LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
1 JUNE 2022
Chairman Commissioner Stoney Jackson opened the meeting asking Commissioner Tommy Pollard to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. Discussion on the minutes was raised by Commissioner Gayle Jones about the accuracy of a statement made and then reflected in the minutes. Commissioner David Wamble, who had made the statement, said if the time and event were wrong, he had no problem changing that, but the intent was to show very little savings would occur if the proposed change was implemented. Motion by Commissioner Joyce Woodard and seconded by Commissioner Larry Worsham to approve the minutes was made and the minutes were approved.
First Agenda Item – Title IX. An earlier proposed resolution had been recommended by Mr. Dale Berry at the 6 May 2022 School Committee meeting. Through an approved motion at that meeting, the recommendation was to be provided to the Legislative Committee. At the School Committee meeting Mr. Berry’s desire was to make the committee aware of the potential change to Title IX and to have the committee go on record opposing those changes, specifically the redefinition of sexual identity. Per Chairman Jackson the school already has something in place, with Commissioner Journey stating the policy is in kindergarten you register your sexual identify as what shows on your birth certificate and that is not changed. Several commissioners asked if Mr. Berry had addressed this issue at the school board, with the County Attorney Lucy Henson stating without seeing any presentation not sure what he is asking. A motion by Commissioner Tommy Pollard and seconded by Commissioner Judy Pruett was made to defer any action until more information is provided after Mr. Berry goes to the school board. Motion approved.
2nd Agenda Item – Sunshine Law. County Executive asked the County Attorney to provide information on the “Sunshine Law” or Open Meeting Law TCA 8-44-101. Per Attorney Lucy Henson, this law states that all government meetings be public, with some minor exceptions, with adequate public notice, meetings minutes recorded with votes noted. And a meeting is clarified as any gathering of a quorum (2 or more) of the members of a public body in order to deliberate or decide on public policy. If violated, any action taken during the meeting or in full commission meetings is considered void. In addition, penalties could include a fine on the offending members and/or considered as an ethics violation. And according to Attorney Henson anyone who perceives a violation has occurred may bring that to the court’s attention, e.g. through a lawsuit. County Attorney suggested all read the statutes, and offered to email to all. Commissioner Cesarini asked if the county is following the statute and County Attorney answered yes. However, some questions about gathering in front of the courthouse, another meeting where unknown to either two commissioners came to the same discussion on a county issue, and finally family and friend gatherings for meals together were discussed. County Attorney Henson said several times, err on the side of caution, avoid appearance of. She also mentioned a Comptroller website with an Office of Open Records section that offers the state opinion on any questionable meetings OpenRecordsCounselInquiry/TennesseeComptroller of the Treasury (tn.gov.
3rd Agenda Item – Tax Relief. Commissioner Pollard discussed the challenges for implementing this program. Those being, paperwork and having to register each year, potential of paying a surveyor to have property of eligible five acres only determined; and Chairman Jackson discussing how to identify those eligible and how to budget for them. Commissioner Pollard said something simple, such as a $100 reduction for all seniors who own property, regardless of income, could be the approach. Several objecting saying many seniors don’t “need” that reduction, can afford their taxes. Another program, the tax freeze, was mentioned and that program with different income qualifications could capture some of the people but that number is limited. Chairman Jackson said wouldn’t even attempt the tax freeze after noting comments previously provided by CTAS. Commissioner Cesarini mentioned the recent Budget Committee meeting and how the 22-23 expenditures as originally proposed exceeded revenue by $628K. Now to consider this, how would you be able to balance the budget, and per the Chairman would have to raise taxes if continue this way. After considerable discussion Chairman Jackson ended the discussion with “no action required”.
4th Agenda Item – Old Business. Commissioner Joyce Woodard, in commenting on previous concerns that all of the information provided to the commissioners at the full commission meetings in PDF – Portable Document Format was not available to all, stated it now will be at no additional cost to the county. This information will be posted on the county’s website for the June meeting. The company who supports the website has decided to do that type posting free of charge to the county, with the County Executive noting because they want to help Giles County. Claudia Johnson and Amy Greene were mentioned in connection with that company. And thanks were given to Commissioner Woodard in being the catalyst for this happening.
New Business – County Executive Melissa Greene noted there is nothing in writing that addresses election signs at county owned businesses, except for the 100ft state identified boundaries. She asked the committee what they might want to do with early voting starting soon, perhaps a motion addressing sign placement two weeks before. Discussion around taking signs down after election, if placed in right-of-way trim around, putting one and many others placed as well, Pulaski has ordnance for around courthouse and square, allowed signs before, get a complaint and ask candidate to rectify. An early motion by Commissioner Pollard, seconded by Commissioner Cesarani to leave like it is, but after more discussion this motion rescinded by Commissioner Pollard. Another motion by Commissioner Pollard, seconded by Commissioner Cesarini allowing signs to be placed on public property two weeks before early voting failed 5-2 with only Commissioners Cesarini and Pruett voting yes. A motion by Commissioner Woodard and seconded by Commissioner Pollard to allow signs two weeks before early voting at polling places owned by the county be allowed was approved 6-1 with Commissioner Cesarini voting no.
Motion to adjourn by Commissioner Tommy Pollard and seconded by Commissioner Larry Worsham was made and approved.
Attendees: Chairman Commissioner Stoney Jackson, Joyce Woodard, Tommy Pollard, Larry Worsham, Mike Cesarini, Roger Reedy, Judy Pruett Other Commissioners – Rodney Journey, Terry Harwell, Tracy Wilburn, David Adams, Joseph Sutton, Gayle Jones, Harold Brooks, David Wamble, Rose Brown Other County Executive Melissa Greene County Attorney Lucy Henson, and members of the public