Arp's Theory Part III

At least one of County Mayor Doyle Arp's schemes to dominate and control county government fell flat at Monday's commission meeting. Apparently commissioners refused to lock step behind Arp's absurd policy for hindering, delaying and denying the public's right to public records. In fact all ten commissioners voted to remove his proposal from the agenda sighting a host of problems with his resolution. Several commissioners spoke very strongly in opposition to the mayor's plan and in favor of the public's rights, openness and transparency in government indicating Arp's plan failed to do this. Arp was not at the meeting. The resolution that was presented at Monday's meeting had been altered from the earlier version adding language that would enforce Arp's plan not just for the County mayor's office but also "the offices of all appointed department heads." Another little proviso added to the new version stated: "Notwithstanding the foregoing, as a courtesy to its citizens, the County will provide up to twenty-four (24) minutes of personnel time per month, per requester, at no charge." I assume this was suppose to appease those who oppose Arp's plan. The latter was incorrectly reported on as allowing for 24 free copies per month.

The laws pertaining to public records are so very simple.

TCA 10-7-503........All state, county and municipal records . . . shall at all times, during business hours, be open for personal inspection by any citizen of Tennessee, and those in charge of such records shall not refuse such right of inspection to any citizen.........

TCA-10-7-506 In all cases where any person has the right to inspect any such public records, such person shall have the right to take extracts or make copies thereof, and to make photographs or photostats of the same while such records are in the possession, custody and control of the lawful custodian thereof or such custodian's authorized deputy; provided, that the lawful custodian of such records shall have the right to adopt and enforce reasonable rules governing the making of such extracts, copies, photographs or photostats.
Arp seems to be the only one who wants to make things complicated. The mayor has already spent thousands and thousands of tax dollars on court and legal fees trying to defend and implement his illegal policy. The true cost is unknown because the mayor's office has refused access to these records. In fact the cost paid in legal fees thus far would have paid for 400,000 copies at 5 cents each. That would be 133,333 copies for each member of the "Triple A Club" as Arp likes to call them. It may have been a lot cheaper for the tax payers to have just let citizens have the copies. Several attorneys with the legal firm representing Arp also contributed to his campaign fund.

Even after Monday's commission meeting and after commission making their views clear that they do not support Arp's proposal, there still seems to be a problem getting requested information. For several years now, after the adoption of the new county fiscal budget, I have asked for and received county salary information. As a commissioner this was valuable information. In fact this was how I first discovered that Mr. Arp as property assessor had issued unauthorized raises and added extra staff to his payroll.

The mayor still seems to be throwing up obstacles to obtaining records. See the string below.

Subj: Salaries 
Date: 2/7/2007 11:04:44 AM Eastern Standard Time


Hope you and yours are well.

I would guess by now, the lawsuits with Niles and Guider have been all settled and worked out. I would like to get the updated salary list reflecting the changes after the lawsuit settlement if possible. An attachment in Excel format works fine for me.


Subj: RE: Salaries 
Date: 2/8/2007 4:32:22 PM Eastern Standard Time

Hi Van,
The County Mayor requires that all requests for information should be submitted to his office.  A form for this purpose is attached.  Please complete and forward to the County Mayor's office.  If you prefer to do this electronically, you may.  As you see, the County Mayor and his assistant are included as recipients of this message. 



Subj: Re: Salaries 
Date: 2/8/2007 5:01:48 PM Eastern Standard Time

Tracy, Doyle, Brenda or whomever,

Thanks for your response. However I am not aware of any policies pertaining to public records that have been adopted by the Loudon County Commission. The only information I am may legally be required to provide to view or obtain public records is proof of Tennessee residency. My Tn. drivers licenses number is 45458911.

My request is for the updated 06-07 salary information after lawsuit settlements for the county. As in the past, an electronic attachment in standard Excel format will be fine.

Thank you for your prompt attention to my request.

Van Shaver
568 Ford Road
Lenoir City, Tn. 37772

We'll have to wait and see how this turns out. How much longer can the mayor continue to hide from the inevitable?