Bob Yates, Charlie Foust, Debbie Frazier, Don Jenkins, J Runyon, Jon Hunter, Katy Olita, Katie Gambill, Keith Lampkin, Lynn Stokes, Maria Jimenez, Mark Kelly
Carl Wilson, Mark Smith, Ray Williams
James Halford, Dan Nolan, Shelly Baggett
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 10:03 am.
Approval of Minutes
A motion was made by Bob Yates to approve the Charter Commission meeting minutes dated August 10, 2017 and August 22, 2017 as presented. Seconded by Katy Olita and passed unanimously.
Don Jenkins was not present for approval of the minutes but joined the meeting shortly thereafter.
Chairman Gambill introduced local attorney Dan Nolan, with Batons Nolan PLC, who will be working with the Commission to help write the Charter. Mr. Nolan spoke about the in house staff that would be working on the project and the service they will provide. The subcommittees will submit electronically their information, all in the same word format, to Mr. Nolan who will review and correspond back with the subcommittee on any questions. Any suggested changes from Mr. Nolan would be included prior to commission members’ approval. Once approved, Mr. Nolan’s office will begin to assemble the Charter from the approved information. Mr. Nolan stated the plan was to approach the project so it would be beneficial to the citizens and get the Charter approved; and as inexpensive as possible.
It was noted that some areas like the legislative body, constitutional offices, at will and due process employment may require more legal thought and planning by Mr. Nolan’s office to determine a suitable solution. Briefly discussed were boards and unions, as well as the commission’s goal to protect and keep all employees, which would be defined by the new government.
Citizens Committee – Mark Kelly provided a handout, see attachment, and talked about the citizens committee meeting on September 22. He reviewed the decisions and recommendations they were going to present to the commission for consideration and implementation. Those items included start date, requesting citizen participation, announcements via media outlets, commission members to recommend citizens, and developing a formal presentation. Committee briefly talked about limiting or not limiting the number of citizen participants, electing a Citizens’ Committee Chairman, and commission members attending and participating in citizens’ community meetings.
School Committee – Katy Olita had sent commission members notes from the school meeting. She stated the school system was very much in favor of consolidated government and they see benefit in having one entity or platform by which they communicate, seek funding, and get assistance. The school system is already consolidated and governed by Code under Tennessee state law. CMCSS talked about having one voice regarding student growth and rezoning. Katy had already produced a word format document to submit for commission approval, and will email to members for review prior to the meeting in October. Briefly talked about was adding the school system’s support message to the citizens presentation and possibly obtain a letter of endorsement from CMCSS, similar to the one provided today from the Clarksville Association of Realtors, see attachment. CMCSS highlighted growth as one of their biggest challenges.
County and City funding of the school system was briefly discussed and would need to be addressed by the taxing committee. Also to be addressed, with input from both the county and city, was which finance law to consider for the new charter.
Judicial Committee – Katy Olita reported the subcommittee had met with the general session court judges, but not Judge Smith as of yet. One of the judges’ issues is full dockets and they would like another judge. Talked about at the meeting was combining the general session judges and the one city court judge and stating in the charter there would be five general session judges. Financial implications would come along with the judicial changes, including courtroom space, and traffic ticket revenue. Debbie Frazier will research city traffic ticket data for the subcommittee. One additional item the judges mentioned was having a local juvenile detention facility and the cost of transporting and detaining juveniles out of county.
Governing Body Committee – Jon Hunter stated the subcommittee would be responsible for the articles on the legislative body and role of the chief executive. The subcommittee compared the ’81 and ’96 charters to identify any differences and will use as framework to solicit information from the county mayor, city mayor, county commission, and the city council. The subcommittee met with Mayor Durrett and discussed the role of the chief executive – including whether it was or was not a voting role, term limits, re-districting or not, and financial laws 57 vs 81. A meeting was scheduled with the county commission for October 2. A request had been made to meet with Mayor McMillan and would afterwards request to meet with the city council.
Public Safety – J Runyon stated they had met a couple of times and were scheduling to meet with the Sheriff and Chief of Police. He reported that Mayor McMillan would attend the Public Safety meeting on September 29 at Jenkins & Wynne.
Committee discussed preparing an introductory executive summary for each subcommittee, and as part of the citizens’ presentation, so everyone was delivering the same information. Suggested title was “What’s In It For You”. Member encouraged the Chairs of subcommittees to look at the city’s charter for information, especially in the financial area, so not miss any items beneficial to the new charter.
Mr. Halford stated he had not received everyone’s information regarding “norms” and “ground rules” and will email the form to members to reply as soon as possible, so he can summarize and discuss with the commission. He used absenteeism as a worst-case example because it could affect how members might vote or use as a reason to say they “didn’t vote” on or for something. Members talked about every member being accountable, responsible, and participating on both the subcommittees and charter commission.
A motion was made by Bob Yates for Debbie Frazier to write a guiding principle about commitment to the project. Seconded by Maria Jimenez and passed unanimously.
Mark Kelly reported the Association of Realtors had tentatively scheduled the commission to speak at a luncheon on May 9. Katie Gamble, once confirmed, will speak with the Clarksville ministerial group on October 19. It was suggested that a limited number of commission members attend these functions and to alternate members attending, so everyone participates. Briefly talked about was obtaining letters from civic organizations, groups, elected officials, etc. who support the consolidation and willing to provide a letter.
The next meeting date will be October 24, 2017.
With no further business before the Charter Commission, the meeting was properly adjourned.
Katie Gambill, Chairman
Shelly Baggett, Administrative Assistant
County Mayor’s Office