Park Place Motors Ad

Park Place Motors Ad
Click Photo to visit PARK PLACE MOTORS webpage

VORP PSA

VORP PSA
Click Photo to visit the VORP Store on Facebook

Friday, September 30, 2016

Councilman Pete Souza files 13 count ethics complaint against Jesse Kerley, Steve Hill and Jerry Kerley

Councilman Pete Souza has filed an ethics complaint with the city that includes some 13 incidents he thinks need to be investigated that include accusations against councilman Jesse Kerley, interim city manager Steve Hill and one count names Kerley's father, city water resources director Jerry Kerley.

Crossville city councilman Pete Souza, author of ethics complaints

Councilman Jesse Kerley, the target of the majority of Souza's complaints 

Interim city manager Steve Hill, also a target of Souza's complaints

Crossville city attorney Will Ridley who acts as the city's ethics officer

The ethics complaint was presented to city attorney Will Ridley on Friday September 16. Ridley is the ethics officer for the city and has reviewed the complaint for it to move to the next steps. Ridley released the document to city clerk Sally Oglesby on Friday September 30 with a cover letter to Mayor James Mayberry.

Ridley's letter states that because he represents the council as a whole that he feels he has a conflict of interest that will not allow him to investigate the complaints or make any recommendation to the council as to the complaint's validity or merit.  Ridley suggests that the council hold a special called meeting because of the large number of complaints.  He adds that the ordinance does not provide a certain timeline in which complaints must be considered.

Two of the complaints (number 1 and number 9 below) relate to the pending criminal assault accusations between councilman Souza and Kerley that will be back in General Sessions Court on October 6.  Ridley says that those complaints not be considered until such time as the pending criminal matter is complete resolved.  After that the items could be considered.

The complaint that concerns city employee Jerry Kerley should be considered by the personnel board and not the council.  Ridley also provided a copy of a Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) opinion on procedures for the council to follow when considering an ethics complaint.  The MTAS opinion is dated September 21, 2016

 The complaint outlines some 13 events over the 10 page document. Those events range from the alleged assault by Jesse and Jerry Kerley against Mr. Souza, interim city manager Steve Hill interfering with the police investigation of the incident, and Hill's alleged misuse of city property before he retired from the parks department.

Additional items allege official oppression and abuse of office by Mr. Kerley including requesting certain people be arrested, releasing false information concerning an investigation into actions by former police chief Rod Shoap, and harassing citizens and city city employees.

The council/ethics committee is charged with determining if the complaints have merit, do not have merit, or require investigation. If investigation is needed and approved a lawyer from outside a 100 mile radius is chosen to investigate.

Councilman Kerley said earlier this week that he had not seen the complaint document but he still described the charges as "more lies."

The 13 items listed are described by Mr. Souza as events and a brief description of each one follows:
  1. Conduct of Mr. Jerry Kerley, director of the water resources department for his action to participate in an act of violence with his son, councilman Jesse Kerley on June 2, 2016 in violation of the city personnel ordinance.
  2. Interim city manager using his office to allow his friend and sponsor Jesse Kerley to interfere with a police investigation and to harass then police chief Rod Shoap.
  3. Mr. Hill's use of municipal supplies for private use while head of the parks and recreation department.
  4. Mr. Hill's unauthorized granting of himself and “a privileged employee” time off to play golf in violation of the personnel policy.
  5. Mr. Hill, upon assuming duties as interim city manager acquired a utility vehicle that he utilized for his personal use.
  6. That on June 3, 2016, Mr. Kerley and Mr. Hill, using their office approached the justice center to make sure no charges on councilman Kerley were passed through the magistrates office, described as an act of official oppression.
  7. On July 3, Councilman Kerley and Mr. Hill released stories to the media concerning an investigation into police chief Rod Shoap that were not true. This is alleged to have been an act of official oppression.
  8. Councilman Kerley, under color of office ordered police chief Shoap to arrest persons for the purpose of causing them harm.
  9. Councilman Kerley stalked and assaulted councilman Souza on June 2, 2016 on city property following a council work session.
  10. Councilman Kerley, under color of his office, actively interfered with a police investigation into the assault of councilman Souza.
  11. Councilman Kerley and Mr. Hill used their offices to place false information with the press concerning an investigation for allegedly mistreating a supposedly gay city employee, claimed Shoap had an affair in Lee County Florida, and he had committed a felony for not filing a police report. Mr. Hill later stated to a reporter there was no investigation
  12. Councilman Kerley used his office to pursue efforts to harass and cause harm to citizens of Cumberland County including former director of schools Donald Andrews and Randy Blankenship.
  13. Councilman Kerley began harassing former city manager David Rutherford starting in January of 2016. In addition, Mr. Souza says that Kerley accused him of meeting with chief Shoap to have people arrested. Souza said he was only passing on information he received from citizens that resulted in drug houses being shut down and ways to help the department.
Souza's cover letter with the complaints ends by saying, “The decision to pursue this rests with the council., What is clearly evident is the acts listed in this complaint could not have transpired if open government existed on all levels. Now this council has the opportunity to bring in an unbiased investigator or shut this down and cover this up.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

State Comptrollers office and MTAS agree removal of items by Hill from personnel file wrong

The State of Tennessee Comptroller's office open records counsel has weighed in on the actions of interim city manager Steve Hill concerning the removal of items from his own city of Crossville personnel file.

