Calfee and Yager File Bill to Exempt Planning Commissions from Ethics Commission

Submitted by WhitesCreek on January 15, 2013 - 7:07am.

Well it looks like our new guy is falling right in with the old boys. It is also kind of interesting that the link to the Bill summary isn't working. What's in this Bill that they don't want us to see? As if the name isn't bad enough!

Link...


Text

I got this by clicking on Calfee at the top, not the bill summary.
Link...

WhitesCreek's picture
Can anyone tell me whether

Can anyone tell me whether Roane County is in there? This is the typical way of doing things like this so that it sneaks by the people who are affected by having their planning Commissions exempt from the ethics rules. Since development is at a standstill in Roane at the moment, we must not be on any developer's radar.

Link... Slightly over 53K,

Link... Slightly over 53K, so yes. This is a general bill with local application. Will be interesting to see who else signs on to this.

WhitesCreek's picture
Why would we want to exempt

Why would we want to exempt anybody from the ethics rules?

This is what you get

You wouldn't want to b/c politicians with any conflict of interest must claim it so they cannot be help liable for any favoritism or political favors to friends, family or donors for bids, contracts etc...

I am guessing no one thought that Calfee, with 20 years of favors from County Commission would EVER do anything like this...

Hurley may have been a super pain in your butt - but she didn't pull any wool over your eyes. You always knew where she stood.

You got exactly what you wanted - someone from Roane County with a good ole boys tie in. Congrats.

No Donkey Here

Ferguson

May as well have put Dennis Ferguson back in. Better to have him in Nashville than in our back yard all the time.

Hurley may have been a super

Hurley may have been a super pain in your butt - but she didn't pull any wool over your eyes. You always knew where she stood.

Yes, we know where she stood. That is the reason we got rid of her ass!

onetahiti's picture
ConcernedCitizen

You wrote, "Yes, we know where she stood...."

Thank you. :)

-- OneTahiti

And now

And now we know where we apparently stand with both Calfee and Yager.

I'm wondering...

I'm wondering what prompted Calfee to take part in this. At first glance it appears to be a bad idea but a few questions would have to be answered before I would write him off as one of the good ole boys solely based on this bill.

1. Did Roane County Planning Commission request to be exempt from the ethics rules for some legitimate reason?
2. Is there a benefit to Roane County by this bill being past?
3. Did Roane County Commission make a formal request for Calfee to support this bill?

If the answer to all three of those questions is yes then Calfee may have good reason to file the bill. At least it would show he is listening to County Commission, something that JH refused to do.

I've not been involved in county government for years but I can tell you that not all rules, even ethical rules, governing actions by county government are created to be fair and equal to all counties. Many of the laws concerning county government are written to be applied differently based on population. This could be the case here. Calfee's bill could be an attempt to level the playing field with larger counties.

If Calfee is working for Roane County by submitting this bill I can't condemn him for doing it... even if this bill appears to be sidestepping proper rules of ethics.

I need more information...

I agree

I agree we need more information. I also think both officials should be accountable to the constituents more than just commissions and boards. Their primary responsibility is to us plain ole everyday people, not a handful of glad handing, back slapping people.

onetahiti's picture
54,181 in 2010 census

See: Link...

Roane would be exempted.

-- OneTahiti

Posted wrong #

I put a wrong number, you are right population is 54,181. But the bill stiulates not LESS than 54,100 and not MORE than 54,200, so Roane will be included. Also notice they don't go in any type of ascending or decending population limits in the text of the bill, just found that strange.

Link...

onetahiti's picture
chelsea

When I said Roane would be exempted, I meant excluded from the ethics rules, included in the bill. :(

-- OneTahiti

oops

Must be my day to shine...NOT.

onetahiti's picture
chelsea

You were fine! :) I should have been more clear.

-- OneTahiti

onetahiti's picture
Counties listed in that bill

Campbell, 40,716
Fentress, 17,959
Morgan, 21,987
Pickett, 5,077
Obion, 31,807
Rhea, 31,809
Roane, 54,181
Macon, 22,248
Scott, 22,228

See: http://www.ctas.tennessee.edu/PUBLIC/web/ctas.nsf/0/9A9961FE0E05464086257855007C1138/$file/2010+Census.pdf?openelement

-- OneTahiti

WhitesCreek's picture
Good work, OneT. So why does

Good work, OneT. So why does Ken want to exempt the Planning Commissions in his Senate District from Ethics rules? Obion gets in by default of being a certain size.

onetahiti's picture
Sen. Yager's counties

Ken Yager represents "Campbell, Fentress, Morgan, Rhea, Roane, Pickett and Scott Counties." Source: Link...

