published Monday, February 4th, 2013

Letter: Response to Free Press editorial

Tim Gobble, East Ridge City Manager

Today, top-level city staff in East Ridge were recklessly accused of wrong-doing in a Times Free Press editorial opinion piece (Feb. 2) by Drew Johnson without the true facts.

The complete records, audits, back-up documentation and budget prove we operated within policy guidelines and the law. For instance, purchases such as a Coke and candy bar were while on legitimate city business and were in place of full meals or more per diem to which the employee would have otherwise been entitled, saving the city money. This is all documented and proven.

All hiring practices are within guidelines and no personnel policy or procedures were violated. This can be proven.

Community Center and McBrien Elementary expenditures are appropriate and for official city purposes. This can be proven.

Occasional directors, chiefs working lunch meetings with legal counsel and others are clearly justifiable and for official purposes and within credit card use policy guidelines.

The city manager is a legal resident of the city of ER pursuant to the terms of his contract. He pays rent in ER for an apartment just like 47% of other residents, votes in ER and has a drivers license with his residence listed by the state as East Ridge. His family resides in Cleveland pending the sale of his residence and his daughter finishing high school. He regularly attends church in Cleveland. By contract, he may drive his city provided vehicle for limited personal use. The council is fully informed and aware of the city managers family residence and church situation. There is no contractual requirement for his family to live in East Ridge. The city manager does reside in ER and has been for nearly two years with the council's support.

As far as the city code being on the MTAS website, the Administration and Finance Department made the decision not to pay MTAS $200 to put a code up that was outdated with wrong information by over a decade. The new codification process was underway and it saved the city money by not paying the $200 until the updated version was ready in a few months. There was no conspiracy by staff to keep anyone in the dark about any code. All codes have been followed to every reasonable possibility by every city employee to our knowledge.

Bottom line: city staff is doing the job appropriately and within policy, procedure and the law. Since (I) became city manager, the city has gone from a $600,000 General Fund deficit to a $917,000 General Fund surplus and spent 15 percent less than budgeted to spend last year, a testament to good management. The city is in the best overall financial condition it has been in for the last 20 years.

City staff looks forward to addressing each false reckless allegation made by Drew Johnson, line by line and has documentation, receipts, audits, budgets, policy guidelines and other documentation to prove we do things right.

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ordinaryguy said...

Hats off to Mr. Gobble for responding to the tabloid like journalism of Drew Johnson...a good reporter would have named names on the jeans purchase, not make insinuations without backing them up...also the attack on Mr. Phillips and former TFP journalist Mr. Martin were the Piers Morgan type of journalism that has become the norm at the TFP news department...Mr. Gobble is doing a remarkable job at turning East Ridge into a city that is not just a place to grab a quick bite to eat while traveling the interstate...

February 4, 2013 at 2:31 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Gobble, have a sit down video-taped interview with Drew Johnson. You bring your supporting documents; Drew will bring his.

Let's see who's lying. Up for it Gobble? Your choice.

Write letters, feign umbrage, or have a man-to-man interview.

Either you'll make a fool out of Johnson or you'll be the fool.

If you choose not to do an interview, we'll know who's lying.

February 4, 2013 at 3:38 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

And Gobble, do the interview now, before the East Ridge City Council votes on your contract.

And don't send staff to do your job, don't send piles of paper, don't send your Director of Communications, send yourself to defend yourself.

Post your response here by Tuesday, February 5th, 2013. Will you do a taped interview or not?

Simple question. Or do you need to consult with ex-East Ridge Attorney John Anderson first?

What's it going to be? Truth or consequences?

February 4, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.
Plato said...

Drew Johnson is a loose cannon. I really don't understand why he is the Free Press editor.

February 4, 2013 at 5:48 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

If Drew Johnson is a loose cannon, maybe Tim Gobble can tighten him up.

All Tiny Tim has to do is sit down for a taped interview with Drew, provide his support for the questions raised, be questioned (imagine Meet the Press), and Tiny Tim can go back to East Ridge (or wherever he lives) as the cock-of-the-walk. Can Tiny Tim do that? Or what's Timmy hiding? Will Timmy agree? Will Timmy's star whine bright? Will Timmy man-up?

Stay tuned for another episode of "As the Turkey Trots", the story about a man, city credit cards, and the people who stroke his ego.

February 4, 2013 at 6:53 p.m.
Facts said...

Having family who live in Cleveland and have worked directly with former Sheriff Gobble, the truth has been revealed. Don't create a fake argument around Drew Johnson. The facts are that those who keep running to be employed by the government are not to be trusted. Tim Gobble is just one. We need the paper to expose more of these corrupt people making a living off our taxes! KEEP IT UP!!!! I'll pay more for my subscription gladly if you print the truth.

February 4, 2013 at 9:41 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

daytonsdarwin sounds suspiciously like a current commissioner

February 5, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Time's a wasting, Timmy. Going to man up to met Drew Johnson for a face-to-face interview? Going to bring your supporting documents?

If you've have time for Facebook to address your fan club, surely you can find time between working-out and eating lunch on the taxpayer's dime to sit down with Mr. Johnson.

What's that, Timmy? There's employees to yell at, criminal cases to be compromised, cokes and candy bars to buy, but you can't spare your time for newspaper coverage where you, Tim Gobble, get to promote East Ridge and the wonderful accomplishments you made?

Here's your chance, Tim. Show your stuff. Do the interview and post it on your Facebook page for all the world to see.

I know you're reading this Tim. With your ego, you can't help it.

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .

February 5, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.
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