Katy Olita, Debbie Frazier, Maria Jimenez, Katie Gambill, Charlie Foust, Don Jenkins, Keith Lampkin, Mark Kelly, Jonathan Hunter, Carl Wilson, Mark Smith, J. Runyon
Bob Yates, Lynn Stokes, Ray Williams
The Charter Commission meeting was held at the William O. Beach Civic Hall, 350 Pageant Lane, Clarksville, Tennessee.
Call to Order
Chairman Katie Gambill called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.
Chairman Gambill talked about the upcoming July 25 marketing event and advised that invitations were sent to committee members. She also asked for volunteers to assist. A drawing of “Our United Community” logo was shown. The web domain had been purchased and website was being developed. Campaign and marketing statement “to educate and empower the Clarksville and Montgomery County Community to support consolidated government” would be kicked off at the upcoming event.
Members were provided a table of content for the last two Charters along with a timeline and list of committees. Chairman Gambill talked about the structure of the committees and commission meetings going forward. She stated the Charter must be voted on as a committee in July and filed by the County Clerk by August 9; 90 days before the November 2018 election.
Member voiced concern with county citizens being on board with the Charter unless provided numbers so they will know if their taxes would or would not increase. Chairman Gambill agreed numbers should be part of the research process, but governing bodies could not be held accountable to those numbers. After much discussion a member stated the Charter is a general framework for government and does not contain a budget or numbers. It would then be up to the governing body to determine the services and budgets.
Mr. Dewey Branstetter, with Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison in Nashville, stated he thought the committee was on the right track. His talk focused on the following items – individual commitment, priority and focus, give/take and compromise, and try and reach a consensus within the commission. The commission is a public formed body and subject to the Sunshine Law, must post meetings, and the public has the right to attend but not speak unless approved. He further stated it was important to get messages out to the public and have public hearings for input. Meetings fall under the open records act; including emails.
Other items Mr. Branstetter talked about included: electing a Chairman and Vice-Chairman, breakout of the committees, and a staff person to take minutes, schedule and send notices. He said the committee might be interested in having a meeting facilitator, and someone to draft the Charter. Mr. Branstetter would be happy to assist with the Charter final touches. He strongly recommended an external citizens group and a speaker bureau to speak with civic groups, organizations, etc. Mr. Branstetter stated it was critical that all elected officials be included and involved as they will be the one implementing the Charter document.
Mr. Branstetter closed with stating he thought the Charter had a real chance to do something beneficial in the long term for both the city and county. Members had questions regarding what to tell citizens and he suggested having a consistent message, get the public to conceptually understand there would be efficiencies, and talk about what you hope to do with additional services.
Briefly discussed was who would determine services to the urban service district and what representation the urban district would have to make those decisions. The Metro Nashville Council process to change their Charter was given as an example by Mr. Branstetter. Member thought the legislative process would be an important aspect to the citizens so that they understand everyone has fair representation and can trust that representation as their voice. Commission talked about moving the district structure process forward in the timeline.
Chairman Gambill asked members to review the committees and select the ones they would like to serve on. She suggested the committees meet on the second Thursday of the month and present to the full commission on the fourth Thursday of the month, and vote the following month. Member suggested putting together a list of guiding principles and several members will work together to develop. The next item discussed was forming a Citizen’s Committee so they could begin speaking to civic groups, organizations, etc.
A motion was made by Mr. Charlie Foust to form a Citizen’s Committee. Seconded by Mr. Carl Wilson and passed unanimously.
Member questioned if there would be any changes to benefits (retirement, health insurance, etc) for previously retired employees from the City of Clarksville. He was advised that TCRS was a separate pension entity for retirees, and if a commitment was made at the time of retirement, that commitment would be a continuing obligation. Mr. Branstetter stated the state law was very clear that existing vested rights (depends on how written) could not be taken away as a result of consolidated government. Briefly discussed was attrition, and City/County debt.
The next meeting date was set for July 27, 2017.
With no further business before the commission, the meeting adjourned.
Katie Gambill, Chairman
Shelly Baggett, Administrative Assistant
County Mayor’s Office