-- OneTahiti

WhitesCreek's picture
Ok

Obion County then. Ha!

onetahiti's picture
WC

And Macon.

-- OneTahiti

Look

I guess a good hard look at the various Planning Commissions, projects they are undertaking/considering, property ownership is in order for starters.

onetahiti's picture
Investigative reporters

Our area could use a good investigative news team.

-- OneTahiti

One question-

Are all the members of these counties' planning commissions already members of the county commission or whatever elected board appoints them?

If so, he may have a point to stop the requirement of double filings since the info should be the same on both.

Shouldn't

Shouldn't make a difference. You may have a conflict of interest on one committee, but not on the other. So if you file, for the sake of argument, as a county commissioner and that conflict never came before you as a county commissioner, but did as a member of the planning commission, does that mean you should not report it? Remember, even if you don't vote in favor the other person's benefit you must still acknowledge the conflict of interest. As to the crap you get if you inquire, that is just wrong and needs to change...but I wouldn't count on Yager or Calfee looking into that just now.

Members

Finally found the Planning Commission...but had to really hunt. All are not County Commissioners, there are private citizens also. I don't know how up to date the information is. But posting it here, along with several other boards and members.
Link...

WhitesCreek's picture
Thanks, C

I love community participation. Let's hope there's a group in all the other counties as active as us.

One is a County Commissioner

I believe that is up to date information.

With the exception of the County Commissioner on this committee, none are elected to this committee - they are appointed. Hence the rule requiring elected officials to file certain information does not cover them.

Just to make sure folks realize - this group is not a general planning group, as may be implied by a casual look at its name. It is for the purpose of deciding zoning issues in the county.

RB

Planning Commission appears t

Planning Commission members appear to be included in the filing requirement.
Read the 2013 Statement of Interest Filing. This is from the TEC's website.
Link...

sigh

This specific bill became effective July 1, 2012. Did any of these Planning Comm members file their statements for 2012?

See Link...

The answer will be 'few, if any' and the State Ethics Board will excuse those who did not file because the government body which appointed them ( city council, county commission) did not formally advise them to do so.

In general and for ALL office holders, the filings across the state are a joke on us.

When ask source of employment many say 'employer' and not list actual employer.

When they own businesses (and this is critical to the planning commissions) they may say 'rental units' or ' building business' rather than list the LLCs that they own.

And some don't even list their investments on the state's electronic form but instead write 'see attached' and mail in a list. Citizens then have to call the state and ask for a copy of the list.

When there is a change in employment, these officials have 30 days to notify the state and make changes to their filings. Ha... right. This one is especially critical if or when an official accepts employment from the government body that he or she was previously elected to serve on.

At the end of this month we will be six full years into these required disclosures and I have more to rant on but first I wanted to give a big SHOUT OUT to Mayor Ron Woody who is one of the very few elected officials who read the disclosure instructions and very clearly and completely filed out a form! Almost a Kudos to you Mr. Woody- but there is no 2012 form on the link for you. I bet you filed early and the system did not know what to do with it :-)

Whether or not any planning commissioner needs to file is almost moot if the forms are not filled out correctly and honestly AND the public never bothers to read them! And where is the requirement that all the quasi local government officials file? The PBAs, the Industrial development boards, the local power boards???

augh. carry on.

$5,000 fines

If you find any elected official that has skipped an ethics filing, call the State Election Office. They can fine them up to $5,000. Any elected official should be open and honest with their financials. No excuses.

No Donkey Here

nothing but excuses

1. If the gov't body charged with appointed an individual does not inform that person to file within 30 days of appointment, it is NOT the fault of the person appointed as long as they file within 30 days of being told by that gov't body.

2. If the person running for office does not show up on the state list of filings and a citizen complains and the candidate files three days before primary- there is no fine. No nothing.

3. If a citizen files a formal complaint they can expect to get sued.

4.If a citizen sends an email to the state with a request for clarification of a filing or questions a missing filing expect the state to answer with item 1. Been there. Done that.

Call or e-mail

Call or e-mail the Senator and the Representative, you may or may not be surprised at who requested this and the reasoning. Apparently people who serve as volunteers aren't ever in a position to have an ethical conflict.

onetahiti's picture
More on this bill in the News Sentinel

See: Link...

-- OneTahiti

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