published Friday, November 18th, 2011

Chattanooga: Councilman seeks guidance on Littlefield removal

by Cliff Hightower
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    Staff File Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Mayor Ron Littlefield makes his case to the city council about his police chief choice.

Should Chattanooga's mayor be removed from office until a recall election?

The chairman of the City Council’s Legal and Legislative Committee has raised questions about whether Mayor Ron Littlefield should be removed from office.

In an email to fellow council members this morning, Peter Murphy suggested the council may have to hire an outside attorney to help interpret city law on how to proceed now that a recall petition has been certified.

“There is the question of whether we have a ministerial duty to pass a resolution that would temporarily replace him [Littlefield] with Chairwoman [Pam] Ladd,” he wrote.

The question for council members is whether the charter states the mayor should be removed from office until a recall election in August 2012 or whether the mayor can continue to serve.

But Murphy noted that council members have to be cautious because there could be different interpretations of the City Charter.

Murphy wrote that that he has not come to any firm conclusion on whether the mayor should be ousted.

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jesse said...

paint some yellow footprints on the floor from the mayors the back door,then tell his honor there you go ,just follow them out the door.don't call us we will call you!!

November 18, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.
fairmon said...

uh oh..a darn if you do darn if you don't...The replacement is not impressive and supported Littlefield's agenda including what was called a modest increase in property taxes, sewer fees, storm water run off fees, increases in permits, inspections and other cost. An over 19% increase, excluding additional EPB and TAWC cost, to live in the city is not modest any way you slice it. It was not modest nor was it necessary. Ask your council member what the unfunded future liability tax payers face is.

November 18, 2011 at 4:27 p.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

In an email to fellow council members this morning, Peter Murphy suggested the council may have to hire an outside attorney to help interpret city law on how to proceed now that a recall petition has been certified.

Some morons have concluded the actual cost to be at a minimum to place an election on the 2012 ballot. They have such personal hatred for the mayor, as this has nothing to do with his leadership, that they didn't figure in the cost from a legal point. The word IDIOTS come to mind.

November 18, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
jennycrank said...

Still working on the legal degree and no expert but how does the chairman of the City's legal committee figure a council resolution can trump the city charter?

Any citizen can go to the city website and click on the council link to look at the city charter. It reads "...At such election, if some other person than the incumbent receives the highest number of votes, the incumbent shall therefrom be deemed removed from office upon qualification of his successors."

Clearly, the mayor is removed after the election if someone else gets more votes than the mayor. Talk aobut wasting money. They need an independent attorney to make this determination? Can they read?

I don't care if the mayor is recalled or not. I'm not sure if you end up with anyone better. Maybe you do. Maybe you get someone worse. What makes me sick is seeing people like murphy clearly playing politics. Just do your job. And, your job is not to facilitate the political agenda of your party, associates, or political click. Your job is to follow the laws and try to spend our money as prudently as possible. If you are not in it for that, then resign or at least don't run for office again. This is why so many people are upset with our government. STOP THE POLITICAL BS.

November 18, 2011 at 5:44 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

Title 8, section 30 of the city of Chattanooga's charter covers the succession of the office of mayor. It states:

"In the case of the mayor’s death, resignation, inability to serve for any reason, recall or removal of his or her residence from the city, upon such fact being certified by resolution of the council, the chairperson of the council shall become the interim mayor upon being administered the oath and making bond. Such person shall hold the office of the mayor on an interim basis until a new mayor is elected as provided in this Charter and qualified."

A later section, 8.36, states that the bond the Mayor has to secure is $10,000.

The city government is doing what the law says to do when the mayor cannot hold office for some reason. The main question at hand is whether or not Mayor Littlefield would get the benefit of the doubt as he attempts to appeal the latest ruling against him.

The city charter says that city council resolutions determine the timetable for interim mayorship. It does not mention anything about pending court appeals or grace periods for the ousted mayor.

He's out as soon as the city council votes to confirm that with a resolution.

That same law (charter 8.30) says that the special election has to occur between 90 and 120 days from the time the city council passes a resolution certifying the interim mayor.

Happy Valentine's Day, Chattanooga.

Or, beware the Ides of March.

The city can't legally wait until August. How it is that they are saying the election will be in August deserves an explanation.

The conditions exist which would allow the City Council to take action now. Should they? What if Mayor Littlefield wins an appeal, what then?

So, as soon as they've passed the resolution, she needs to provide the bond and get sworn in.

When she does get sworn in, watch out for round two: the newly appointed mayor has the authorization to recommend a restructuring of the government.

Under the recent back door deals with the Metro Payoff Club, this could be a dangerous situation for the average voter. Not only can the mayor hire and fire key officials, but they can recommend sweeping changes to the government that the city council would be obligated to vote on.

Look at the __ pulled during the past year. One of the first things that Old Chattanooga money is likely to do is to exploit the loss of Littlefield by institutionalizing the most profitable (for them) aspects of the city/county government separation that they've been using to pay themselves off with recently.

Take the $328,000 website for instance. As we look up the city charter at, we can all see that they haven't so much as coded and published a single page for the money we've provided them.

If they need to cover the cost of this recall election, they can recall all $328,000 paid out for that website. It's a good place to start on getting our money back.

November 18, 2011 at 7 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

My gut feeling guess is that this stalling (with maybe we should get a lawyer) is about buying time and forming a plan to exploit the powers of the interim mayorship in a way that pays off the existing old money politicos. They will find a way to turn this to their advantage. Watch them closely.

Or, if we get lucky, the interim mayor may use Section 8.39 of the charter which covers audits.

"The mayor may, as often as he may deem necessary, appoint not more than three (3) competent persons to examine without notice the affairs and accounts of any city officer or board, and the money, securities and property belonging to the city and in the possession or charge of such officer or board."

So, we'll see what the interim mayor chooses to do. She will either lay low and do nothing except drag her feet to get Old Money paid through the Metro Payoff Club, or we'll have a sudden audit which will publicly reveal what money went where under Mayor Littlefield.

We expect she'll do nothing. We all know who got paid off anyway.

November 18, 2011 at 7:11 p.m.
parkerfaroff said...

He is a brilliant man with horrendous judgement. There are no colleges that can teach good inherent judgement skills. He can read and wright very well. He is also a good speaker. If I were in politics and that many people wanted me out, I would go home and lick my wounds and run for the citys next dog catcher.

November 18, 2011 at 8:36 p.m.
shen said...

I hope the mayor fight and fight well to the very end. I'm willing to send a donation to help the fight. The people who signed that petition without dwelving into the truth of what all this is about should be ashamed of themselves. Especially those individuals in minority communities who signed.

November 18, 2011 at 9 p.m.
fedup350 said...

Littlefield is a pathetic little man to keep fighting. His overblown ego just wont let him quit. Really, really just makes him look even worse than he already does. His "legacy" will be one of corruption and greed and lack of moral character. To shen , quit trying to make this into a racial issue. It just makes your posts even more laughable than they are already. Here is some advise shen, when ronnie finally is kicked out and he tells you to drink the kool aid...go ahead and drink it buddy. it will taste just fine!

November 19, 2011 at 10:10 a.m.
fedup350 said...

Look at amnestiUSAF84 getting all brave and puffed up and calling people morons. What a manly man! Did you get your little liberal feelings hurt amnestiUSAF84 because someone disagreed with you?

November 19, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

Look at fedup, just rambling and rumblign on attacking anyone and everyone who doesn't agree with her monoronic, crazed views.

See you're on the defense a lot these days. LOL!

November 19, 2011 at 7:41 p.m.
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