Free city auditor to do job freely
Independence is the foundation that allows government auditors to provide decision makers and the public with unbiased, accurate, credible information on the use of public funds and results of public programs. A proposed amendment to the charter of the City of Chattanooga, on the Aug. 2 ballot, would provide multiple safeguards to improve the independence of its internal audit function.
Presently, Chattanooga's internal audit function reports to the mayor, a political position, and the city auditor's access to records and personnel is dependent upon the mayor's delegation of authority. The amendment provides for the city auditor's unrestricted access to employees and city data. Another key provision of the charter amendment would improve audit independence by establishing an audit committee, comprised of knowledgeable citizens, and requiring the Office of Internal Audit to report jointly to the audit committee, mayor, council, and the citizens.
The City of Chattanooga charter does not currently provide protections from the threat of undue influence by those under review; however, Government Auditing Standards, the Institute of Internal Auditors, and the State of Tennessee advocate reporting to an independent audit committee.
We urge the citizens of Chattanooga to vote for the amendment to create an independent audit committee and Office of Internal Audit.
CRAIG D. KINTON, City Auditor, Dallas, Texas
Advocacy Committee Chairman Association of Local Government Auditors
Senators' support of treaty unsettling
Are you aware that both of our senators, Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, support the LOST Treaty?
The Law of the Sea Treaty will be devastating to America for three main reasons: it compromises U.S. sovereignty, it gives undue power to the United Nations, and it will deter much-needed investment in offshore resources. You must do everything in your power to prevent this treaty from being implemented.
We always have supported both these senators as well as other Republicans, but what is the point if they vote with the extreme left in giving up the rights Americans have died for to U.N. dictators that the American people have no control over?
JOHN E. PECKINPAUGH, Hixson
Vital slip more like 'Fraudian'
I pay attention to what the candidates say. I found the words used by Greg Vital, who is running for state Senate District 10 to be very interesting. It seems that Mr. Vital has basically been spreading an untruth concerning his prior education. It seems clear he was saying he graduated from college and had said that time and time again. It was in his biography and he made those statements during campaign events, and when he got caught he called it a Freudian slip. I think he should have just called it a "Fraudian" slip because he lied. It wasn't an error; it wasn't a one-time mistake but a continual long-term lie.
This man is running to become a state senator to tackle some of the big issues we will face in the future, but he can't even tell the truth about whether or not he got a college diploma. It makes one wonder what kind of character this man has. If he would lie about this, what wouldn't he lie about? I truly do not think Mr. Vital is the kind of person to be elected to represent us. I hope my fellow voters in the 10th District feel the same as I.
JOHN ALLEN BROOKS
Career of service makes Acuff worthy
If you've ever had to appear before a judge, then you definitely believe justice matters. Whether innocent or guilty, all parties are hoping and praying for a judge who is going to listen to all the facts and administer justice fairly.
"Justice matters" is the building block upon which Mike Acuff, candidate for Soddy-Daisy judge, has built his entire career. He has served as both a prosecution and defense attorney in addition to being in the Army and Army Reserves for over 35 years, most recently as an Army JAG officer. Mike is committed to a diligent and unbiased legal system for all.
Susan Acuff, Mike's wife, is a school psychologist at Daisy Elementary and Soddy-Daisy High School, and his three children graduated from SDHS. Mike is a quiet, humble man of integrity. He loves his wife, family, friends, church and community.
He has a strong commitment to service and has worked with the Interfaith Hospitality Network and Gideons. Recently he coordinated the efforts of our Sunday school class to provide a meal for children and youth at the Bethlehem Community Center.
Mike's background and career of service makes him highly suitable to be a Soddy-Daisy judge.
TAMMY ZUMBRUN, Soddy-Daisy
Starnes is most qualified for job
I have known Gary Starnes for years. Gary has all the qualifications for Sessions Court judge. He will be fair to the people and lawyers who appear in his court and will be accessible to all.
He already has experience in both Chattanooga City courts and Hamilton County General Sessions Court as he frequently serves as a special judge in these courts. In doing so he has heard thousands of cases as a special judge. He has the energy and stamina to handle the high-demand workload. And this will be needed, as there were 37,000 new criminal cases filed in Sessions Court in 2011. I can assure the residents of Hamilton County that Gary is the most qualified for the job of Hamilton County General Sessions Court judge.
Bennett aims to do best possible job
Bill Bennett and I attended the same high school in Cookeville, Tenn. We became great friends at that time. I enjoyed our friendship then, and I am proud to say that through the years, we have continued that association that now extends to our families as well.
Bill has proven to be a wonderful husband and father, and an honest and committed public servant. In many years of service to our county, his interest and focus always have been doing the best possible for its citizens. He certainly deserves continuing as our county's Assessor of Property.
Our governor, Bill Haslam, has enough confidence in Bill to appoint him to the Tennessee State Board of Equalization. He was appointed to a three-year term in July of 2011. He is the only assessor in Tennessee to be so honored. For these and many other reasons, I heartily support and recommend my friend Bill Bennett for Hamilton County Assessor of Property.
Democrats provide programs for all
I am a proud Democrat. I believe Democrats consistently show foresight and progress in governing.
Democratic administrations provided Social Security and Medicare. More than 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty before Social Security. Many seniors went to an early grave before Medicare.
Democrats gave us 40-hour work weeks; overtime pay; minimum wages; child labor laws and equal pay for women. Before the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers could overwork employees 14 hours a day, six days a week.
The GI Bill, women's right to vote, student loan program and Civil Rights Act -- all from Democratic administrations.
The Tennessee Valley Authority was created by a Democratic administration. TVA generates electricity but it also provided jobs that lifted many out of poverty in this community.
I am proud that Democrats care about seniors, wage earners, soldiers, the poor, women and all races.
Most Republicans were against these programs, withholding services that Democrats wanted to provide for the average person. Today, Republicans want to privatize everything, transferring power to just a few instead of working for the common good of all the people.
Perhaps you should take another look at how Democrats have helped your family.
LINDA PATRICK, Cleveland, Tenn.