Tag Archives: office

Forrester Wants Top-To-Bottom Review of TN Election Operations

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
NASHVILLE — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester wants the state elections chief held accountable for the high-profile mistakes seen in the Presidential Primary. Forrester is calling for top-to-bottom review of the Primary Election and the state election office to address a pattern of serious errors that denied voters access to the polls and even disenfranchised a former U.S. Congressman and his wife.
“There has to be accountability in government, and when there are this many mistakes, accountability starts at the top,” Forrester said. “Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Election Coordinator Mark Goins have decided that attacking the victims of their incompetence is more important than doing their jobs, which is to ensure every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

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Tennessee’s Frugal Freshmen

Republican Reps. Diane Black of Gallatin, Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, Scott DesJarlais of Jasper and Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah have spent a smaller portion of their annual office budgets than their more senior colleagues, according to a Gannett Washington Bureau analysis of records from the first three quarters of the year initially reported by WBIR-TV.
DesJarlais was the most frugal, spending just 47 percent of his $1.41 million budget by Sept. 30.
That fits with the ultra-fiscally conservative image he has crafted this year by voting against deals on to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for fiscal 2012. While most other Republicans in the delegation favored those compromises, DesJarlais said they didn’t cut enough.
“We tried to run our congressional office the same way that I ran my medical practice — we set a budget and stuck to it,” DesJarlais said. “It was a top priority of mine to ensure that taxpayer dollars were spent in an efficient way, while also making sure that my office had the appropriate resources to serve 4th District constituents.”
…Tennessee’s freshmen spent more on printing and postage than most of the delegation’s more senior members. Black, DesJarlais, Fincher and Fleischmann each spent more than $40,000 to print and send mailings — with Black spending more than $101,000 — while Blackburn, Cooper and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, each spent less than $13,000.
The exception is 23-year House veteran Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., R-Knoxville, who spent $51,120 on mailings and $50,752 on printing.

Governor’s Office Almost Occupied

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — At least one member of Occupy Nashville has set up a tent not far from the governor’s office at the state Capitol.
The tent is located in a corner near the south entrance of the Capitol. Gov. Bill Haslam’s office is just inside the entrance.
Nobody was in the tent when The Associated Press checked around noon Thursday. But Occupy Nashville protester Ricky Adams, who is among those encamped on the state plaza across the street from the Capitol, said the tent was set up at the Capitol Wednesday night.
He said its occupier tried to get others to come with him, but they didn’t think it was a good idea.
“We weren’t going up there,” Adams said. “I can’t see … throwing gas on the fire.”
The governor’s office would only say that it’s aware of the tent.
Since state troopers raided the encampment on the plaza across the street from the Capitol on Oct. 28 and 29 and made 55 arrests, the state has had to back down. Haslam ordered the charges dropped when Nashville courts refused to jail the protesters, and the state isn’t fighting a federal court order that found the raids had violated the First Amendment rights of the protesters.
Occupy Nashville has reoccupied the plaza, the number of tents has almost tripled to about 60, portable toilets have been installed and troopers walk a patrol. The protesters, who are now among the larger remaining groups nationwide, say they plan to stay through the winter.
“We’re going to stand our ground,” Adams said. “This cold weather … is not going to run us out of here.”

Legislators’ Office Reshuffling Cost $130,000

A massive move in the state legislature also came with a high price tag, according to WSMV-TV.
Taxpayers have footed the bill for nearly $130,000 to re-arrange Tennessee state lawmakers’ offices.
Earlier this year, the halls of Legislative Plaza were cluttered with furniture as lawmakers both old and new, both Democrats and Republicans made the huge office swap. To the victors go the spoils, or when it comes to the state legislature, the victors get the good office space.
So, could some of the costs have been avoided?
“Every dollar counts and they should watch their budget as closely as you and I watch our budget,” said taxpayer watchdog Ben Cunningham. Much of the expense was spent on the movers, which totaled $47,000. To paint and remove wallpaper cost $35,000, and new furniture cost $15,000. Thousands more were spent to rebuild and remove walls and relocate doors.