Interim city manager Steve Hill

After the incident that reportedly occurred on August 30 when manager Hill ordered city HR administrator Leah Crockett to remove several disciplinary items from his file that were placed there during his time as director of parks and recreation and give them to him. The Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) was contacted about several aspects of the action as the files are considered public records.

MTAS consultant Elisha Hodge who previously served as the state's open records counsel wrote to the city records custodian, city clerk Sally Oglesby, “I do not advise that any disciplinary record be removed from a personnel file or destroyed until such time as the records retention schedule calls for the destruction of the record. I agree, there might be some additional documentation that needs to be attached to the discipline once it expires or if it is rescinded, but I do not think that the original discipline needs to be removed or destroyed until the retention period runs,” she concluded.

The current comptrollers office open records counsel Ann Butterworth wrote to Oglesby in an email saying, “I reviewed the advice given by MTAS regarding the oral reprimands in an employee file. It appears to be that the city policy only directs where the record is to be stored and not when it is to be destroyed. I am assuming the reference is to a written or recorded record of an oral reprimand. Since the city has not adopted separate retention schedules the city needs to comply with MTAS recommended schedules.”

The MTAS schedule K-35 indicates that personnel files should be retained for 7 years post termination.


Based on earlier information, city attorney Will Ridley previously advised Mr. Hill to return the removed documents to his personnel file. When checked last week, the documents had not yet been returned to the file.

It is unclear what, if any repercussions may come from Hill's actions.

Previous articles:
MTAS recommends changes to personnel file oversight and document retention in light of recent events

Items removed by order of interim city manager Steve Hill from his own personnel file called into question

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rod Shoap and 23 other candidates seeking Crossville city manager position

Six new applicants have submitted resumes for the Crossville city manager position including one name most local residents will recognize.

Former interim Crossville police chief Rod Shoap has submitted his resume seeking the position of city manager, a position expected to be filled around the time 2 newly elected council members take office on December 5.

5 additional applications have been received and according to Crossville HR coordinator Leah Crockett, one previous candidate has requested his name be removed from consideration.

The new candidates include:

Rod Shoap of Crossville TN has a Masters in Public Administration and is a graduate of the FBI Academy.  He served as interim Crossville police chief until July 2016.  Previously Mr. Shoap served as Maury County magistrate, director of planning for the Williamson County sheriff's department and sheriff of Lee County Florida after many years working for that department.  

Rod Shoap

David R. Burkett of Apple Valley CA currently serves as the project construction manager of Hesperia CA, a position he's held since 2005.  Previously he served as a project engineer for Yucca Valley CA and he has a BS in Business and Public Administration from University of Phoenix.

Holly Lockhart of Holly Springs NC currently works as an inside sales representative for Boon Adams where she has worked since 2014.  She has experience in sales, consulting and insurance. She holds a Masters in Public Administration and her cover letter says she would consider negotiating a lower salary because she does not have the years experience requested.  

Jennifer James-Mesloh of Marquette MI holds a PhD in public affairs and a Masters in Public Administration.  Since 2013 she has served as assistant professor and program coordinator of the MPA program at Northern Michigan University.  In addition, she has worked for Advanced Research, Inc, a consulting business since 2003 as a consultant to public and non-profit agencies.

 Michael P. Putt, Sr. of Memphis seeks the city manager position.  He has worked for the Memphis fire department since 1984 having retired earlier this year as director of fire services, a position he held since 2014.  He served as deputy director of fire services from 2008 to 2014.

Harry Slaven of Richland WA most recently worked as the finance director of Bandon OR and before that as city administrator/planner of Hoona AK.  He worked in municipal management since 1989 at various levels.  He served 6 years on the board of the Richland WA housing authority.  He holds a Masters of Public Administration.

Previous applicant Jordan Shaw of Franklin TN requested that his name be removed from consideration for the position.  

The other remaining candidates are:

Wayne R. Bodie of Orlando Florida currently serves as a captain in the Orange Co. fire and rescue department. He has worked for the department since 2005. Bodie holds an MBA and also works as a fire instructor. He has previous experience in financial services.

Robert G. Bray, Jr. of Pinellas Park Florida is seeking the position after retiring as the Community Planning Director for Pinellas Park Florida between 1995 and 2016.  Prior to that Bray had additional planning experience from 1985-95.  He also has a Masters of Public Adminsitration.  

Carl Brown of Tampa Florida is currently the senior financial analyst for the City of Tampa Florida and has held that position since June 2015. He oversees the fire department and police department budgets. From July 2014 to June 2015 he was a budget and management analyst for the Department of Homeland Security at Santa Fe New Mexico. Mr. Brown has a Masters of Public Administration in city management, economic development and urban planning from East Tennessee State University. He was an actor in Los Angles for 11 years.

Mike Chesney of Knoxville holds an MBA and is currently the administrator of the First Baptist Church of Morristown. The church has 70 employees and $3.1 million budget. From 2013 to 2015, Chesney served as the interim city manager of Millington Tennessee. Prior experience included many years of telecommunications and cable management.

