Jul 2 2011
10:34 am

EXAMPLES abound in Knox County Government. If you do not get the KNS, here are a few juicy items:

Thanks to the tenacious work by our TBI, this week a GRAND JURY is hearing secret testimony (yeah, secret!) from 2 former employees of the Knox County Trustee's office regarding possible theft, graft, and/or fraud committed by former Trustee Mike Lowe ($22,000 vacation) and John Haun's over-paying himself by $182,000 among several other of records while in office...prior to 2007...Questions abound including: Why SECRET testimony? Why now?

And the KNS is the sweet little story, verified by KNS photographer, of several County officials GOLFING on our tax dollars at Three Ridges Golf Club...oh, yeah...And if this location sounds familiar, it is one of the County-owned properties that Burchett claims he might 'sell' to pay for a new Carter school...oh, and this is also the same entity that he 'donated' $1.5 million IN GRANT MONEY TO in his Budgett...of our tax money, while cutting jobs, education programs and services for the elderly. And those golfers had more excuses than "Carter has liver pills" why they just HAD to play golf on our money! The bottom line...they falsified their time cards or records to reflect they were SICK or had Doctor appointments, etc.

Yep, just like one of the alleged Trustee people being investigated said through his lawyer: "He is going to start paying all the money back...". Of course he will but would he have said that had he NOT been caught???

Bbeanster's picture

Sorry, but the golfing story

Sorry, but the golfing story just isn't one. Bataille and Moran are salaried, not hourly employees and unless you've followed them around all week, you cannot possibly know how much time they put in, or what they are expected to do. You don't know who worked late into the night or on Saturday.
I covered count government for years, and I know Doug Bataille to be one of the most competent employees there. He's worked for Republicans and for Tommy Schumpert, who, last time I looked, was a Democrat. And Schumpert, btw, was FAMOUS for putting in time on the golfcourse during the workweek. Nobody ever accused him of shirking his duty.
These over-the-top gotcha partisan diatribes don't enhance anybody's credibility.

Mary the prez's picture

Well, why did they RUSH to change their 'records'?

And why did they make up excuses, why did Rice rush to defend them...why did they talk about DR appointments, etc? None of them mentioned they worked at night or on Saturday.

I am not looking for 'credibility'. The story was in today's paper and indicated that this is an ongoing abuse of a person's ethical behavior in a public governmental position.

I am sure if I, or you, had been caught playing golf and then CHANGING our time card or 'employment record', we would have been fired on the spot.

And if Schumpert allowed this person to play golf on our dime, and he did the same, then this is apparently accepted practice, even if Shumpert is/was a Democrat.

Tess's picture

No story

I agree. There is no story here. The article said that the men worked 50 plus hours and charged their time sheet for 40.

Bbeanster's picture

I'd be willing to be that DB

I'd be willing to be that DB put in mega-overtime hours during the recent rash of storms/

Mary the prez's picture

Well, let's have them prove they worked night and day.

Now that these golfers have been caught altering their time records once, then maybe we should ask Dean Rice to keep an accurate count of their time spent at work vs. elsewhere.

If Tim Burchett feels he has to fire competent, hard-working folks who WERE doing a great job,having excellent work records, then we deserve to know how many ARE NOT. (Jobs lost: 5 direct County employees, 14 teachers, school secretaries and janitors, so the School system could 'help' him balance the budget,etc)

Playing golf on County/company time is not doing a great job, storms or not.

adanovi's picture

Stop it, Mary. Your tirade is

Stop it, Mary. Your tirade is all because you are angry Tim Burchett is the mayor.

bizgrrl's picture

Why did the kns have the

Why did the kns have the story front page, above the fold?

adanovi's picture

Because they didn't have anything else??????

Maybe it was a slow news day, who knows. I've read the article. This is a nothing story as written by KNS. But, Ms. Wilson sees it as her opportunity to use it for her own tirade, again.

Mary the prez's picture

Thanks, metulj!

And answering my critics here is, well, just plain fun.
First, I bring the County Mayor into this article because the 'golf story' is just more evidence of his total lack of leadership, and his inability to manage his office with any sense of accountability. And no, I am not bitter.

And to Danovi, since you were one of the 'locals' who gave Burchett's opponent so much help and advice, (uh huh) you have NO right to tell me or anyone else what to say or how to say it.

