|Why Not Arp ?
The very reason I chose to run for County Mayor was
because I didn't feel the other candidates, Arp or Aikens, would be the
best people to occupy the Mayor's office at this crucial time in the
history of Loudon County. In fact I felt that one of them would
be a disaster for the leadership of the county. Had I felt either was
qualified to be County Mayor, I would not have run myself.
Given that Mr. Arp by all accounts is the front runner to be the next
County Mayor, I feel I should share my views as to why I could not and
will not support Mr. Arp in the August election. I feel Mr. Arp is more
a part of what's wrong with County government then what's right with
Being the County Mayor is about commitment. Commitment to the job and
commitment to the people of Loudon County. Mr. Arp is currently in his
third marriage. This, with no thought to the moral implications
certainly shows a lack of commitment to the most important of life's
events, marriage and family. If a man can so easily turn his back on
such a fundamental aspect of life, one could only question how sincere
his commitment could possibly be to the County Mayor's job.
Statements by some of his close friends and some family members made it
clear that the over riding reason Mr. Arp wanted the mayor's job was to
enhance the amount of his retirement benefits, given that retirement
benefits are based on your final five years of employment. And of course
the Mayor's salary is substantially higher than his current assessor's
Poor Management ?
Mr. Arp by all accounts is rarely to be found in his office leaving the
operations of his office to subordinates. We should only expect the same
if he were Mayor. Under his leadership his office expenditures have
risen more than $130,000.00 over the last six years yet his staff has
stayed virtually the same.
After hiring his current wife ($29,815.00) to work in his office and
putting her in charge of personal property appraisals, that work was
subcontracted to a private company (Tax Management Associates). Over the
last six years this contracted work has cost the tax payers over
$300,000.00 yet even though Mr. Arp has subbed out a large part of his
work, his staff has not been reduced in fact as mentioned above his
department expenditures have continued to rise. Incidentally the costs
for the subcontracted company was not reflected in his annual budget.
When asked why the expenditures didn't show up in his budget he simply
stated, he didn't know. The company contracted to preform the appraisals
was hired without taking competitive bids. Mr. Arp even took a campaign
contribution from a marketing director at Tax Management Associates.
Good ol Boys?
In January of 05 a long time employee of Mr. Arp's retired and a new
employee was hired. However the retired employee continued to work in
Mr. Arp's office as a "contracted employee" for several months until the
matter was brought to the attention of the Commission. The retention of
the retired employee as a "contracted employee" was a violation of The
Department of Labor contract employee regulations and a violation of
State law which regulates the number of employees the Assessor's office is
permitted to hire. Subsequently the Commission was forced to add over
$10,000.00 to Mr. Arps budget to pay for the illegal employee.
Near the end of the 03-04 fiscal year Mr. Arp issued a $5,000.00 raise
to one of his employees without consent or knowledge of the budget
committee or the commission. This was a 25% pay increase while all other
county employees received the standard 3% raise.
This same employee is currently under indictment for DUI and theft under
five hundred dollars. The indictment stems from a 2005 incident where it
is alleged that the employee was discovered stealing building materials
from a job site in Loudon. When approached by the Loudon Police officer
the employee fled the scene with the stolen building material. He was
shortly apprehended and arrested for his crime. This is actually his
second DUI. This employee is currently employed by Mr. Arp as a
"Measurer & Lister." The employee currently drives a County car on a
daily basis and by law is permitted to enter into anyone's home in the
County. This matter was brought to the attention of the Commission by a
letter from a concerned citizen who felt he might be using his position
to "case" other sites for thefts. The Commission asked Mayor Miller to
share our concerns with Mr. Arp about this matter. Mr. Arp's response
was "ah he's a pretty good kid." The case is not scheduled for trial
until January 07.
Special Interests ?
In a conversation with one of Mr. Arp’s senior employees about how
property values are derived, I was told the following. And I quote "you
have to work with developers. You can't just hit them with big
assessments till they have time to sell some of the property. Besides in
a place like Rarity Point it's hard to establish a value till more
properties are sold to get some idea of their value. Besides you can
only change property values every four years." Giving big breaks to
developers is not my idea of good business.
And there are lots of other issues that I just cannot agree with Mr.
Arp's views on. Morally and ethically, Mr. Arp stands a stark 180
degrees from most views I hold true.
Just Sour Grapes ?
I know the first impression some will have who read this is that I am
just suffering from “sour grapes.” You might ask, if all the afore
mentioned information is true and if I had this information before the
primary election, why didn’t I use it then. To be honest, shortly after
beginning my campaign it became obvious that Mr. Arp had very little
support from most quarters of the County. Fairly or unfairly the few
people I met who even knew who Mr. Arp was held very little respect for
him feeling that in his capacity as tax assessor he had their property
overly appraised causing their taxes to be artificially high. In fact
after visiting over three thousand homes and meeting and conversing with
countless number of individuals all over Loudon County I only met three
people who admitted they were going to vote for Mr. Arp. The first was a
very nice young lady in Loudon who politely told me she had heard a lot
of nice things about me but Mr. Arp was her uncle and she felt she had
to vote for her uncle. The second was an older gentleman again from
Loudon who said he felt I was the most qualified and best man for the
job but his family and the Arp family had been friends for many years
and due to their friendship he would have to vote for Arp. The third was
a financially challenged individual who stated that Mr. Arp had “helped
him out” on his property appraisal. Given my impression from all I had
heard there was really no reason to point out the flaws in Mr. Arps
character or leadership. It seemed that most were fully aware his
abilities of the lack there of.
Now that it seems we may very well be on the verge of an Arp
administration, I feel it is very important that the voters have as much
information about the candidates as possible to better make an informed
decision about the leadership of Loudon County.
Please remember, I am not trying to tell anyone why they should not
support Mr. Arp in August. I am just simply stating why I did not nor
will not be supporting Mr. Arp.
In my opinion, Mr. Arp is motivated entirely by self interest and
special interest. If you doubt the special interest please click on the
link below to view the list of campaign contributors to Mr. Arp’s
campaign. Mr. Arp's Campaign Contributors
We've all heard the old saying, "you get what you pay for." Well, here’s
another saying you can count on, " you get what you vote for."