Cary Colaianni of Eagle Idaho holds a masters in public administration as well as a Doctor of Jurisprudence (Law degree). Mr. Colaianni has 20 years of experience in municipal government including from 2004 to 2014 as the city attorney and law department director for Bosie Idaho. The department had 51 employees. From 1991 to 2004, he served as the Ada County prosecuting attorney in Bosie Idaho.

Steve Foote of Dunwoody Georgia serves that community as the Director of Economic and Community Development. He has served in that capacity as the employee of a contractor starting in 2014 and now as a direct employee of the city. Previously Foote served as director of planning for Mt. Juliet Tennessee from 2009 to 2014. Foote's education includes a BS in Geography and Biology and graduate work toward an Masters in Geography.

Jason Hall of Lyons Georgia where he has served as the current city manager since april of 2013. His previous experience includes serving as city administrator of Varnell Georgia between 2011 and 2013 and a codes enforcement officer for Ringgold Georgia from 2004 to 2011. Hall has an associates degree in education and additional course work in business management

The only local applicant so far is Frank Horvath whose resume lists his current position as business and project manager of Crossville Smiles since January 2013. Mr. Horvath holds an MBA from University of Indianapolis and previously worked as project manager for SciSaves, LLC

Lane Hayden Jones of Bonham Texas served as the deputy chief of staff-CEO of business operations for the Marine Corps community services for Camp Pendleton California. He currently works as a business analyst for the firm of Mason, Norris & Associates.

Daron E. Jordan of Madisonville Kentucky serves as that city's community development director, a position he has held since 2005. He holds a masters degree in organizational management, is a certified economic developer and also operates a consulting firm that specializes in grant writing and administration.

Catrina Maxwell of Milwaukee Wisconsin currently serves as the deputy clerk of the court for Milwaukee county. Ms. Maxwell holds a Master's degree in public service with a specialization in criminal justice administration.

Louis A. Ogaard of West Valley City Utah holds a PhD in Botany and has 20 years experience with the state of North Dokota where he manage and environmental restoration program. His latest position was providing environmental support at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

Adam R. Rabe of Marengo Iowa. Mr. Rabe has served as director of the Iowa Co. Iowa EMS since 2008. Part of his tenure was as a hospital employee then the EMS service became part of the county operation. In addition, Rabe served 8 years on the Marengo city council, currently serves on the local 911 board and holds a BS in public administration.

Sammy J. Ragsdale of Dodge City, Kansas is the assistant county administrator of Ford County Kansas and from September 2015 to March 2016 he was the chief financial officer of the High Country Council of Governments at Boone County North Carolina. Previous positions incude a city management consultant in Burlington Colorado, City manager of Clifton Texas and a US Navy veteran. He has a BS degree and graduate work towards an MBA.

Christian Saxe currently holds the position of assistant public works director at Spring Hill Tennessee, a position he's held since October of 2015. From 2008 to 2015 Saxe was deputy director of public works for the city of Orange California. He holds a bachelors degree in public administration.

Dennis Sparks of Hopewell Virginia has experience as various city/village managers from 1999 to 2005 in several different states. Sparks is currently a management and aviation consultant as well as a pilot and flight instruction. Sparks has an MBA.

Tina Tuggle of Kingston Tennessee is currently a municipal finance trainer and previously served as the city manager of Oliver Springs Tennessee from June 2012 to November 2014. She also served as Oliver Springs' city recorder from 2010 to 2012. She holds an associate degree in legal science. 

Greg Wood of Baker Florida has a masters of public administration from the University of Florida. From 2013 to 2016 Mr. Wood has served as the county administrator of Harris County Georgia. From 2010 to 2012 he served as the county manager for Jasper County Georgia and from 2007 to 2009 as the county administrator of Holmes Co. Florida and similar experience back to 1984.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Emergency Room at CMC holds open house Friday afternoon 4-6 PM

The construction is complete, the landscaping has been installed and the new face of the Cumberland Medical Center Emergency Room will be ready to show off this week.

The public is invited to visit the new $6.3 million expansion that has added 17,000 square feet of new space.  The ER expansion includes 25 private exam rooms, designated trauma and cardiac rooms.  The new facility can treat up to 44,000 patients a year.

The afternoon will includes guided tours and refreshments.

The new ER is set to open on Saturday October 1.
Early in the construction work, April 2016

Mid September 2016

Downtown Crossville dressed for fall.

It was a bright fall morning today and a great time to get a few pictures of Main St, in Crossville dressed up for the season.  Downtown Crossville, Inc puts up the light pole decorations and several businesses have their own decorations too.  Enjoy!
All rights reserved, Photos (C) 2016 by Jim Young

Crossville Depot donor walk where the rails used to run

Entrance to the Depot shop run by C.A.T.S.

Fall decorations on Main Street courtesy of DCI.

Some businesses have their own fall decorations. 

It was a gorgeous morning for coffee on the sidewalk too. 

Military Museum, center, flanked by the Chamber of Commerce
 and the Milo Lemmert Courthouse annex (old Post Office)

The Military Memorial Park has been a part of Downtown Crossville for years.  
Recently the Post-9-11 memorial was added. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

EDITORIAL--Thoughts on Charles Osgood leaving Sunday Morning and his excellent poem on a "pretty good" education...

