Wed
Feb 1 2006
07:29 am

This time he apparently added some showers and toilets to the KFD training facility without asking the mayor, which according to WBIR "raises bigger questions about how Knoxville's new fire chief spends taxpayer dollars."

WBIR appears to have the exclusive on this shocking revelation. All the other local media were asleep at the switch and got scooped. Maybe their Batphones are broken.

In related news, WBIR's crack team of hard-hitting investigative reporters is looking in to allegations that Chief Perez bought a box of Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils without the Mayor's permission. Film at 11...

Barry's picture

What the story doesn't

What the story doesn't elaborate on is what discretionary spending power does the fire chief have, exactly? What's the written limit? Surely somewhere it's specified a city employee of such-and-such level has X amount of dollars they can spend out of the budget for whatever (Ticonderoga #2 pencils, for example).

Is the Fire Chief specifically required to contact the mayor's office for approval to spend money in these matters? Is that fact written down somewhere, or is it just "known"? On into the article, KFD spokesman Charlie Barker says, "We didn't get our request across to the Mayor's office in the manner it should have." Does that mean they were notified, just not in a proscribed manner that fits regular protocol (i.e. red tape) or they just weren't told at all?

Also, did he just write a check for the $100,000 from the KFD account? Where did the cash come from to pay for the trailer etc. up front?

What percentage is $100,000 out of the entire budget? Is it a significant amount, or a drop in the bucket?

There are a lot of unanswered questions that are raised by the story. Obviously there's not time in a TV news spot to cover everything, but still because of these ambiguities in the story, you don't know who was in the wrong, who screwed up, who miscommunicated and whether there's really a hatchet job going on or not.

R. Neal's picture

Those are all excellent

Those are all excellent questions that I was wondering about, too. Especially the size of the overall KFD budget for which the Chief as head of the department is responsible. That one simple fact would have at least provided some context. Which is probably why it wasn't mentioned.

R. Neal's picture

Ah, no reason to speculate

Ah, no reason to speculate about the KFD budget. The answer is right here:

http://cityofknoxville.org/budget/2005/total_exp_by_dept.pdf

That took about one minute. The answer is $27,713,660. So the $125,000 is approx. 0.4% of the Chief's budget.

Anonymous's picture

What Channel 10 didn't

What Channel 10 didn't mention: the training facility has only one bathroom for the trainees to use, and does not comply with OSHA requirements, therefore the need for the outbuilding.

redmondkr's picture

The Time Factor

You mentioned the time factor in TV news reporting.  By the time all the car and drug commercials  and, in the case of the noon news show, the arts and crafts segments, are run, there are only about ten minutes left in the half-hour to serve up a good, hard-hitting news story.  Keep in mind, too, that the viewing public is not really the customer of TV news.  The scrap of "news" is but a hook to get you to sit through the real customers' ads.  Thank God for the greatest invention of the twentieth century - the mute button.

nill illigitimi carborundum

Anonymous's picture

SKB,I'm glad you're back.

SKB,

I'm glad you're back. Keep up the good work.

Thanks.

Stan

Justin's picture

Nevermind the fact how much

Nevermind the fact how much money he spent...the Chief had to buy a shower "trailer". Didnt the KPD get a new training facility with all of the bells and whistles? Does anyone else find it rather embarrassing that our fire fighters have to shower in a trailer vs. a facility with more than 1 toilet and no showers? Haslam and his administration of GOB's are pathetic.

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