published Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Fields touts credentials that have lapsed


by Chris Carroll

A Hamilton County Commission candidate is saying he’s something he’s not.

Jim Fields, the Signal Mountain attorney who knocked off 12-year incumbent Richard Casavant in the District 2 Republican primary, has a campaign website touting his distinction in two state programs — “Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediation” and “Rule 31 Listed Family Mediation with Domestic Violence Training.”

But Fields is not listed in a database that records 428 other Tennessee legal professionals with verified qualifications.

Laura Click, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, said Fields received certification in 2004 but became “inactive” in March 2009 and never submitted a renewal application.

The candidate launched his website in February 2010.

“I’ve been a little bit preoccupied,” Fields said Tuesday. “But I’ve had all the training, and the purpose of that website is not to get business. If it were, I think it would be inappropriate.”

Dr. Richard Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has said Fields has a clear path to victory as a major party candidate facing an independent.

In Thursday’s elections, Fields battles airline pilot David Cantrell for the District 2 commission seat, which covers Signal Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Walden, Falling Water, Mountain Creek and parts of Lookout Valley.

“I assure everyone my resume is up-to-date and it’s accurate, so you can trust what it says,” Cantrell said. “Is his resume accurate? That’s the big thing. It sounds like it’s years out of date, possibly.”

Rule 31 is a Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts program to find “qualified alternative dispute resolution mediators ... and enlist their assistance in resolving matters pending before courts of record,” according to the agency’s website.

Click said candidates for Rule 31 certification are required to have a business license, complete 40 hours of intensive mediation training and submit an application to become qualified. She said Fields’ “inactive” status does not preclude him from practicing private mediation.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: Cantrell focusing on crime, finances

Article: Hopefuls face off in wide-ranging debate

Article: Fields for term limits, against metro government

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