exactly the way it was portrayed.

See above. The Commission voted down the resolution (well, the recommendation, this was only the work session) to approve / certify / something (I forget the wording) the appointments of the Committee. Since it's the work session, what they really did was vote to recommend against.

Armstrong said Commission couldn't really turn down the appointments (IN NEXT WEEKS session) because the Commission's consent and approval is not required under the Ethics policy.

Commissioners inquired *if* they could remove those members (I don't believe any resolution was offered, just a question to Armstrong) and he informed Commission regarding their options.

The discussion that followed was much more about how the Committee itself needed to be restructured, and this was an opportunity to do so. That's certainly where Richard was coming from- he indicated he thought for some time that the Committee needed to be more citizens, and he thought the Commission member wasn't a good idea. Which is ironic, because if Richard had been there last week, I feel confident that HE would have been the one to call down the Committee to do the right thing, and probably avoided all of this.

The sole purpose of the idea of disbanding did not, IMHO, appear to be about what happened Wednesday. That being said, I'm sure some of the Commissioners are a little annoyed, though, as it casts a shadow on County Government after a period where, as I stated, Commission and the Mayor's office has worked very hard to improve over the last several years. If I were in their shoes, I would be pretty annoyed, too. But I heard several Commissioners talk about some of the very qualified people on the Committee, who I'm sure would be called on to continue.

KnoxTnWatch's picture

Video of yesterday at Commission

See for yourself what happened.

Commissioner Briggs stands up to Commissioner Broyles on her unethical proposal to unseat the Ethics Committee.

(link...)

Assistant Law Director David Buuck informs Commission they have acted illegally.

(link...)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I very much appreciate those two links, KnoxTn. Thanks.

It appears that Amy did not recommend "overturning" the Ethics Committee's appointments, though, but instead recommended "denying ratification" of those appointments, due to her mistaken understanding that the process outlined in the Ethics Policy called for Commission to ratify (or not) the Committee's action last week.

Per another Commissioner we hear speaking off-screen (to ask why,then, these items relating to the Ethics Committee always appear on Commissioners' meeting agenda, and to which David answers "to ensure that these Committee actions find their way into the Clerk's records"), it also appears that Amy was not the only Commissioner to have mistakenly thought Commission had a responsibility to ratify the Committee's action.

Since Commissioners ultimately sent this item on to the Regular Meeting "without recommendation," I expect to see that Commissioners will not, in fact, seek to "overturn" the Committee's appointments.

Personally, while I am convinced of the need to reexamine how and by whose directive these members whose terms have expired should be replaced, I agree with Richard and David that no device now exists in the Ethics Policy for Commissioners to "decline to ratify" or to otherwise "overturn" the appointments made last week.

It appears to me, too, that the correct next step is to reexamine the procedures outlined in the Policy with an eye toward the future, not the past.

Again, thanks very much for sharing that important background info.

Holden C's picture

Tamara,

"It appears that Amy did not recommend "overturning" the Ethics Committee's appointments, though, but instead recommended "denying ratification" of those appointments, due to her mistaken understanding that the process outlined in the Ethics Policy called for Commission to ratify (or not) the Committee's action last week."

I didn't see it on those videos but Amy said the Ethics Committee should be disbanded and reformulated under new rules and members. This was before Dr. Briggs comments. That is what Dr. Briggs objected to.

Amy wanted a do over and even mentioned Black Wednesday. It was bad. A new low point. Amy is wrong. But that isn't the problem. Except for Dr. Briggs and David Buuck, no one called her on it. That is what I care about.

reform4's picture

As one Commissioner pointed out...

.. (I think it was R. Larry, but don't quote me),

paraphrase: "We heard that most of what happened in Black Wednesday was legal, but that didn't make it right."

An astute observation. The point is- the Committee could have done a much better job, and cast a giant shadow on their very raison d'etre. If no one stood up and said "hey, we should probably at least add one or two of these highly qualified people to the vote"... if NO one stood up and did that, then how are they going to make the really tough calls, and make them apolitically, when and if one day they are called to do so?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I haven't talked to Amy on this subject, but my assumption has been that she would likely want a "do-over" more in the sense of rethinking the Ethics Policy in its entirety, not just re-doing these appointments?

Personally, I'd kinda like to see the Committee "disbanded and reformulated," myself, but how to honor the terms to which its current members have been duly appointed is something any reformulation must take into consideration.

I was already aware--prior to watching these two videos--that Commission may not shrink or terminate the term of any officeholder, including any committee member.

So I guess this means reformulating the Committee in a manner that phases in its changes--or at least its any new members and the way in which they're appointed--over time?