Editorial comment:

I will miss Charles Osgood on Sunday Morning.  #CelebrateCharlie

In celebration of his talent, here is a piece I have often shared and firmly believe is a warning we have failed to heed.  I posted it not long after it was written on a bulletin board in the local school superintendents office and heard several comments about how good it was.  Then after a short time it disappeared from the board with no explanation. 

Currently we are talking at the local level about the need to "develop our workforce," in order to attract new industry and jobs.  This is a conversation that has its roots in education. Tennessee's "Drive to 55" is an effort to increase the education level of our population above just high school, again as a way to attract jobs.  

The poem is 30 years old. 


Pretty Good
by Charles Osgood (1933-)
from the Osgood File, 1986

There once was a pretty good student
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher
Who always let pretty good pass.

He wasn’t terrific at reading,
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.

He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
Since nobody taught him to spell.

When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
5+5 needn’t always add up to be 10;
A pretty good answer was 9.

The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception:
On the contrary, he was the rule.

The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.

The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.

It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.

The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
And prayed for a pretty good fate.

There once was a pretty good nation
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Currently 19 applicants have expressed interest in the position of Crossville City Manager

A total of 19 candidates have submitted letters and resumes seeking the position of city manager of Crossville.  The original deadline of September 30 has been extended until October 17.  At that point the information will be forwarded to the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to be reviewed and ranked for the council members.  City council can then determine which candidates they would like to meet and interview.

Newly added candidates are:

Carl Brown of Tampa Florida is currently the senior financial analyst for the City of Tampa Florida and has held that position since June 2015. He oversees the fire department and police department budgets. From July 2014 to June 2015 he was a budget and management analyst for the Department of Homeland Security at Santa Fe New Mexico. Mr. Brown has a Masters of Public Administration in city management, economic development and urban planning from East Tennessee State University. He was an actor in Los Angles for 11 years.

Mike Chesney of Knoxville holds an MBA and is currently the administrator of the First Baptist Church of Morristown. The church has 70 employees and $3.1 million budget. From 2013 to 2015, Chesney served as the interim city manager of Millington Tennessee. Prior experience included many years of telecommunications and cable management.

Cary Colaianni of Eagle Idaho holds a masters in public administration as well as a Doctor of Jurisprudence (Law degree). Mr. Colaianni has 20 years of experience in municipal government including from 2004 to 2014 as the city attorney and law department director for Bosie Idaho. The department had 51 employees. From 1991 to 2004, he served as the Ada County prosecuting attorney in Bosie Idaho.


Lane Hayden Jones of Bonham Texas served as the deputy chief of staff-CEO of business operations for the Marine Corps community services for Camp Pendleton California. He currently works as a business analyst for the firm of Mason, Norris & Associates.

Sammy J. Ragsdale of Dodge City, Kansas is the assistant county administrator of Ford County Kansas and from September 2015 to March 2016 he was the chief financial officer of the High Country Council of Governments at Boone County North Carolina. Previous positions incude a city management consultant in Burlington Colorado, City manager of Clifton Texas and a US Navy veteran. He has a BS degree and graduate work towards an MBA.

Dennis Sparks of Hopewell Virginia has experience as various city/village managers from 1999 to 2005 in several different states. Sparks is currently a management and aviation consultant as well as a pilot and flight instruction. Sparks has an MBA.


Greg Wood of Baker Florida has a masters of public administration from the University of Florida. From 2013 to 2016 Mr. Wood has served as the county administrator of Harris County Georgia. From 2010 to 2012 he served as the county manager for Jasper County Georgia and from 2007 to 2009 as the county administrator of Holmes Co. Florida and similar experience back to 1984.

Previous 12 applicants are below: 

Wayne R. Bodie of Orlando Florida currently serves as a captain in the Orange Co. fire and rescue department. He has worked for the department since 2005. Bodie holds an MBA and also works as a fire instructor. He has previous experience in financial services.

Robert G. Bray, Jr. of Pinellas Park Florida is seeking the position after retiring as the Community Planning Director for Pinellas Park Florida between 1995 and 2016.  Prior to that Bray had additional planning experience from 1985-95.  He also has a Masters of Public Adminsitration.  

Steve Foote of Dunwoody Georgia serves that community as the Director of Economic and Community Development. He has served in that capacity as the employee of a contractor starting in 2014 and now as a direct employee of the city. Previously Foote served as director of planning for Mt. Juliet Tennessee from 2009 to 2014. Foote's education includes a BS in Geography and Biology and graduate work toward an Masters in Geography.

Jason Hall of Lyons Georgia where he has served as the current city manager since april of 2013. His previous experience includes serving as city administrator of Varnell Georgia between 2011 and 2013 and a codes enforcement officer for Ringgold Georgia from 2004 to 2011. Hall has an associates degree in education and additional course work in business management

The only local applicant so far is Frank Horvath whose resume lists his current position as business and project manager of Crossville Smiles since January 2013. Mr. Horvath holds an MBA from University of Indianapolis and previously worked as project manager for SciSaves, LLC

Daron E. Jordan of Madisonville Kentucky serves as that city's community development director, a position he has held since 2005. He holds a masters degree in organizational management, is a certified economic developer and also operates a consulting firm that specializes in grant writing and administration.

