Missy Crutchfield censure effort fails

Missy Crutchfield censure effort fails

November 3rd, 2010 by Cliff Hightower in Politics Local

Department of Education, Arts & Culture Administrator Missy Crutchfield should be censured for running an online for-profit publication with city resources on city time, a City Council member said Tuesday.

But the move died in the Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee because of lack of support.

"I personally don't recommend termination," Councilwoman Deborah Scott told council members. "But I do recommend censure."

The debate lasted for half an hour, with council members questioning whether they could even censure a department head. Some council members suggested placing a letter in her personnel file, stating that she made a mistake in judgment.

Scott withdrew her motion, saying she did not "hear five favorable people" for her idea. It takes five votes from the council to approve a measure.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield, said he does not expect the mayor to place a letter in Crutchfield's personnel file.

"The mayor has already taken action," he said.

Crutchfield said afterward she hopes everyone will be able to move forward.

"I'm glad it's over," she said. "It's been a learning experience. It's been a painful learning experience."

Almost a month ago, Crutchfield admitted using city time and resources to work on her online publication Be Magazine. Two city audits concluded she had violated at least two city policies and could have violated two more.

In other action, the City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday to accept a parcel of land off 11th Street next to the old Farmer's Market. JH Holdings, based in Illinois, is donating the property to Chattanooga.

But the site is a brownfield that may be contaminated by chemicals, so the city must pay almost $10,000 a year to monitor wells at the location.

Scott voted against the proposal, saying she does not like the cost of monitoring.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CliffHightower.