I do agree with you that the way Commission goes about adopting any changes in the Policy is important.

I know Amy pretty well, though, and l feel sure that she is also recognizing this, too.

I tend to think that this is the best slate of Commissioners we've had in years and years, so I'm optimistic that all of them will find their footing over the next few weeks.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

(Holden, my post directly above was addressed to you. Steve, I'm just now catching up on your several posts. Back in a minute...)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

We should dispose of this tangential item first

Steve, WRT your post here:

If I'm understanding correctly, we're talking about Commission sub-committees that are composed entirely of members of the Commission itself, such as Beer Board, right?

If so, then we're not talking about a slate of outside applicants for consideration- these MUST be Commissioners and can ONLY be Commissioners.

Or am I missing something?

Yes, Holden's comment (at 12:20 p.m. today) to the effect that Amy had nominated herself to serve on this Committee on Committees wasn't what actually happened, it turns out, nor does much of any parallel exist between the composition of its members (all Commissioners) and the composition of the Ethics Committee's members (varied), nor were any 22 applicants standing in the wings there, waiting to be considered for an appointment.

Not sure any consideration of things to have happened in that meeting are even apropos to the conversation, then...

reform4's picture

In that case

My hovercraft is STILL full of eels.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Steve, from your post at 5:07 p.m.:

The discussion that followed was much more about how the Committee itself needed to be restructured, and this was an opportunity to do so. That's certainly where Richard was coming from- he indicated he thought for some time that the Committee needed to be more citizens, and he thought the Commission member wasn't a good idea.

Having spoken to Richard by phone last week AND having now viewed this video, I agree with you that Richard's objection in the work session appears to have been an objection to any move that might have shrunk or terminated the term of any newly appointed member. He did NOT appear to me to be objecting to any rethinking of the Ethics Policy per se.

In fact, I perceive, as I take it you do, that Richard is quite pleased to rethink the Policy--and that his concern is only that any changes Commission adopts will honor the vote of the Ethics Committee taken last week.

He has some angst as to the appointment procedure now outlined in the Policy, but he also appreciates his duty to uphold that policy until such time as it can be amended.

Fair enough in my book.

reform4's picture

Oct 22 Meeting Update

Contrary to the paranoid rantings of posters here and on Knoxnews, Commission did not abolish or fire the current members of the Ethics Committee.

A written apology is sufficient, thanks.

As predicted by myself and Tamara, they simply formed a committee to look at reforming some of the membership rules, which will take months to come to fruition (but slow and steady wins the race).

In other business, Commission appointed Ken Gross to the vacated seat. Ken was one of the highly qualified candidates with considerable experience in the regulatory environment (OSHA and waste management). He was also one of the people who put their name forward after Black Wednesday as a replacement candidate.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Very good, then.

Commissioners were all in agreement to this approach, I hope?

Also, did commissioners name some or all of the currently seated Ethics Committee members to this panel? Their insights would be really valuable too, I expect?

I think I read somewhere that Elaine said she's receptive to the idea of having a larger panel and/or shorter terms so that more of the many qualified applicants can serve, didn't I?

reform4's picture

Not named yet.

I believe there was no resolution, or just a decision to form the panel at next month's meeting. There seemed to be consensus all around, just as there was at last month's meeting (or at least certainly no objections voiced).

DanteMalebranche's picture

"Grub first, then ethics."...Brecht

Steve, good job.By the way, Amy did say she wanted to abolish the EC and start over.We already have an Ethics Review Panel.
Let that body meet with the Ethics Committee and start an open and robust review.That would be the best way to proceed.You and Diane deserve credit from all the citizens who care.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Dante, is this "Ethics Review Panel" you mention the same panel that Commission convened today, or are you referring to some other panel already in existence (because if the latter, I'm not familiar with it)?

DanteMalebranche's picture

Ethics Reform

Tamara, the panel is actually an Ethics T.. Force requested by resolution from Dr Briggs in 2010.It was approved in late 2010 and was organized in 2011.The group met in April 2011, I believe .As I recall, Mrs Smith and Mr Thompson from the ethics committee were included as members.These citizens have institutional memory and experience in these matters.Mrs Smith is an ethicist and is uniquely qualified to help in a meaningful way. I hope commission will utilize and reinvigorate this panel as part the process.We may need new leadership since it has been inactive for some time. I nominate Mrs Smith for reasons named above.Steve, Diane, and Tamara...we need your help and leadership as well. I hope you will be a part of this robust community based action.Hopefully, we can model a better
process as we are about the business of reform.

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