Catrina Maxwell of Milwaukee Wisconsin currently serves as the deputy clerk of the court for Milwaukee county. Ms. Maxwell holds a Master's degree in public service with a specialization in criminal justice administration.

Louis A. Ogaard of West Valley City Utah holds a PhD in Botany and has 20 years experience with the state of North Dokota where he manage and environmental restoration program. His latest position was providing environmental support at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

Adam R. Rabe of Marengo Iowa. Mr. Rabe has served as director of the Iowa Co. Iowa EMS since 2008. Part of his tenure was as a hospital employee then the EMS service became part of the county operation. In addition, Rabe served 8 years on the Marengo city council, currently serves on the local 911 board and holds a BS in public administration.

Christian Saxe currently holds the position of assistant public works director at Spring Hill Tennessee, a position he's held since October of 2015. From 2008 to 2015 Saxe was deputy director of public works for the city of Orange California. He holds a bachelors degree in public administration.

W. Jordan Shaw has been the assistant director of information technology for Franklin Tennessee since February 2015. Shaw holds a Doctorate of Business Administration from Argosy University.

Tina Tuggle of Kingston Tennessee is currently a municipal finance trainer and previously served as the city manager of Oliver Springs Tennessee from June 2012 to November 2014. She also served as Oliver Springs' city recorder from 2010 to 2012. She holds an associate degree in legal science. 

Important stories you missed if you depend on other news outlets. Stay informed with Jim Young Reporter!

This week, if you got your news from Jim Young Reporter you would have read these important stories that you didn't get from any other media outlet!

  1. The very first media outlet in Tennessee to report that retired judge John Turnbull's house was attacked by serial arsonist in Livingston, Tennessee.
  2. The only local news media that presented photos of two council member's vehicles parked outside of Beef and Barrel following a council called meeting.
  3. The only local media that reported on the recommendations of the city's consultant after interim city manager Steve Hill removed items from his own personnel file.
  4. Photos of J. H. Graham election signs in the yard of former councilman Wendell Kerley across from city hall.
Are you getting the important news you need to be seeing? The news you want to read is at www.jimyoungreporter.blogspot.com or on Facebook @jimyoungreporter. 


Friday, September 23, 2016

Strange bedfellows? Graham political signs spotted in Kerley's yard across from city hall

Political Signs remain part of Crossville city council interactions
Signs promoting the election of former mayor J. H. Graham have shown up 
in the front yard of property owned by former city councilman Wendell Kerley, 
current councilman Jesse Kerley's grandfather

In the past, councilman Kerley ran for mayor against Mr. Graham, placing what the late councilman Boyd Wyatt considered controversial advertisements that created a problem for the city council when those ads were discussed at a council meeting in October of 2010. (See below)

In 2014, councilman Kerley battled then Mayor Graham over angry words reported between Mr. Graham and his father, director of the city's water resources department, Jerry Kerley.

Now members of the Kerley family appear to support Grahams's election to city council. Jesse Kerley is not seeking reelection to the council.

Discussion from July 8, 2014 council meeting

Below are videos from the October 12, 2010 city council meeting:
Part 1



Part 2



Part 3

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Third Grader Victoria McCloud MES Student of the month for cooperation

Victoria A. McCloud, of Martin Elementary School was nominated for the character trait “cooperation” by her 3rd grade teachers Mrs. Fairman and Mrs. Tollett. “Victoria has grown so much, taking it upon herself to help others instead of being the one asking for help. She volunteers to assist with tasks, but does not overstep her boundaries. Victoria sets a fine example for others to work together in a cooperative manner in the classroom and beyond!”

Crossville Mayor James Mayberry reads the proclamation as 
September student of the month Victoria McCloud listens.  


Crossville city council majority approves three year commitment for golf tournaments sponsorship at total cost of $150,000

A majority of the Crossville city council approved an additional three yeas of sponsorship on the Tennessee Women's and the Tennessee Senior Men's open golf tournaments.

The cost of each tournament sponsorship is $25,000 a year and a total cost over the three years is $150,000.  The item was approved during the council's regular September meeting.  

Crossville city council 


Councilman Pete Souza said he was concerned about the length time of the extension, and committing the city to the funds for a three year period. Souza continued, “If we commit this, that's it, the council persons elect will not have anything to say about this. They can not rescind this. I would think it would be better to wait until after the election and let those new council persons join in and vote this.”

Souza concluded his remarks saying that he would not support the action “because what we do today we impose on the next council for the next three years.”

Councilman Jesse Kerley asked Mayor James Mayberry if there was a motion on the floor as much discussion had already taken place including a lengthy explanation by city marketing director Bill Loggins. Mayberry said no and ask if there was a motion,

Councilman Danny Wyatt moved to approve the commitment and a second came from Mr. Kerley.

Wyatt asked Mr. Loggins what he though the Tennessee Professional Golfers' Association (TPGA) would do if the city waited three months to act on the matter? Would they be looking for a new location? Loggins said, “They would for the women's open.”

