published Friday, November 19th, 2010

Ex-official seeking back pay in Soddy-Daisy

While Soddy-Daisy commissioners have served on the board forgoing their $300 monthly pay, one former commissioner has asked the city for back pay, and it could be costly to the city.

Mayor Jim Adams said, "This could cost us $110,000."

Under Soddy-Daisy city code, commissioners are supposed to be paid $300 each month to serve on the board while the mayor receives an additional $50 a month.

"For many years members of the commission have not drawn that pay as an accommodation to the public," said Soddy-Daisy City Attorney Sam Elliott, "but this request has been made."

No one on the current commission would name where the request came from.

Elliott explained that while the commissioners have elected to not receive pay, court opinions from across the country have concluded that public officials can't perform their duties for free.

"The courts have upheld that basically you are bribing the public to vote for you if you say elect me and I won't draw this pay," Elliott said.

He said the city only has to go back six years because of the statute of limitations on such cases.

No action was taken by the commission on the matter, as Elliott said he was still looking into it.

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concernedmomof2 said...

Just how 'Mayor Adams' wants it, for the people to only hear what he wants them to think. It is not one ex-commissioner that is asking for back pay that will add up to $110k. Anyone that can do math can plainly see that $300 a month for 6 years isn't anywhere close to $110k. There are a whole lot more going to be getting back pay to add up to that. That includes Mr. Mayor Jim Adams getting pay too.... So thanks to the 'new commissioners' that want to propose removing the city paid health care. Not knowing what you can and can't do and promising the moon to save the city money, has just cost that much more. Just goes to show you change isn't always what you think it is. You're better off with experienced people with business sense, instead of your favorite next door neighbor.

November 19, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.
concernedmomof2 said...

Aside from that, Janice Cagle, former City Manger, got severance pay, why complain about pay that is actually owed to commissioners and not just a gift for firing someone. Sounds to me like money is freely flowing to those they want to have it.

November 19, 2010 at 3:38 p.m.

If anyone wants to know which two ex-commissioners have ask to receive back pay, just pull the results of the recent election on November 2, 2010. The two incumbents that just lost their seat are the ones asking for this "back pay" after allowing the taxpayers and registered voters feel they were so benevolent the last 4-13 years in declining to accept the salary. There was a gentleman at the meeting who spoke during citizen's participation who put it best when he said they sat on the board wearing their halos until something made them decide it was time to take the money and a man was only as good as his word. He asked the audience what drove them to have a change of heart after all these years, and members of the audience responded "they lost the election". This response to the gentleman’s question would indicate the incumbent theory as having merit. This request should be part of the open records act if anyone needs to research the issue in order to acquire the names of the two ex-commissioners demanding to receive this back pay. The registered voters of Hamilton County and Soddy Daisy need to keep this in mind when considering Bob Privett or David Skiles in any future Soddy Daisy or County elections. Please keep in mind these same two ex-commissioners voted for the taxpayers to provide them and their family with health benefits as well.

November 19, 2010 at 4:38 p.m.

To Concernedmomof2: I hope you understand the comment you posted proves the two gentlemen who recently got defeated doesn't care about the citizen's of Soddy Daisy. By requesting this back pay, the city attorney has now advised all the commissioners past and present should receive this salary, and continue to take the salary indefinitely. This along with the health insurance premiums paid on behalf of Shane Harmon, Bob Privett, and David Skiles are not the directions the taxpayers moneys need to be headed in these current economic times. If you will research the issue, you will find Mr. Jim Adams along with Geno Shipley has never taken any of these moneys nor accepted the insurance premium benefit. I find it appalling that these two gentlemen are so spiteful from losing the election; they are NOW going to ask for this money. Seems to me it shows their true character, just like the gentleman said at the meeting, leading the citizen's to believe they were not in it for the money while wearing halos. After defeat, we find out their true colors. It is indeed a sad day to see two men who has prospered as much as these think they are more deserving than our fine volunteer firemen. Some of which make it day to day, week to week, and have no benefits, but are willing to risk their lives protecting the citizens and town they TRULY LOVE.

November 19, 2010 at 4:54 p.m.
concernedmomof2 said...

To Theftbypolotician I completely understand where these two are coming from, and again I say, if you know how to do math, you understand that all commissioners, including your dear Geno Shipley and Jim Adams will receive this pay as well. It takes more than 2 commissioners at $300 a month for 6 years to get $110k. By my calculations 2 commissioners would only add to about $43,200. Where is your other $66,800 going? The majority right into the pockets of your dearly beloved Geno Shipley and Jim Adams. Along with a couple more that have served in the last 6 years. If they so care about the city let's see what they choose to do with that back pay. Will they accept it as benefit to them or will they chose to give it to something benefiting the city. I dare say they will accept it and pay their taxes just like you would. The previous gentleman that spoke at the meeting and as you state, the audience responded, shows 'Mayor' Jim Adams has no business in there letting the meeting be handled by a bunch of bitter, spiteful audience members. He is the leader of the meeting and it should be handled as so. My understanding of the meeting as you have stated was a complete zoo and embarrassment to our city to call these elected officials, new and old, shameful. As to the insurance issue, they are entitled to some benefits, all of them, for serving the city 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When you are entitled to something I would say you would accept it as well. Keep attending those meetings and maybe one day you will be in the seat you have so longed for.