And my real 'diatribe' was my article here, describing in detail the Burchett's punishing, draconian budget (I called it a travesty)...not to mention the way he celebrated its 'approval vote'...arrogant, junevile, sarcastic, rude, and outwardly insulting to all those who were hurt by it.

And I have every right to challenge his inept, lack of real governance. He spends only 20% of his work day working; the rest of the time he is in his office. He sends others to do the real work. And he has hurt people I care all those he fired, seniors who now have NO access to ride KAT buses free, Carter school children and their parents who will NEVER see a new school with his continual efforts, obviously aimed at benefiting developers and construction companies, NOT that community. With the NIMBYs, he destroyed the Plan helping the homeless get into secure places to live. The County Employees Pension plan is still in doubt. And when some of us questioned the $6.3 million PBA budget, one of its "internal auditors" sent threats, via County e-mail, to Amy Broyles! Amy and Sam McKenzie were the only Commissioners who DARED question ANY item he cut or destroyed.

So, people in this county deserve much more...people who were told during the campaign that he had sooo much 'political experience'. Well, he did, working with the likes of his good pal, Stacey Campfield. Now the voters are now paying for what they got.

adanovi's picture

Screaming about Tim Burchett

Screaming about Tim Burchett doesn't create a better stronger candidate to run against him next time and it doesn't make him a weaker candidate next time. Hating me doesn't change my record of volunteering for and donating to Ezra Maize during the campaign, even in the face of the most ridiculously lopsided races I have ever seen.

Mary the prez's picture

Have you moved back here, Angela?

First, I am not screaming.

And I would not waste my time 'hating you or anyone else. And if you had bothered to evaluate the reasons for that lopsided race, you would definitely know and understand why people rushed to vote for Timmy. And I can prove every one of these 'reasons'...not that you would want to hear them.

If you have moved back to Knoxville, please do not try to "help" any of our Democratic candidates...your temper fits at meetings are just old and not appreciated. And we have a great new College Dems president as well, but I assume you have moved on to the 'young professional' category by now.

This blog is basically used by liberals and moderates who use its media access to inform and educate like-minded folks about issues that NEVER make it to print or TV, certainly NOT radio. And when I write something, I back it up with facts, not assumptions or half-truths. People who write on this venue who still support Tim Burchett can appreciate my liberal 'spin' or not. But I have never been told here, or on the KNS site to express my positions and/or opinion. And it is such a HOOT that you think YOU can shut me up!
Sorry to the rest of y'all. I promise I will not respond to any more of this juvenile game playing...a waste of time and space.

adanovi's picture


I don't recall you being involved in Knoxville/Knox County politics before 2010!

Bbeanster's picture

Leaving policy and philosophy

Leaving policy and philosophy out of this, I can only speak for what I've seen in two decades of watching the nuts and bolts of local and (to a lesser extent) state government:
Power corrupts.
Dems controlled Tennessee since Reconstruction and became very corrupt.
Republicans have controlled Knox and other East Tennessee counties for many years and are, with some individual exceptions, very corrupt.
The election commission, when I started covering it, was the Democrats' fiefdom. It was a mess and Republicans were justifiably suspicious of its workings. Mackay was, as they say, the exception that proves the rule and ran the best office I ever saw. The Republicans, with the exception of now-former commission Paul Crilley are moving toward replicating the pre-Mackay state of affairs unless Cliff Rogers, about whom I've not heard a bad thing, is strong enough to resist partisan pressure.
As George Wallace used to say, there's not a dime's worth of difference between Rs and Ds when it comes down to wielding power.
(Again, I'm not talking Liberal/Conservative here, just basic human nature).

Mary the prez's picture

yes, B., you are correct about Greg McKay, BUT

you forgot to include in the picture of the current GOP Election Commission the fact that 'selected' the self-confessed FELON, McNutt to join them on the Commission. And since his crime was voting many times in the wrong precinct, how can he rule on any voting violations...considering as how he admitted to the crime himself?

Yet another little confirmation that some laws just do not fit the politics of some GOP politicians.

lovable liberal's picture

Grand jury testimony is

Grand jury testimony is always secret, so that's not part of the scandal.

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