Carter Commission gets off to heated start on Tuesday

John Thompson • Feb 20, 2018 at 9:52 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Tuesday’s meeting of the Carter County Commission got off to a heated start when the commission failed to amend the agenda so that Mayor Leon Humphrey could introduce a motion to apply for a block grant to obtain state funding for a new emergency operations center for the Carter County Emergency Management Agency.

Since the matter had not gone through any of the commission’s working committees, Commission Chairman Robert Acuff called for a vote to amend the agenda so the mayor could obtain the approval to apply for the grant.

The grant would require a matching grant from the county of over $192,000.

Some commissioners objected to the mayor’s request. Commissioner Brad Johnson asked why the mayor had not presented the request to the Building and Grounds Committee and the Budget Committee.

Humphrey said “time was of the essence.” He said the First Tennessee Development District was coordinating the grant requests.

Humphrey also said the operations center concept was not a new item. He retold the story about how the commissioners had met at the very start of the term in 2014 and toured some of the county’s buildings to see what was needed. He said the crowded conditions of the existing emergency operations center made an impression on the commissioners.

Commissioner Al Meehan also said the project should have gone to the Building and Grounds Committee and Budget Committee before coming to the floor of the commission.

Humphrey reminded the commission that this would only be an application and no matching money would be needed unless the county was selected to receive one of the grants.

Acuff called for a vote. He reminded the commissioners that the motion would require a two-thirds vote to change the agenda.

When the vote was tallied, the vote fell short by 14-6 vote, with four absences. The nay votes were cast by Willie Campbell, Buford Peters, Mike Hill, Al Meehan, Bobbie Gouge-Dietz and Sonja Culler. Commissioners L.C. Tester, Ross Garland Scott Simerly and Cody McQueen were absent.

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