Be Very Cautious

Back in February, I brought you the story of the people who were working on trying to change the way our county government works by establishing a charter form of government. I hadn't heard much about them for a while and wasn't sure if they were still out there or not. Apparently they are.

In last week's News Herald, team leader, Wayne Schnell, wrote an editorial proclaiming the virtues of his proposed new government and promoting his petition drive. Problem is, most of what he claims he hopes to accomplish is either already in place as established law or something that can't be done through charter government. By the way, the last petition drive Mr. Schnell was involved in was a drive to stop the construction of the new Greenback school. Fortunately, he failed in that adventure.

If you're approached and asked to sign the petition, be very cautious about what you may be told and ask a lot of questions.

I'll raise the red flag of caution with this organization right now. Their web site is silent on just exactly who or how many people are behind the movement. In fact it gives no names of the organizers. The only name associated with the organization is Mr. Schnell. I do know that there are others associated with the group but apparently they have chosen to remain nameless.

I'll even go down another road some don't like. The folks supporting the new form of government "aren't from here." In fact, the states they're from are the most desperately corrupt, broke states in the country. Let me go ahead and state another phrase that gets used from time to time. "We don't care how you did it where you come from."

It always disturbs me that people will leave their home states where their government and economies have gone to heck in a hand basket then show up here wanting to tell us how great things were where they were from and how we should do things. I've had personal experience with the individuals behind the movement and I can assure you, they're not the folks you want making decisions on your local government operations even though they're convinced they know everything. 

This part might get a little long but it's necessary to look at they're manifesto or what they call Tax payer's Bill Of Rights to see that their agenda is somewhat suspect. Understand clearly, no matter what they claim their plans are, the final decision for the proposed changes would be with the 21 member charter committee and then ultimately Loudon County voters.



I. Citizens shall be allowed to speak at any public meeting at the beginning of the
meeting on agenda items and all documents on agenda items will be provided to
citizens on line and in the newspaper at least 5 business days prior to any meeting.
Citizens shall be allowed to speak on any issue at the end of the meeting. All
minutes will be posted within 5 business days after the meeting and include allcitizen comments


Citizens are currently allowed to comment at meetings and agendas are posted on the county's web site. The cost to publish agendas in the local news paper would cost thousands of dollars per year. Meeting minutes are not official or legal till they have been approved and voted on by the commissioners.


II. Citizens shall have the right to vote on any tax increase proposed by the
commission, in this way the commission must explain to the voters why this
proposed tax increase is needed.

Citizens voting on tax increases would violate the state constitution and would not be allowed in a charter government.

Commissioners have always had to explain to the voters why they raise taxes.


III. Citizens shall control the salary of commissioners, define a nepotism policy, require
job descriptions and minimum requirements for all employees, and annual review of
their performance by their supervisor.

This one's the real nut in the bowl. Mr. Schnell and company came unglued when commissioners didn't vote to reduce their pay last year so here comes payback. State law requires commissioners to set their own pay. It's doubtful charter government could change this.

These people would be the least capable of writing job descriptions for county employees.  


IV. Citizens shall have the right to a greater say in what happens in local policy, short
and long term planning and operation of county government.

This one is so vague, it makes no sense unless of course, they feel they know what's best for everyone.


V. Citizens shall have the right to define term limits and a recall policy for those
individual(s) on all commissions and boards.

Every elected official in the county, state and country serve under term limits now. At least every two, four, six or eight years, elected officials must run for re-election. If voters don't like the job they're doing, they can turn them out.


VI. Citizens shall have the right to control the growth of County Government and know
where taxpayer money is spent. There shall be an online check register that lists all
money spent by all county offices.

At any minute during the work day, any citizen can walk into any county government office and request to see and be allowed to see any non personal document created by county government. I have no doubt the county trustee would share any information pertaining to the county finances if asked.

 Demanding an online check register for all county spending shows so clearly, how little these people understand how local government finances work. I guess the county could hire a couple more people just to input all that data but that wouldn't really be controlling the growth of government unless you want government to grow.


VII. Citizens need the right to have adequate notice when a job in the county becomes
available by making sure all citizens are informed a minimum 7 business days
prior to convening a hiring panel. Loudon residents and veterans should get some
priority in hiring.

Job posting notices is not a bad idea, but that's already being done in some cases. But regardless how many applicants might apply for any given job, the elected official or department head has the final authority to hire whom they want.

I'm pretty confident, based on the evidence, Loudon County residents are the top hires. Not sure about veterans. 


VIII. Citizens shall have the right to be represented on all committees.

Just about every board and committee is currently filled by non-elected, Loudon County residents except those few that are filled exclusively by commissioners. Sometimes boards and committees filled by non-elected individuals is referred to as unaccountable, appointed bureaucrats. Not a big fan.


IX. Citizens have the right to expect their board or commissioner(s) to abstain from
discussion and voting on items where there is a perceived or actual conflict of

Already state law.


X. Citizens shall have the right to expect all county business is conducted in an open
manner as defined by the “Sunshine Laws”, “Freedom of Information Request” and
not in backroom deals where decisions are made outside of public eyes.

Already state law.


You can see that this movement is about as disjointed and chaotic as can be, but typical, liberal mindset. Trust us. We know what's best for everybody. Be very weary of the statements being made and watch actions closer. When you have to be dishonest or deceptive to achieve your goals, that says a lot about your motives.