Tag Archives: Kelly

Elected Superintendents Bill Dies in House Sub

A House subcommittee has killed legislation that could have allowed some counties, including Knox, to elect school superintendents rather than have them appointed by school boards.
Only three members of the House Education Subcommittee supported Rep. Kelly Keisling’s bill (HB417) while six voted against it. After failure in the House panel, Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, did not put the Senate companion bill to a scheduled vote in a Senate committee.
Similar legislation has failed repeatedly in past years. This year’s version would have applied only in counties that elected school superintendents prior to 1992, then a law was enacted mandating that all superintendents be appointed.
In those counties, the bill authorized county commissions to set up a local referendum on returning to an elected superintendent system.
Keisling, R-Byrdstown, said turnover of appointed superintendents has been higher in many counties than under the elected superintendent systems. His home county of Pickett is currently paying for two superintendents, one who was fired as well as his replacement.
He also said the bill sets higher requirements for elected superintendents than those now in place for appointed superintendents – mandating a masters degree rather than a bachelor’s degree and requiring at least five years teaching experiences.
A spokesman for the Tennessee Education Association testified in support of the measure while spokesmen for the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, the Tennessee School Boards Association and the state Department of Education spoke against it.
Stephen Smith, speaking for the department, said superintendents should be appointed on the basis of ability, “not limited to someone who happens to live in the distrit and is willing to run.” He also said there is greater accountability to voters with an elected school board and an appointed superintendent. With both board members and superintendents elected, Smith said, accountability is “diffused.”
Those voting for the bill were Reps. Harry Brooks and Roger Kane, both Knoxville Republicans, and Rep. Harold Love Jr., D-Nashville. Voting no were Reps. John DeBerry, D-Memphis; John Fogerty, R-Athens; Debra Moody, R-Covington; Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville; Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro; and Mark White, R-Memphis.

Keisling Obama Conspiracy Emailing Gets Huffington Post Note

A Republican member of the Tennessee state legislature emailed constituents Tuesday morning with a rumor circulating in conservative circles that President Barack Obama is planning to stage a fake assassination attempt in an effort to stop the 2012 election from happening.
Further from The Huffington Post:
Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) sent an email from his state email account to constituents containing a rumor that Obama and the Department of Homeland Security are planning a series of events that could lead to the imposition of “martial law” and delay the election. Among the events hypothesized in the email is a staged assassination attempt on the president that would lead to civil unrest in urban areas and martial law.
Keisling appears to have forwarded a more widely circulated email from Joe Angione, a Florida-based conservative blogger. Angione prefaces the rumor by saying it has not been confirmed but likewise notes it has not been denied. Angione also writes that people need to work to prevent the rumor from becoming reality.
The conspiracy theory started with an article written by Doug Hammon and posted on CanadaFreePress.com, which he said arose from conversations he had with an informant within the Department of Homeland Security.
….Keisling’s assistant, Frankie Anderson, confirmed that the email was sent “at Keisling’s request” from a state account under the name of Holt Whitt, who is identified in the email as Keisling’s assistant. Anderson said he is filling in for Whitt.
Anderson said that Keisling did not offer an explanation for why he wanted the email sent. It went to residents across the 38th district, which includes Clay, Jackson, Pickett and Scott Counties, along with part of Anderson County. Keisling has not returned messages left at his Byrdstown insurance office, and there was no answer at his home.

Note: The forwarded email is below.

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Johnson County Employee Arrested for Stealing Funds

News release from TBI:
Johnson City, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested a former county employee for her role in a theft case involving funds from the Johnson County Solid Waste Transfer station after she was indicted by the Johnson County grand jury late last week.
Kelly Horne, 44, of Tanglewood Drive, Mountain City, Tenn. was charged with one count of theft over $10,000, four counts of forgery, four counts of hindering a secured creditor and one count of official misconduct. All the charges are felonies. Horne began working as the secretary for the Johnson County Mayor in September of 2010 where she was responsible for depositing checks and cash from residents who paid a fee to the Johnson County Solid Waste Transfer station. Between September 2010 and August 2011, Horne took more than $40,000 dollars from those funds for her personal use.
Between August 2009 and June 2010 on four different occasions, Horne signed the names of other individuals on four discharge of lien forms for three of Horne’s personal vehicles and applied for new titles. Horne had worked in the Johnson County Clerk’s office before being employed in the mayor’s office. The official misconduct charge was for committing the offenses was working as a public servant and using the county position for personal gain.
The 1st Judicial District Attorney General’s office requested the TBI investigation following a Tennessee Comptroller’s audit of the Johnson County Mayor’s office. Horne was booked into the Johnson County Jail today on a $15,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in criminal court on April 18, 2012.

Todd Schedules Re-election Fundraiser Nov. 8 (first court apperance Nov. 1)

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Rep. Curry Todd has scheduled a fundraiser one week after his first court appearance on drunken driving and gun charges.
The invitation to the $500-per-person event to be held at the home of Nashville businessman William “Tinker” Kelly on Nov. 8 was circulated by the Tennessee Lobbyists Association on Monday.
“TLA’s policy is that we will forward to our membership fundraiser invitations for any member of the General Assembly if one of our lobbyist members asks us to do so,” said Mark Greene, the organization’s lobbyist.
Greene said he didn’t know which lobbyist had asked for the invitation to be sent to all members. He added that Todd’s arrest didn’t change the policy regarding the fundraiser notices.
“As long as he’s a member of the General Assembly we’re going to treat him like any other member,” he said.
Kelly was out of town and did not immediately return a message left at his home Monday evening.
Todd, a Collierville Republican, stepped down as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee after his Oct. 11 arrest for failing a roadside sobriety test and refusing a breath test.
Police also charged him with possession of a firearm while under the influence after finding a loaded .38-caliber gun in a holster stuffed next to the driver’s seat.
The Collierville Republican’s first court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 1. Todd did not return a message left on his cellphone. The retired Memphis police officer has said in a previous statement that he would not comment on the charges on advice of counsel.
Todd, 63, was a lead advocate of a new state law allowing people with handgun carry permits to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. The controversial measure was approved over repeated vetoes by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Todd holds a handgun carry permit. It is unclear where he was coming from the night of his arrest.
Todd’s most recent campaign finance report in July showed he had more than $147,000 on hand.