Mayor Mayberry remarked that as many years as the city has worked with the TPGA, I don't see why they wouldn't take a tentative approval.”

Mr. Kerley reminded the mayor that he had told a large crowd at the end of the women's open that he would see them next year.

Councilwoman Pamala Harris asked manager Steve Hill if the city had any potential sponsors to help pay for the cost. Hill said they did but not anyone he was ready to announce yet. Harris said that it difficult to determine exactly the benefit to the community from sponsoring these tournaments but she said often when talking to recent residents they say the way they found Crossville was coming here to play golf.

One of the tournaments, the Men's Senior Open coming up in May is already budgeted in the current fiscal year.

After some additional discussion, the motion was not amended and a roll call vote was approved with 3 ayes from Wyatt, Harris and Kerley. Mr. Souza and Mayor Mayberry voted against the motion.

City council's discussion on golf tournament sponsorships. 






Wednesday, September 21, 2016

MTAS recommends changes to personnel file oversight and document retention in light of recent events

The Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) has made some recommendations in connection with the recent action of interim city manager Steve Hill removing records from his personnel file of the time he was director of Parks and Recreation.

After reviewing the city charter and ordinances, MTAS Human Resources Consultant John Grubb said that it is his opinion that under the current situation, the city manager is in charge of personnel records, including his own, and that the city clerk is in charge of public records requests and the production of of handling those requests, including for personnel files.

Human Resources Administrator Leah Crockett sought some additional clarification from Mr. Grubb including what procedure should be used for a city manager to maintain his or her own file and should action memos and reprimands be removed from the file on the timeline in the city's personnel policy and is that policy in line with open records regulations?

Mr. Grubb responded that the city manager is in charge of all personnel files including his/her own. He further states, “The city may choose to adopt an ordinance to change who is in charge for future purposes.”

Mr. Grubb forwarded the remainder of the question to Elisha Hodge. Ms. Hodge was formerly the open records counsel for the Tennessee Comptroller's office and now works for the Institute of Public Service of MTAS.

“I do not advise that any disciplinary record be removed from a personnel file or destroyed until such time as the records retention schedule calls for the destruction of the record,” wrote Ms. Hodge. “I agree, there might be some additional documentation that needs to be attached to the discipline once it expires or if it is rescinded, but I do not think that the original discipline needs to be removed or destroyed until the retention period runs,” she concluded.

The MTAS recommended retention schedule for personnel files is for 7 years after termination and any medical records or (environmental) exposure records for 30 years. Documents in a file that include demotion, transfer, layoff or termination should be retained for at least 5 years. It is also noted that the statue of limitations on personnel actions is 5 years.


City Clerk Sally Oglesby is seeking an opinion from the current comptroller open records counsel on the matter as well.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Crossville council agenda item requesting action by DA pulled by councilman Kerley

The agenda item that had the potential to create the biggest controversy during last week's special called Crossville city council meeting was pulled quickly by proponent, councilman Jesse Kerley.

Councilman Jesse Kerley requested the item seeking action by the DA 
but pulled the item without any discussion.

In addition, one item discussed at some length during the regular council meeting and one of the reasons given for having the special called meeting, the hiring of a city comptroller, was not even on the agenda.

When the final item on the agenda, listed as “Request for action by the district attorney's office,” was called Councilman Jesse Kerley who requested the item to be placed on the agenda said he was pulling that item. He then quickly moved to adjourn the meeting.

The item was reportedly concerning allegations of extortion against councilman Pete Souza over derogatory items that had been in interim city manager Steve Hill's personnel file but have since removed from his file by Mr. Hill.

Interim city manager Steve Hill's term has been controversial

District Attorney Bryant Dunaway confirmed that the issue had been discussed at a meeting with him, Mr. Kerley, Mr. Hill and then police chief Rod Shoap. Dunaway said that the information and complaint that he received on the matter did not come to a level that warranted any charges.

The item concerning the hiring of a city comptroller was pulled from the agenda by councilman Danny Wyatt who said he did not have support for his proposal.

Before the meeting was adjourned Mr. Hill asked the council about the deadline on city manager applications. The recently set deadline was October 15. That date falls on a Saturday and Hill asked the council if they wanted to cut off applications the Friday before or the Monday after. A quick poll put the deadline at Monday October 17.  



Immediately following the council meeting, Mr. Kerley's and Mr. Wyatt's vehicles were spotted together at the Beef and Barrel restaurant.  

Mr. Kerley's vehicle on the left and Mr. Wyatt's pickup truck are parked nose to nose following Friday's noon called council meeting.  If the two councilmen discussed any city business, they were potentially in violation of the Tennessee sunshine law.  


Livingston Arson suspect held on $750,000 bond. A long night for law enforcement and district attorney.

UPDATE: One of the houses involved was a house occupied by former 13th district Circuit court judge John Tunbull and his daughter Amy Hollars, a 13th judicial district circuit court judge.  This would appear to explain the interest in the matter and the involvement of multiple agencies and the District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway who appeared in Livingston court this morning.  

 General Dunaway said two residences were a total loss and one room in Turnbull's house was heavily damaged by incendiary devices thrown through a window.  In addition, according to Dunaway Booher allegedly stole a truck and and burned his own vehicle. 

