Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 11, 2012

Graham issues letter of apology


Submitted

CROSSVILLE — Editor's Note: Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III issued the following statement regarding an incident that occurred Nov. 29 as the former Crossville City Hall was being pack up and personnel prepared to move to the new facility on Main St.

As mayor of Crossville, I feel that it is necessary to apologize for my actions last week in regard to losing my temper, raising my voice, and using profanity in its worst form.

As most of you know, the city is moving city hall to its new facility at 392 North Main Street. During the morning of Thursday, November 29, I was in my office, boxing several of the personal items I have from my old office so as to take them home for storage. Because of my recent shoulder surgery, I was unable to lift the boxes, so I asked the person in charge of moving to the new city hall for help and if they could haul them out to my residence when they picked up the three file cabinets that I was using for city business and other informational files in one trip. That individual then asked the city manager for approval for that task and then I was asked to come to the manager’s office. The city manager asked for advice from me regarding the use of city personnel and equipment for this task. I then lost my temper. I told him, in a loud voice and using profanity, that I would take care of the moving myself. I did wrong!

One of the biggest problems in society is the failure to communicate. One lawyer friend of mine suggests that if people would talk to one another, we wouldn’t need 90 percent of the lawyers that we have. This failure to communicate in society is prevalent in public service also.

Another problem in society, and therefore in public service, is that people make mistakes. That same lawyer friend advises that the law does not require us people to be perfect. Furthermore, my preacher tells me that God does not require us to be perfect, either. As a result, the person holding a public office is not going to be perfect, no matter how high his perfectionist standards may be.

It will come as no surprise to the people who know me that no matter how hard I try to serve our city in the best way possible, I still make mistakes. However, I have come to know that when I, or the people I work with, do something less than perfect, there is the recognition that apologies may be in order and, thereafter, everyone moves on. It happens all the time and we put it in the category of contrition (sincere remorse for wrongdoing) and common courtesy.

Imperfect me was confronted by our city manager seeking my advice and counsel about how to accommodate the use of city resources to move my records located at my house to the new office building. His perspective of the matter was different than mine. In responding, I failed to consider his perspective because of my perspective. Bad judgment. On reflection, I should have been more understanding and less assertive.

As a result, I did the only respectful thing an imperfect human being could do. I went to the city manager and acknowledged to him that I made a mistake, and I apologized to him and everybody else that heard my errant response and language, explaining that I was wrong. He graciously accepted my apology.

In the meantime, Councilman Danny Wyatt assisted me, as a friend, to get the job of moving my files completed, which was my responsibility in the first place.

I have admitted my indiscretions and took responsibility for my mistaken judgment.

One of the first lessons I learned as an elected official is that there will always be rumors. If you wait long enough, you can hear anything you want to hear about anybody. The lesson being that you can’t make informed decisions without accurate information and the best way to sort out any problems with accurate facts is to contact the person directly involved, and ask them about it. This method helps to alleviate any problems of non-communication. If any council members or citizens of Crossville have a question about the governing decisions and conduct of the mayor’s office, they need to contact the mayor’s office. But, that is all they will have to do because every citizen is entitled to know what the mayor, council members, staff, and employees are doing on behalf of the public. And this mayor intends to keep all of the business of the city transparent.

The mayor of Crossville, and really, all elected individuals, are held accountable for their actions. They have higher standards than most, the highest standards. They are examples for others!

I violated one of God’s Ten Commandments, where in Exodus, Chapter 20, verse 7, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”

I want to publicly apologize for my actions, to tell you all that I was wrong, that I made a mistake and that I have prayed for forgiveness and wish that all concerned would forgive me and that it will not happen again.

Sincerely,

J.H. Graham, III

Mayor of Crossville