It's A Complicated Formula
|One of the first things government officials do
when they find themselves in trouble, is start trying to make things
sound far more complicated than they really are. Mr. Arp has offered up
a lot of explanations for his recent attempt to make obtaining public
records in Loudon County more difficult. None of which makes any sense.
He seems to be really hung up on the personal information aspect.
The Mayor might be able to pull the wool over the eyes of some, but having been a part of local government for four years I have a better understanding than some how things work. Probably, no one has ever ask for and received more copies of public records than I. Over the last four years I have retrieved thousands and thousands of copied documents. Budgets, bills, account analyses, just about everything you could think of. But never in all those copies did I ask for or receive any personal information on anyone. 99.9% of the information that should be available to the public has absolutely no personal information on them. As I have found, there can be some embarrassing information for some when you discover what they have been doing with tax money.
Mr. Arp claims it took two days to process a citizens request for employee salary information. I can find absolutely no logic with this statement. Every year after the final budget was adopted, I always asked for and received a complete list of all county employees salaries. This request usually took about ten minutes. It essentially required the payroll clerk to bring up the information on the computer then punch print. After the printing was complete the payroll clerk then took a marker and blacked out the Social Security numbers if they were present on the document.
I personally know every member of the finance department. They are professionals in every way and each knows their jobs very well. For Mr. Arp to claim that retrieving any records from the finance department could take two days, is just ridiculous. Any member of the finance department can provide requested information in minutes unless instructed to do otherwise. It sounds as though Mr. Arp is trying to shift the blame for his mistake to someone else.
The first mark of a true leader is to have the backbone to take responsibility for their on mistakes. I fear Mr. Arp has missed this mark miserably.
It is legal to charge fees for copies, but it is the authority of the
Commission not the Mayor to establish those fees. If fees are going to
be charged the County Commission should establish a fee, if any, and
vote on it.
|I can not express how excited I was to see that Chuck
Jenkins was appointed as the new Loudon County Property Assessor. Not
just because Chuck is a good friend of mine. Not just because a majority
of the commissioner had the guts to stand up to the political machine
brought to bear against them. I had a bit of a selfish motive also.
Don't ask me why, but a few years ago our former property assessor apparently decided to get me. It all started about the time I ran for office the first time. I built my house in 1984 and prior to 2001 my assessment and taxes stayed pretty level with just small incremental increases as could be expected. From 2001 to 2006 my assessment and taxes nearly doubled bring my property tax bill to nearly a thousand dollars. I'm afraid if Mr. Arp had gotten his way and maintained control of his former office, in another year or two at the rate he was going, my taxes would have gotten so high I would have had to sold my house and moved out of the County. Maybe that was the plan.
With Chuck Jenkins at the helm of the assessors office none of us will ever have to fear the tax man again. While property tax is just one of the nasty little things we all have to do, at least now we we know it will be fair for all.
Below is a little story about my property tax increase. I wrote a some time ago. It's a little long but worth the read.
The Property Tax Saga