Rico, Berz eye City Council leadership posts

Rico, Berz eye City Council leadership posts

April 5th, 2010 by Cliff Hightower , Dan Whisenhunt in Blogsmetrochatt

City Councilman Manny Rico told his colleagues Tuesday he is running for the position of chairman for next year, and Councilwoman Carol Berz said she wants to be considered for vice chairwoman.

Council members discussed the leadership positions Tuesday at the end of the council's committee meetings. Jack Benson is the current chairman and Mr. Rico is the vice chairman. Both will be giving up those position within the next two weeks.

Council members said Councilwoman Sally Robinson also could be interested in the vice chairwoman post. She was absent Tuesday because of illness.

The talk of the chairmanships began after Councilman AndraƩ McGary asked for transparency on who was running for what position.

"A discussion about our leadership should be out in the open," he said.

More talks about the leadership positions could come again this week.

Elmore honored

Chattanooga resident Bob Elmore, 85, is a man known for his humor and his service to his hometown. On Thursday, the Hamilton County Commission recognized the former president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau and author of "A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to The National Cemetery" for his efforts.

"We thank you for all your contributions to the county," Mayor Claude Ramsey said. "You've been a tireless promoter of this entire region."

Mr. Elmore said promoting the city comes naturally.

"I love Chattanooga," he said. "I love promoting Chattanooga."

Where's the swine?

While City Council members talked about leadership roles for the City Council on Tuesday, Mr. Benson said whoever takes the role needs to have good relationships with the city's administration.

Why?

Because while the council controls paying out the money, the executive branch controls where the money goes, he said.

"There's a lot of pork out there," Mr. Benson said.

This came as a surprise to Councilwoman Deborah Scott.

"I haven't seen any pork," she said. "I haven't seen it, I haven't touched it, I haven't sniffed it."

The council members burst out in laughter.

Smith speaks to pachyderms

At Monday's regular meeting of the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club, 3rd Congressional District candidate Robin Smith ticked off a list of her conservative credentials and said "it's a good time to be a Republican, period."

The 2010 election is about "taking back our country," she said. Republicans deserved the stinging defeat they received in the 2006 mid-term elections, she added.

"When Republicans act like Democrats, they should be penalized like Democrats," she said.

You're either for us or against us, well ... maybe neither

Mr. Benson told the City Council on Tuesday night that he would allow three people to speak who are opposed to the city giving a contract to Chief Freeman Cooper.

He said he would also allow three people to speak who were for the city giving Chief Cooper a contract. The council was on the verge of voting on a three-year contract for Chief Cooper at the salary of $116.822 annually.

Gene Hayes, a resident of Stonewall Farms in Hixson, got up to speak.

"I would like to see the sheriff take over the department," Mr. Hayes said.

The room was silent for a few seconds.

"I don't know if that's 'for' or 'against,'" Mr. Benson said.

Compiled by staff writers Cliff Hightower and Dan Whisenhunt. Cliff Hightower can be contacted at chightower@timesfreepress.com. Dan Whisenhunt can be contacted at dwhisenhunt@timesfreepress.com.