Commissioners split 5-4 on hiring

Commissioners split 5-4 on hiring

October 4th, 2009 by Adam Crisp, Cliff Hightower, Matt Wilson and Andy Johns in Blogsmetrochatt

Just before a 5-4 vote Thursday to fill a recently vacated spot in the Hamilton County Commission office, Commissioner Jim Coppinger asked Chairman Curtis Adams whether he had gotten approval for the position from the county Human Resources Department.

Mr. Adams, who had come down from the dais to the podium, pointed to Rebecca Hunter, the county's human resources administrator. He said she had recommended the job title - administrative assistant - and salary range of $29,799 to $37,248 per year

Mr. Coppinger asked Ms. Hunter to speak for herself, but Mr. Adams said there was no need.

"She doesn't need to be put in the middle of a commission wrangle," the chairman said.

Commissioners Bill Hullander and Richard Casavant also questioned why the resolution was not sent through a committee and came straight up for a vote.

"I think taking two weeks to vote on an issue is a healthy thing," Dr. Casavant said.

Mr. Adams said he believed the outcome would have been the same no matter how long the commission took to consider it.

"That's unfortunate," Dr. Casavant said.

fair draws crowd

About 40,000 people attended the Hamilton County Fair last weekend, according to Mike Dunne, spokesman for County Mayor Claude Ramsey.

Saturday's rain kept the crowd small - the fair eventually shut down anyway - but about 31,000 came to the fair on Sunday after the weather cleared, Mr. Dunne said in a news release.

"All of Saturday's acts that were unable to perform due to the storms that swept the region asked if they could come back and perform at the 21st Hamilton County Fair in 2010," Mr. Dunne said.

mayor talks health

Mayor Ron Littlefield spent a half-hour Monday talking about the city's health care programs on the Internet radio show called "U.S. Mayortime," hosted by Tom Cochran.

Mr. Littlefield talked about how the city is offering health care through its two clinics and its pharmacy. Asked if it has helped lower costs, Mr. Littlefield said it has provided some help.

"It has stabilized health costs, at least," he said.

Mr. Littlefield said the use of the clinics also showed success.

"They stay booked all the time, so we know it's working," he said.

He also said some unions have talked in the past about wanting more benefits and he has pointed out that one good benefit for employees is the clinics.

"I just can't do any better than free," Mr. Littlefield said.

NEW FACE OF THE CHAMBER

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce introduced a new face of the Chamber last week, and it isn't even a real person.

Edie Chambers, a virtual staff person, is the new face of the Chamber and will be posting on Twitter, said J.Ed. Marston, spokesman for the Chamber.

Mr. Marston said two real staff members will be posting as Edie Chambers. The posting began last week.

So far, some of the posts include: "Money Magazine put Chattanooga in its Top 25 places to retire," "Anybody notice Chattanooga featured in Industry Week magazine?" and "New business on Frazier. My Color Image grand opening tomorrow."

Mr. Marston said Ms. Chambers could have her own Facebook page in the future as well. But right now, she wants to focus on Twitter, he said.

"We'll start off with this," Mr. Marston said.

Wamp is friend of the valley

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., has received the Janice L. Jones Friend of the Valley award for his commitment to replace the Chickamauga lock.

The Tennessee River Valley Association announced the decision to honor Rep. Wamp last week.

A news release stated that Rep. Wamp continues to fight for funding to help restore the aging lock at the Chicka-mauga Dam.

The formal presentation of the award will be held during the 43rd annual TRVA meeting on Oct. 20, in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

WOMEN'S CLUB HOLDING luncheon

The Greater Chattanooga Democratic Women's Club will host its annual luncheon at noon on Oct. 17 in the Imperial Ballroom of the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, officials said.

The keynote speaker will be state Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis. Sen. Marrero has served in the Senate since 2006 and previously served in the state House from 2003 to 2006.

Cost is $35 a person or $350 for a reserved table of eight. Anyone interested should contact Pat Combs at 423-870-4097 or pcombs12@comcast.net.

Attendees are encouraged to RSVP by Wednesday.

The annual luncheon, held each fall, is the club's primary fundraising event, according to a club news release.

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT

Phil Spencer, a candidate in Tuesday's Catoosa Utility District election, touted his pilot's license as a reason people should vote for him to serve on the water board.

"That doesn't make me smart, but it lets you know I'm willing to work to get what I want to get," he said.

Littlefield/ramsey bond

City Mayor Littlefield says his relations with County Mayor Ramsey are strong, despite differences on annexation.

Mr. Littlefield said he knew county commissioners would be opposed to his plan to grow the city's boundaries.

"That's traditional, if nothing else, for the county to be opposed to municipal annexation," he said.

Despite that difference, Mr. Littlefield said the two men still are trusted allies.

"We work together on so many things that have to do with economic development ... the rest of this is just politics, except that it has to do with the efficiency of government," Mr. Littlefield said. "I know that we agree on that, on how to be more efficient."

Mr. Littlefield shared the comments following a meeting Friday of the Southeast Tennessee Political Action Committee. Mr. Ramsey was the featured speaker.