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I have posted two articles regarding the city charter, which got some readers and local officials attention. On Feb. 24th, the State and Local Government Committee revisited the controversial revisions to Clarksville charter. This time Clarksville officials attended the meeting, but that didn’t seem to help; some might say it made it worse.
Despite some folks being confident that the legislature would approve the charter, they did not. I am not going to rehash the contents of the video; it speaks for itself. If you thought the last video was “interesting”, please take a moment to watch the video from this meeting. After this meeting, one lobbyist was overheard in an elevator (neither Terry McMoore nor Bill Larson caught her name) saying, “That was textbook on how not to get your legislation passed.”
The outcome of the meeting was amendment to send the charter to the citizens of Clarksville to a vote…despite Mr. Maness strong objections to let citizens vote specifically on the charter. Some think that the charter revisions would not pass a citizen referendum. The current mayor won the last election with only 29% of the vote, or said another way, more than two-thirds voted against him. With the charter revisions being perceived by the public as his project, a voter casting a vote to oust him might likely vote to oust the charter revisions. The subcommittee will meet again next week and take up the bill again. COL will post an update at that time.
Mr. Roger Maness, Clarksville Lawyer and participant in the Charter Committee
CO: Why are you and the City Council so adamant against the people of Clarksville being allowed to vote in a public referendum on this charter?
Maness: The people of Clarksville are not knowledgeable enough about the complex issues of city government, and therefore would be unable to make a wise decision when voting on this in a referendum. That is why they elected 12 city council members to make decisions about the Charter and other matters for them.”
We then asked him why the Mayor and the City Council are so reluctant to abide by the wisdom of the state subcommittee who are considered a higher level of government?
In his response, Maness made it clear that he does not see them as a higher level of government on this matter because they lack a local focus, failed to maintain proper decorum, and were not fundamentally sound in their approach when it comes to understanding how and why this charter revision was written.
Representative Curtis Johnson
We then spoke with State Representative Curtis Johnson, and asked him a couple of questions.
CO: What is the next step for the subcommittee concerning the charter and the added referendum amendment?
Rep. Curtis Johnson: It will go back to the same committee next week with the amendment for a referendum added and they will vote on it again.”
CO: Do you feel the committee’s decision to let the people of Clarksville vote on the charter by referendum was the right thing to do?
Rep. Curtis Johnson: The City Charter is the peoples Charter not the City Councils.
Representative Joe Pitts
We then went to State Representative Joe Pitt’s office
CO: What did you think of the day’s events, the subcommittee actions, and the City of Clarksville’s performance before the subcomittee?
Rep. Pitts: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
It looks like the citizen’s might be able to give the charter changes an up or down vote. Please educate yourself on this issue so you can cast an informed vote. The charter is over 30 pages long and their are different opinions on its perceived benefits or anticipated pitfalls…but for now, it seems that its fate will be up to you, the voter. I have added some links at the bottom to sites that should help educate yourself on the issues.
Link to your Councilperson email address:
Link to Proposed Charter:
Link to recent article in Leaf Chronicle (be sure to read the comments of the locals):
Related COL Articles:
Links to my previous articles (with comments from Council Bill Summers)
Other Clarksville Online articles
Editor’s Note: Bill Larson and Terry McMoore attended this meeting. Bill Larson took photos for this article, while Mr. McMoore asked questions of the leaders in attendance.
I am a 30 something graduate from Austin Peay State University, where I graduated in 1997 with two majors (Accounting and Finance). I am a very happily married man, with one beautiful daughter. I enjoy a professional life of public service and a personal life of travel, reading, music, and always trying to learn from others.
TopicsCity Charter, City of Clarksville, Curtis Johnson, Joe Pitts, Local Government Committee, Roger Maness, Tennessee Legislature
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