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Commission Gets Tied Up In Senior Coalition Vote
by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chairman Louie Alford opened Monday night's County Commission meeting with a presentation of a resolution that was passed in December of 2009 commending our local law enforcement agencies. Sheriff Tim Gobble and several representatives from the Sheriff's Department were present for the special recognition.

Commissioner Ed Elkins announced that the Cleveland Civitan Club will be hosting the 2010 Bradley County Special Olympics on Saturday, April 24, 2010 at Cleveland High School from 9 a.m. to Noon. Volunteers are still needed and anyone wishing to do so may contact Gary McDonald at 423-339-2885.

Commissioner Connie Wilson announced that an Open House will be held at the newly renovated Valley View Elementary from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, 2010.

After a short presentation from County Engineer Sandra Knight, Commissioner Jim Smith made a motion to hand over the deed to SETHRA (city transportation) for a triangle shaped plot of land that extends into the road on Edwards Street. This will allow SETHRA and the city transportation system to receive final monies on current grants. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Howard Thompson then turned the discussion to a mass e-mail that was sent by two school board members to several hundred Bradley County employees. This e-mail was urging everyone to vote, but to make sure that each person talked with their commissioners and other employees to be sure that all details are brought out into the open. The e-mail went on to promote candidate Lisa Stanbery for Mayor. Thompson referenced Tennessee Code Annotated 2-19-202, which states that "It is unlawful for any public officer or employee to use such person's official position, authority or influence to interfere with an election or nomination for office or directly or indirectly attempt to intimidate, coerce or command any other officer or employee to vote for or against any measure, party or person, or knowingly receive or pay assessments of any kind or character for political purposes or for election expenses from any other officer or employee." Thompson then stated that he wished for the District Attorney Steve Beb to review the situation and find out if there was an ethics violation in this action.

Commissioner Mark Hall updated the commission of the Brian McAmis insurance claim. McAmis' son was injured while playing football for a county league. After much miscommunication, McAmis was sued for not paying a hospital bill that the Bradley County Parks and Recreation insurance was supposed to cover. Hall has been in touch with all parties, including County Attorney Joe Byrd. Byrd has managed to speak with the insurance company and Nationwide Insurance has agreed to revisit the case.

After turning to the first item on the regular agenda, Thompson asked Demetrius Ramsey, Executive Director of Bradley/Cleveland Community Services Agency to come to the podium to address the services already set in place for senior citizens in our area. This came in accordance with Commissioner Lisa Stanbery's resolution to form a joint city/county senior citizens coalition.

Ramsey stated that currently, Bradley/Cleveland Services offers home delivered meals and in a single day, will deliver over 100 meals to area seniors and disabled adults. Energy assistance is also provided, not only to the elderly and people with disabilities, but extends to those who fall below the poverty level. This year, 1,714 households have been served so far. Affordable housing is also available through this service. There are 32 units in Bradley County and 8 units in McMinn County. Weatherization of homes is also provided and $1.2 million has been allocated for weatherization use this year. A community shelter is available for use on Wildwood Avenue and in Cleveland there is a bi-monthly distribution of USDA surplus foods that serves around 700 people.

Bradley/Cleveland Services also provides a Congregate Nutrition Program for seniors. This program provides a nutritionally balanced meal, crafts, health promotion, seminars, field trips, bingo and socialization time. It is free of charge to anyone 60 years of age or over. In Bradley County, the sites for these activities are the Senior Center and a location on Walker Street.

After hearing the presentation, Commissioner Jim Smith made a substitute motion to postpone this vote until this matter could be reviewed further and after more information is obtained. Smith stated that he believed what Stanbery proposed was a duplication of services and that her resolution would "usurp" the Bradley/Cleveland Community Services Agency.

Ramsey stated that he was not opposed to Stanbery's resolution, but he felt like there was already a coalition in place through United Way.

The substitute motion failed with a 7-7 tie. However, the original motion to accept the resolution also failed with 7-7 tie.

A motion to authorize Mayor D. Gary Davis to sign a 3 year Quality Correctional Health Care contract for inmate medical services and a resolution for a partial payment system for property taxes passed unanimously.

The Bradley County Commission will hold their next meeting at Noon on Monday, April 12 at the Courthouse.