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Minutes of the Charter Commission Meeting – Thursday, July 27, 2017

Posted: July 27, 2017

Members Present

Bob Yates, Carl Wilson, Charlie Foust, Don Jenkins, J. Runyon, Jon Hunter, Katy Olita, Katie Gambill, Keith Lampkin, Lynn Stokes, Maria Jimenez, Mark Kelly, Mark Smith, Ray Williams

 

Members Absent

Debbie Frazier

 

Others Present

Shelly Baggett

 

Location

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 10:04 a.m.

 

Approval of Minutes

There were not any minutes available for approval today.

 

Discussion

Whether to use a facilitator, as suggested by Mr. Dewey Branstetter, was the first item discussed by the committee. Mr. Hunter suggested Mr. James Halford as a facilitator and gave some background information on Mr. Halford. Several members knew and spoke highly of Mr. Halford.

A motion was made by Ms. Katy Olita to obtain a facilitator. Seconded by Ms. Maria Jimenez and passed unanimously.

A motion was made by Mr. Carl Wilson to ask Mr. James Halford if he would be willing to act as a facilitator for the Charter Commission Committee. Seconded by Ms. Katy Olita and passed unanimously.

Chairman Gambill will contact Mr. Halford about facilitating and discuss compensation.

Ms. Olita had spoken with Mr. Dan Nolan, who was involved in writing the last Charter. She advised that Mr. Nolan said he would assist with writing the Charter if chosen by the committee to do so. Ms. Olita wanted full disclosure to the committee that she and Mr. Nolan worked at the same firm. She and J Runyon had discussed conflict of interest and did not feel it would be a concern especially if the committee voted to retain Mr. Nolan. Ms. Olita felt she and Mr. Runyon would both be involved in the writing the Charter. Briefly discussed was at what point an attorney would be needed and associated costs.

A motion was made by Mr. Charlie Foust to get a proposal for legal service to write the Charter. Seconded by Mr. Don Jenkins and passed unanimously.

Chairman Gambill advised the website was live and anyone who subscribes, whether they support or do not support, will receive updates as posted and have access to information for themselves. Website was still being developed and hope to be complete by the end of August. The committee meeting were currently posted on the County public calendar and Mr. Lampkin will take care of getting them posted on the City public calendar.

Committee reviewed emails submitted by members, see attachments, on developing key principles for committees to follow throughout the Charter development. Ethics, job security, property interest position versus at will employment, and due process were all talked about. It was suggested these type issues be researched and discussed more in depth during the committee process with input and information from both governments.

It was the consensus of the committee that no one lose his or her job because of consolidated government. Member stated by building a great structure and if the charter passes, the citizens of Montgomery County will elect their representatives to determine, and trust, how the government would operate.

A motion was made by Mr. Bob Yates to adopt Ms. Frazier’s suggested principles #2 through #5. Seconded by Mr. Don Jenkins and passed unanimously.

Chairman Gambill read those principles as follows:

  1. Commission should in every respect consider the well-being of our citizens.
  2. Commission should in every respect consider the well-being of the employees of both governments.
  3. Commission should ensure there is complete transparency in this process.
  4. Commission should establish a Charter that empowers the government to operate with the citizens’ consent and authority.

Committee member initiated discussion regarding a Code of Ethics being in the Charter. He would like to see the entire Code of Ethics agreed upon and placed in the Charter so that any changes would be done by referendum. After discussion, the member agreed to serve on the committee and will provide information.

Next items the committee discussed was the list of breakout committees and timeline, see attachment. Some of the committees were combined and members volunteered for the ones they wanted to serve on. Chairman Gambill will update the list, add volunteers, and email to members. She reminded everyone these committees must meet with the affected elected officials. Suggestion was made to establish a separate Public Safety Committee and Private/Public utilities and members agreed. Committee briefly discussed combining the item Amendment of Charter with another committee.

Committee talked about taxes in general and in particular studies done after consolidation occurred. Member talked about new businesses brings in more sales tax revenue, which takes the tax burden off citizens, and keeps tax rates flat. This gives a community the opportunity to be more aggressive and more competitive by eliminating the layers of bureaucracy and the citizens benefit. Member asked how to communicate this within the Charter process.

The next committee was transition and effective date and Chairman Gambill stated there must be a committee that puts a plan in place once the Charter was passed on how the transition would look. Therefore, this would remain as its own committee and she asked for volunteers. Miscellaneous provision committee was combined with general provisions.

After combining some committees, there were 13 remaining committees, and Chairman Gambill will revise and send to all members. She reviewed the timeline, see attachment, and schools was suggested as the first for action. Members briefly talked about the school system and its current authority. It was acknowledged that detailed information and data would be required going forward. Member thought it important to start with governing bodies, geography (urban and general services district), and how would a citizen be represented in the new government.

Community input, town hall meetings, FaceBook page, and posting information were briefly talked about.

 

Next Meeting

The next meeting date was scheduled for August 10, 2017.

 

Adjourn

With no further business before the Charter Commission, the meeting adjourned.

________________________________

Katie Gambill, Chairman

Charter Commission

________________________________

Shelly Baggett, Administrative Assistant

County Mayor’s Office

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