This blog originally founded by Blogger who holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Town/County Meeting - Grown-ups In Action

If you went to the joint town/county meeting last night with the intent of watching a steel cage death match, you were probably disappointed. If however, you wanted to watch a group of elected officials, representing somewhat different positions, act like grown ups and resolve an important issue, this was your opportunity.

After Mayor Claussen and BOC Chairman Miller called the meeting to order, County attorney Eggers was asked to outline the county's legal position - which he did, essentially stating the county position as has been reported here previously, and stating that the town's position was "in violation of State Law." Mr. Eggers also read into the record the opinion the BOC had received from David Owens which we posted on this site yesterday. Mr Eggers closed by stating that "State statutes trump town ordinances" and "we don't want to litigate but if we do, my opinion is that the county would prevail."

Town attorney Sam Furgiuele spoke next - agreeing with Mr Eggers that Mr Owen's was indeed the "guru" when it came to these issues - but stating the town's position that the court of appeals in the Highlands case had held for the town and that the court was the one that mattered, not Mr. Owens. Mr Furgiuele argued that proportional representation was not possible if the county is going to appoint people outside of residents of the ETJ and finally, he stated, that the appointment authority argued by the county is only for new appointees when the ETJ is expanded; not for appointments to vacancies which occur.

Mr Gurgiuele closed by stating that his opinion does not mean that the town could not, if they chose to, relinquish the appointment authority back to the county.

Jim Deal spoke next and restated the county's position that the commissioners agreed that they should only make appointments from among residents of the ETJ, "BUT", said Mr. Deal "Only the county commission has been elected to make these appointments". "We all need to agree on this" he said.

Vince Gable spoke next and agreed with Mr Deal re; the position of the county. "We need to have a handshake understanding that the county will appoint applicants from the ETJ". Mr Gable also stated that litigation would be expensive for both parties and that he didn't want to see taxpayer money being spent on litigation where the lawyers were "being paid by the hour".

Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Mason stated that the town does have an interest in assuring that only qualified people serve on the boards "we need to appoint people who will help the town to achieve the goals of the Uniform Development Ordnance."

Following a few comments from others in attendance, the issue was pretty much resolved along the lines of the previous status quo....that the county would resume it's appointment authority but would limit appointments to residents of the ETJ...

As I understand it, it is now up to the town to meet and rewrite their ordinances ...

A couple of other issues were discussed....including the water allocation for the old high school, the proposed centralization of 911 services (Dispatch Consolidation), and the extention of the Greenway trail...To quickly summarize - the town seemed to be cooperative with regard to the water issue - agreeing to extend a set aside of 150,000 gallons for the property and remain open to adjusting the allocation upon application by a qualified interested purchaser. "We want to help develop this property!"

Vince Gable seems to be the driving force behind the proposed dispatch consolidation - an effort to centralize 911 dispatch services of the county and the various municipalities. Gable outlined the benefits to the public from a centralized dispatch and the town. Sheriff Hagaman was in attendance and responded favorably to this proposal. The sheriff stated that there had been some preliminary meetings with some of the other entities.

My understanding is that Boone will participate in further discussions and that the other municipalities will be asked to participate as well.


Guy Faulkes said...

I will repost a point made in my last post on the other thread on this matter.

State law allows the county to select ETJ members from outside the ETJ if no qualified person applies for the position. The Town says a person has to live in the ETJ to be qualified. This is in direct conflict with state law. The county has apparently agreed to the town's interpretation.

Apparently there were not enough applicants for the ETJ positions when this issue started. After it became apparent that the county was going to make appointments from outside the ETJ, the town recruited applicants that would move in lock step with the council.

The question now is if this condition occurs again, is the county not going to make an appointment from outside the ETJ as allowed by state law?

If this is the case, and there are not the required number of ETJ members to give the percentage legally necessary for the composition of the Board, will the Board be eliminated until such time as the required number of ETJ members are appointed?

inquiring mind said...

This meeting started out on the right foot. However, if you understand that the Chairman of each Board has responsibility of making sure that parliamentary procedures are followed, the you wouldn't think things went as well as you may have thought. There was a lot of political staging and grand-standing going on.

And, the decision made to allow the Town to set the qualifications and give the County the authority in their UDO to appoint ETJ members is ok so long as it isn't amended in the future. What amazes me is the short-term narrow view to which these elected officials view things. It is politically expedient for them to take this short-term view; however, the long-range view is not so attractive when you consider that a different BOC may be in place and a different Town Council may be in place who have a very different opinion.

And, most of us expected a resolution; otherwise there wouldn't have been a meeting. Remember the Town declined to have a mediator; that was a clue that there would be a compromise.
I doubt anyone expected to see a "steel caged death match". We saw exactly what we expected. Nothing new here.

inquiring mind said...

By normal we mean: Commissioner Deal runs the Board of Commissioners. And, Gable says: "I agree with Mr. Deal." We just missed that other line: "As I find myself doing quite often."

inquiring mind said...

Over the past several years of the Deal regime, we became very familiar with his body language. At this meeting, sadly we watched Deal. He generally sits with his head lowered pretending to read something. In reality he is listening. He has a plan and he is looking for the opportune moment to launch. When he was Chairman, the opportunity was under his complete control. Without the Chairmanship,he has to position himself to take control. At this meeting, he saw that the Town attorney was closing; he wanted to take the helm and he definitely didn't want the Board attorney to have the opportunity to respond to the Town attorney. So, Deal, pretended to want to ask the Town attorney a question. Raising his head, leaning into the table, he slightly raised his hand and said may I ask a question to which the Town attorney said, let me finish and then you can talk. This set Deal up as the next to speak. So, when Deal spoke, he went into his theatrics. He set himself up as the great mediator; the reasonable man; the man of the hour. And, how could anyone object to the world according to Deal. He calls his concept forward thinking; when it reality is short-cited. However, they always play to the emotional side. And, Gable falls for or has become the "Keith Honeycutt" of the day. We tend to think that Deal's fine art of BS plays to Gable's emotions as it does to many unsuspecting and/or unguarded.

A monkey wrench could be thrown into Deal's theatrics if the Chairman would employ parliamentary procedures. Call him out of order!

Anonymous said...

I think someone has a crush on Jim Deal....It's so cute! I hear about all of the Commissioners except for Blust...Is he paying attention or is he doodling in the corner? Nevermind, I know the answer....

Anonymous said...

If Deal is foolish enough to run again, he is going to get crushed.