November 20, 2010 at 9:19 a.m.

To Voters of Hamilton County and Concernedmomof2:

I would just ask you along with any taxpayers in this county realize everyone sitting on the board prior to this last election knew what benefits or lack there of they were entitled to receive and chose to vote themselves an extremely, costly benefits package. County tax payers should know all members of the previous board including Jim Adams and Geno Shipley voted for the personnel resolution allowing commissioners to take advantage of these benefits for them and their families. It should also be pointed out neither Jim Adams or Geno Shipley chose to take these benefits once they realized the financial burden it placed on the citizens of Soddy Daisy. Shane Harmon, Bob Privett, and David Skiles all chose to take these benefits after knowing the cost to taxpayers. As concernedmomof2 stated in an earlier response, all three of these gentlemen are successful businessmen, one of which made huge amounts of moneys doing the excavation work for the developer of the area across from Walmart. I find this to be an extreme coincidence that one of our commissioners would be able to land such a big job in which he had a hand in approving for development; this surely would show any taxpayer, especially our elderly who are on fixed incomes, they do not need to be paying for SUCCESSFUL businessmen’s benefits. All should realize none of these gentlemen serve the city 24 hours a day 7 days a week although anyone would be naïve to think it does not demand much of their time. Surely the businessmen you speak of understood the demands of these positions prior to launching their campaigns; otherwise I would think they would not have been as successful in their business endeavors. The “back pay” issue has been instituted by the defeated incumbents at an attempt to hurt the very taxpayers they were representing. You remember the signs “Working for the People”. Any future signs should read “Stealing from the People, Especially if I Lose”. As for Mayor Adams ability to run the meetings and your statements referring to such does prove you were not in attendance on the evening in question. I was in attendance and the meeting never got out of hand, and if you have ever attended these meetings in the past, you would know other mayors/commissioners i.e. Bob Privett has threatened members of the board as well as being loud and aggressive towards citizens during their comments. You are exactly right when you say we need to keep the meeting as professional as possible. I certainly feel that every commissioner on the board now is capable of accomplishing this type of orderly, respectful, and business like conduct. Hopefully none of these ladies and gentlemen will ever scream or be aggressive towards persons of the community like those of the recent past. I have lived in this city all of my life and love Soddy Daisy with all of my heart, which is the exact reason I chose to post these comments.

November 20, 2010 at 4:52 p.m.

Continued from above:

The taxpayers of this city along with those of the county deserve to know how past and current elected officials decide the expenditures of the very taxes we all have to pay. In the beginning of our democracy the elected offices were never intended on being self serving, but I fear this is what those offices have become. With this said, I just wanted the taxpayers of this city and county to understand the motives of these gentlemen and their feelings of entitlement if they ever decide to run for public office in the future keeping in mind they NEVER wanted their $300.00 to $350.00 a month salary until after their defeat. Concernedmomof2 seems to have a good grasp on the accounting issue at hand, but I’m not so sure of the moral aspect and motives of the two gentlemen making the request. Everyone please keep this in mind when voting in future elections.

November 20, 2010 at 4:53 p.m.
concernedmomof2 said...

To Theftbypolitician I have attended plenty of meetings, please don't thin I have no grasp of how professional anyone has been. I have seen passion in these men for causes they fight for. There has been two meetings with the new commissioners and mayor and there is lack of professionalism there. Hopefully this will continue to grow. It is shameful you continue on with your bitterness due to your defeats in the past for the positions you want. There has been nothing illegal done, they had a right to the insurance as well as the pay. If they opt in or out that is their option. Doesn't make them a saint for opting out, appears to me folks like you use it as a bribe to get your vote. As for the work done across from Wal-Mart, I have been involved in the bidding process and it isn't one that can just be handed to you. It involves lots of time, paperwork and meetings to ensure you are in line with the city stipulations to even be eligible to be considered for the winning bid. So that leads me to believe it was best for the city, and more than likely saved the city money for this business man to be awarded the job. It would take more than him to vote for it and I am sure if you look back on the records you would see that all in attendance were in favor of the bid. So take the personal resentment out of the picture and you might broaden your view of what all the men have done for the city past, present and future.

November 22, 2010 at 5:53 p.m.
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