tic-tac-toe: county overturns mayor veto

Published 4:15 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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The county is back to square one in dealing with quarterly reports from Claiborne road superintendent Ronnie Pittman. And, it looks as though Claiborne finance officer Angelia Tucker is again required to submit monthly reports listing all check disbursements. However, the adoption of a new resolution has upped the ante for the sheriff and the county mayor, who are now required to submit monthly, rather than quarterly reports detailing certain aspects of their respective offices.

The new resolution also requires each of the 21 county commissioners to submit monthly reports of interactions between themselves and their constituency. However, the commissioners will be spared from creating a “Constituency Contact Log” as proposed by county mayor Joe Brooks.

The Claiborne Commission voted 18 to 3 Monday evening to overturn the county mayor’s veto of resolution 2019-091. Commissioners Whitt Shuford, Charlton Vass and Nathan Epperson were in favor of allowing the veto to stand.

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One of two partner resolutions up for consideration – resolution 2020-011 – as amended, was adopted by a vote of 16 to 5. Commissioners Shuford, Vass, Epperson, Shawn Peters and Steve Murphy voted against the document.

The long and winding road to this point began in December when a resolution was adopted, requiring Pittman to submit quarterly reports detailing work being done with money raised through the county wheel tax. Just prior to the vote, commissioner Kim Large amended the resolution to include quarterly reports from the sheriff and county mayor. The proposed document was further amended by commissioner Steve Mason to include monthly reports of every check sent from the county finance office.

Mayor Brooks drafted a letter, dated Dec. 24, explaining why he had vetoed the resolution. In the letter, he proposed two new resolutions. The first one would have acted as an amendment to the original 2015 wheel tax resolution apparently fixing an oversight by requiring quarterly reports from Pittman.

That resolution was indefinitely tabled Monday evening by commissioners Carolyn Brooks and Shawn Peters, who made the motion and second. The motion carried with a vote of 20 to 1. Commissioner Vass was the lone no vote.

It is safe to assume that this resolution was not needed once the veto was overturned, reestablishing the requirements for reports.

Discussion of resolution 1010-011, the second document proposed by the county mayor, brought with it a determination that the required constituency contact log be stricken from the resolution. Some of the commissioners said that residents inside their individual districts had made it clear that they did not want their names listed on such a log.

It was suggested by the county mayor that monthly district town hall meetings, staggered a week or so prior to the monthly commission meetings, could be better-used to disseminate information to the public.

The commission decided to add language to this resolution, requiring that commissioners submit reports of all pertinent goings-on during the various county committee meetings. Nearly all the commissioners sit on at least one committee each month.

The full story will appear in the Feb. 5 edition of the Claiborne Progress and on our website at: www.claiborneprogress.net.