Currently Booher faces one count of aggravated arson but General Dunaway said there would be definitely more charges to come.  The instigation is still ongoing.  Dunaway added that Booher may not have meant to target the Judges home but a family members instead.  

A Livingston man was in Overton Co. general session court this morning for an initial appearance following his arrest early this morning on Arson charges.

The case of Calvin Booher has been continued to October 20 and an initial bond of $250,000 was raised to $750,000.

Calvin Booher, wearing the yellow jumpsuit made an initial appearance on arson charges 
in Overton Co. General Session Court this morning. 


Three house fires are under investigation and sources say one of the homes belonged to a former judge and two of the three houses involved were occupied at the time of the fires.  The investigation is on going.

Suspect Calvin Booher's Facebook page. 




Monday, September 19, 2016

Crossville city council majority approves $5000 raise for city judge position.

The Crossville city council approved a $5,000 per year raise for the position of city judge that will go into effect when the next city judge is appointed following the election of two new council members.

With the raise, the part time judge position now pays $20,000 per year. Councilman Jesse Kerley proposed the raise saying that it had been discussed several months back and pointing out any raise must be approved before the election.

Crossville city council during their September 16 called meeting

Kerley moved to raise the judge's salary from $15,000 to $20,000. The action will require a budget amendment of $2,500 for the last half of the fiscal year. Councilwoman Pamala Harris supported the motion.

Mayor James Mayberry asked about the number of times court meets per year and interim police chief Mark Rosser said 23 and that court met every other week. According to Rosser, night court is more popular then the day court and that night court runs between 2 and 3 hours while the day court runs an hour of slightly more. Mayberry estimated the cost was around $800 per court session of between an hour to about 3 hours.

Ms. Harris asked about preparation time and chief Rosser said in addition to time before court there was paper work to be done after court.

The council's roll call vote approved the motion with council members members Kerley, Harris and Danny Wyatt in favor. Mayor Mayberry and councilman Pete Souza voted against the raise.

The judge position is currently held by Ivy Gardner who was appointed in January 2015 following the retirement of Judge Tom Bean who held the position for many years.


Video of the discussion of city judge raise action

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Raise approved for interim police chief and timeline for hiring decision recommended. Kerley armed during meeting.

The call for a special meeting that was moved from Monday to Friday was attended by all the council members and several matters were covered including a raise for the interim police chief and a timeline for an expected decision on hiring a regular police chief.

Crossville city council discusses raise for interim police chief Mark Rosser

While reports are that Councilman Jesse Kerley holds a concealed carry permit for a fire arm, there is rarely a time when a council member attends a meeting with their firearm showing as Mr. Kerley did at Friday's meeting. Kerley's pistol was in a belt holster in the small of his back.

Councilman Jesse Kerley (with back to camera) carried 
what appeared to be a pistol during Friday's called meeting

Several people noticed the gun and Crossville mayor James Mayberry said the matter of weapons would be discussed at the next council meeting.

Councilwoman Pamala Harris lead the discussion on a proposed raise for the interim police chief Mark Rosser. Harris said Rosser has been doing a good job and put in a lot of extra hours. According to Harris, Rosser received a small raise when he became the interim chief but she added he was not making as much as the previous interim chief. Harris said she felt Rosser should be compensated a bit more until a decision is made on a permanent chief of police.

Crossville city council discussion on interim chief Mark Rosser

Councilman Kerley asked in Ms. Harris would be willing to make the raise retroactive to when the interim chief took the position. Ms. Harris agreed and Mr. Kerley seconded the motion.

Councilman Pete Souza took the floor saying he wanted to extend his appreciation to chief Rosser for everything he has done since he took the position. Souza continued, “Chief Rosser is going to be called upon to testify about one of the council members.” According to Souza he had received a call suggesting that the raise was being done to gain Rosser's favor, “and I don't believe anybody can buy Chief Rosser's integrity.” Souza said that that testimony may come up in his ethics complaint.

Souza said, “If it was up to me, every officer out there would get a 5 percent pay raise.”

Councilman Kerley commented, “I just wish we could have a meeting where we speak on facts and not conspiracy theories from here on out. That would be real nice mayor because that's what Robert's Rules of Order states that were supposed to do.”

Mayberry said he took Souza comments as a compliment to officer Rosser.

Kerley came back stating, “It was also an accusation and a personal attack.”

Mayberry apologized.

Souza spoke again saying, “This is facts.”

The motion was approved unanimously by the council.

Harris spoke again saying she would like to make a motion to recommend that the city manager make a decision on the hiring of a new chief of police on or before December 31. The motion received a second from councilman Danny Wyatt.

Mr. Souza said that the city manager has authority given to him by the charter. Souza continued, “He doesn't need the city council to tell him when to hire somebody.”

Ms. Harris said her motion was only a recommendation.

The motion was also approved unanimously.   

Friday, September 16, 2016

Items removed by order of interim city manager Steve Hill from his own personnel file called into question

An investigation has been started into allegations that interim city manager Steve Hill had items removed from his own personnel file going back to his time as the director of parks and recreation. City attorney Will Ridley has advised Mr. Hill to return those items to the file.

