Bill advances that prevents Metro officials from using public money on signs naming them

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 11:16pm

Names of Davidson County elected officials on signs outside their offices could soon be a thing of the past.

The Metro Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday for a bill that would prohibit Metro from using city funds to purchase and construct permanent signs that name an elected or appointed official.

Under an amendment added to the legislation, however, the measure would still allow temporary signs outside Metro construction projects to identify the corresponding mayor, council members or others.

Councilman Josh Stites, the bill’s lead sponsor who credited a constituent for suggesting the measure, said he introduced the bill to prevent Davidson County’s various constitutional officers from “using public funds to put their names on signs instead of the office to which their holding.”

Constitutional officers include the sheriff, trustee and various clerks, among others.

Many of these officeholders opt to identify their names on exterior signs where they work. Moving forward, they could only advertise their particular office or facility if the bill were approved.

“It’s actually a Metro policy that we don’t spend public dollars on signs like that,” Stites said of the version with names. “But there was a recent officeholder who just bucked the policy and completely went against it, and spent public funds to put up signs that have their name on it.”

Asked for this official’s name, Stites said former Davidson County Clerk John Arriola, who resigned earlier this summer.

In other business

• The Metro Council on the second of three votes approved a bill that would offer temporary water and sewer fee reductions to businesses and homeowners that have green roofs. By offering the financial incentive, Metro officials hopes to encourage more green roofs.

• The council, meanwhile, voted to withdraw legislation that would have reduced Metro’s annual $300,000 subsidy to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for its economic development assistance via Partnership 2020. The bill’s sponsor, At-Large Councilman Charlie Tygard, said he proposed the bill to “initiate discussion” on the disproportionately lower contribution the nine other Middle Tennessee counties pay to the chamber compared to Davidson County.

• The council voted to appoint Councilman Carter Todd as its president pro tempore over council members Chris Harmon and Sandra Moore, who were both also nominated for the post. The president pro tempore fills presides over council meetings when the vice mayor is absent.


7 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 8/21/12 at 10:18

Would not a better and more effective bill be one which makes elected officials personally financially liable for actions taken while in office which cost the taxpayers extra money?

I feel certain our elected employees would deliberate much more thoughfully and exercise a great deal more restraint withpublic money if the slightest possibility existed they could be held fiscally responsible for bad decisions.

Of course, expecting our questionable leadership to put themselves at risk is like expecting the house and senate members to voluntarily cut their own pay.

I realize, of course, this will never happen, but I am allowed to dream.

By: Jughead on 8/22/12 at 7:03

Vic Slimeweaver did this--what a turd.

By: budlight on 8/22/12 at 7:47

So why is it we see Karl Dean's name all over the county on signs?

Please spare me!

By: Left-of-Local on 8/22/12 at 7:58

Ask, they would still spend their personal funds doing it. The action of having your name on things is a political one, and easily dismissed among campaign expenses. Someone like Arriola has the money and WOULD just eat that cost.

A MUCH MORE effective measure would be to only allow temporary signs INSIDE, putting the official's name right next to the customer service they are providing.... which Arriola also did, actually, and he DID preside over a very large era of vast improvement in the County Clerk's office.

However, someone who sucks COUGH-Lineweaver-COUGH would conversely be accountable to such, too

By: artsmart on 8/22/12 at 11:14

Enforcement would probably be the resposibility of our famed DA. He would never enforce the law against a Government official. I think it is part of his contract.

By: jonw on 8/22/12 at 8:58


- - - to put their names on signs instead of the office to which their holding.”

Try this one copy editor:
- - to put their names on signs instead of the office to which they're holding.”

By: Ask01 on 8/23/12 at 8:24

They can pay for all the signs they wish.

I just want all polticians to be on the hook financially for any project they push through which ends up costing the citizens money.

For example, let's say the Titans stadium doesn't produce enough revenue to cover the operating expenses.

The mayar at the time, Phil Bredesen and all council members should have to pick up the slack from their own pockets.

Likewise, if the MCC eventually fails to maintain a revenue stream sufficient to meet all financial obligations, Mayor Dean and the Metro Council members who supported the project should have their property seized to cover expenses.

In other words, anytime politicians play fast and lose with tax money, they should have to pay, and pay, and pay.