Doyle's Doggy Deal Dangling

At last Monday's commission meeting, several commissioners weren't ready to jump into the fray between Blount County and the City of Maryville over their animal control services. Other commissioners may have been more supportive of taking on Blount's animals, but certainly weren't going to vote on anything without an ironclad agreement protecting Loudon County's interests.

The idea for Loudon County to take on Blount County's animals was first presented to commission by County Mayor, Doyle Arp at the January workshop. Mr. Arp stressed how important it would be for Loudon County to do this favor for Blount in reciprocation for past favors that Blount had done for us. The problem was, according to reports in the Blount and Knoxville papers, Mayor Arp had already made commitments to his "long time friend and counterpart", Blount County Mayor, Jerry Cunningham before he checked with his own commissioners.

Blount County's animal control problem was neither sudden no unforeseen, they just don't want to pay for the service. Of course if Loudon County does step in, all negations between Maryville and Blount County will surely end. What would be the incentive for Blount to continue to use Maryville if they can get the job done for next to nothing by Loudon County. Maryville officials reported that last year 2339 Blount County animals were brought to their facility. How could Loudon County handle that volume of additional animals for any length of time. Whether or not Loudon County should step in to bail out Blount County is a matter the commission will have to decide.

The big picture here is more disturbing than who gets the dogs. Whether doggy deals or public records, it appears that Mayor Arp may be confused about his position and authority in County government. Aside from a few hired positions, the mayor has absolutely no legislative authority and can make no decisions on his own obligating the county in any manner. Ten county commissioners representing the people of specific areas of the county are the governing authority of the county, not the mayor.  The county mayor is a tool of the county commission and is charged with executing the will of the commission, not the other way around. While Mr. Arp may have run the assessor's office as his own little chiefdom for many years, this can not and will not be the case with the mayor's office.

Local government is structured with certain checks and balances whereby no one person makes decisions on behalf of the county but that it takes a majority of commissioners to move a process forward.

Speaking from experience, most Loudon County commissioners are tolerant, longsuffering  and willing to work with anyone. But when pushed to make decisions they feel are contrary to the wellbeing of their constituents and the county, they will push back. Mr. Arp would be well advised to realize and accept his position in the political food chain and act accordingly.