Interim city manager Steve Hill


On August 30, Mr. Hill reportedly ordered human resources administrator Leah Crockett to remove the documents. He advised Crockett that the documents should be removed based on the city personnel policy that states written records of verbal reprimands should be removed after 1 year. Written reprimands under the policy stay in the file up to 5 years.

We spoke with previous city manager David Rutherford and he stated that he had two meetings with Mr. Hill over investigations into questions about tools and items purchased. Rutherford said he considered the first meeting a verbal reprimand but the second one he considered a written reprimand.

Previous city manager David Rutherford

Before the investigation into questions concerning a couple of hand tools and the reported purchase of a lawnmower blade for a cub cadet tractor, a kind that the city did not own could be completed, Mr. Hill put in his retirement effectively ending the investigation according to Rutherford.

We requested a copy of Mr. Hill's complete employee file September 13 and received a copy on September 15. The copy we received did not contain any reprimands in the file. There is a copy of a speed camera ticket from Oak Ridge dated 2012 that could be related to improper use of a city vehicle.

Because the documents were only removed two weeks ago, questions have just started to be asked about the legality of such action and the public records custodian, city clerk Sally Oglesby brought the matter to the attention of city attorney Will Ridley. Ridley reviewed the state law on records and contacted Mr. Hill to replace the documents.

Crossville city attorney Will Ridely


At that point Mr. Hill brought up the issue of the difference between oral and written reprimands because a memo outlining an oral reprimand only stays in the file a year while a more serious written reprimand stays in the file up to 5 years. It may be necessary for the city to formally contact previous city managers David Rutherford and Bruce Wyatt to determine which kind of reprimands were in the file.

In mid April Councilman Pete Souza had reportedly been contacted and reviewed Mr. Hill's employee file and found several documents there that he had copies made of and copies were given to Mr. Hill and the other members of the council. Souza said that his discovery of the documents made Mr. Hill upset at the time.

Mr. Souza provided the following narrative:

“When Mr. Hill was appointed as interim city manager I received calls stating that he had been and was investigated for wrongful theft of municipal property. I am requesting that this investigation be revisited and Mr. Hill be charged or exonerated. I originally received calls from Parks department employees (not Ms. French). I also received inquiries from the press. My first measure was made to Police Chief Shoap and asked him if an internal investigation was ever conducted into the Parks department. Chief Shoap checked and told me his department had not done an investigation.

I pulled Mr. Hills personnel file and read where Mr. Rutherford had admonished him for excessive use of his vehicle (the second admonishment by a city manager) and not having his house in order. I saw to it that the rest of the council got copies of the admonishments.

I called Mr. Rutherford who informed me a councilman had complained to him that he ahd reports of wrongdoing and asked him to look into it. He found a problem with accounting for tools and had ordered inventories of his equipment. He had finance hold the inventories. Then during the investigation Mr. Hill opted for early retirement. Mr. Rutherford put a letter in Hill's file and moved on.

I checked with finance where during one inventory items were missing, the next inventory there were account for, the next inventory they were missing and the next inventory they were accounted for.

Last week a park's employee told me details on the incident. He asked how it was that nothing was done about him and how is it possible that he could come back to replace Ms. French. He told me what happened was Mr. Hill ordered a chain saw, blower and lawn mower blades for a cub cadet (the city did not have a cub cadet). That's when the inventory came about Hill returned the items and told his employee to write a justification for the chain saw and blower. He asked why since they already had a chain saw and blower. Mr. Hill strongly admonished them to just do what they were told.

I asked Mr. Hill about this and he threw a temper tantrum. He stated he did not have anything in his file and he would sue anyone who said anything. A reasonable person would believe that this investigation should be reopened and a determination made to either exonerate Mr. Hill or take appropriate action.”

Councilman Pete Souza

Mr. Souza also pointed out that Mr. Hill sets the example for city employees.



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Agenda released for Friday's special called Crossville city council meeting

The agenda for the special called meeting originally set for Monday September 19 but moved to Friday September 16, has been released and includes an item requesting action by the District Attorney.

The agenda, pictured below, includes a number of routine items covered under a consent agenda and 5 additional items.  One additional item placed on the agenda by Councilman Jesse Kerley seeks action by the DA and that is expected to be about allegations of extortion against councilman Pete Souza over derogatory items that had been in interim city manager Steve Hill's personnel file but have since removed from his file by Mr. Hill.



An item on a salary increase to the city judge, currently Ivy Gardener is up for consideration.  A judge will be appointed once the new council is sworn in in December and any raise would go into effect at that time.  A raise can not be granted during a judge's term but must take affect at the start of a new term.  This item was placed on the agenda at the request of councilman Jesse Kerley.

A 5 percent raise is also proposed for interim police chief Mark Rosser.  This was briefly discussed at the regular September meeting by manager Hill because the position of major formerly held by Rosser has not been filled yet and places more administrative burden on chief Rosser.

Council will discuss the renewal of the city's health policy plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield.  The increase for the upcoming year has been determined to be 6 percent.  The agenda sates that this is the lowest increase in 5 years to the city.

Council will discuss and consider action on the request for qualifications on the proposed splash pad for Centennial park. Several engineering firms have submitted information and the council will select one to do the design work.