Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 4, 2014

Council work session, downtown community forum set for Tuesday evening

By Jim Young
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — Crossville City Hall will be busy this evening with a city council work session set for 4 p.m. in the third floor conference room and the rescheduled community forum on the downtown improvement project scheduled for 6 p.m., delayed due to last week's snow.

Several topics on the work session agenda include Councilman Souza's ballot proposal for a “vote of confidence” on council members, the funding of the Northwest Connector, the Lake Tansi lawsuit and a proposed policy on a “productive workplace” for the city.

Councilman Souza had proposed last month that an item be placed on a future ballot to allow city voters to vote “yes” or “no” expressing their confidence in each of the five members of the city council. Mr. Souza had said that if he didn't get a 50 percent positive vote he would voluntarily resign.

The proposal was ruled ineligible for a vote that night as the other council members and the public did not know what Souza's proposal was prior to that meeting.

It was ruled to be eligible to vote on at a future meeting, but since the January meeting city staff have met with the county election commission and discovered that neither state law nor the Crossville City Charter have any provision for such a vote being placed on a ballot.

As an alternative, a proposal for a recall provision that could be added to the city charter as part of upcoming charter changes will be discussed during the work session. The proposal would require 33 percent of city voters to sign a petition to put a recall measure on the ballot and it would have to be approved by 66 percent of voters for the recall to take place.

The council must still deal with two conflicting votes on the Northwest Connector. A contract for work was approved by the council but the budget amendment to pay for the contracted work was not approved. In addition, the Crossville Planning Commission has voted to request the council reconsider its action in not funding the project. A vote to reconsider the action can be brought up by any member of the council and a vote retaken on the third reading of the budget amendment according to the city's governmental consultant MTAS if the item is put on the next meeting agenda.

An update on the Lake Tansi lawsuit will be provided to the council by city manager David Rutherford. The last report from city attorney Ken Chadwell indicated the suit was currently in mediation.

In an effort to control conflicts between city employees and elected officials before they start, city manager Rutherford will present a “productive workplace, professionalism, civility and conflict resolution policy” for discussion at the work session.

The policy suggests that “elected officials and employees are expected to exemplify professionalism and civility at all times when representing the City of Crossville in their interaction and discourse with fellow elected officials and staff members, other representatives of the organization, and the general public.” A series of suggestions and steps to deal with conflict are also part of the policy.

The community forum for the downtown Crossville improvement project will be held at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. The forum is sponsored by the city, chamber of commerce and Downtown Crossville, Inc. and will “celebrate the growth and improvement of Crossville and to address concerns from business owners and citizens. Representatives will be on hand to provide an update on the plans for the project as well as answer questions.”

The public is welcome to attend and refreshments will be served. Additional community forums are planned monthly once construction gets under way in order to keep the public and downtown businesses informed.