Council members may lose phones, voicemail

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 12:43pm

Cuts to the Metro Council budget could make it more difficult for constituents to contact their council representatives.

As discussed with Mayor Karl Dean at yesterday’s budget hearings, the council could be asked to eliminate 40 phone lines — one for each council member — and the voicemail systems that are connected to their offices inside the Metro Courthouse. Removing the lines would net $8,800 in savings.

If council office phone lines were disconnected, constituents would have to contact members at their houses, offices or on their cell phones. Most council members share multiple phone numbers on their profile pages at

In addition, the council may be forced to eliminate one position within its office. Currently, seven Metro employees work there.

Heads of all Metro departments have been asked to evaluate the effect of a 7.5 percent reduction within their budgets.

For the council’s office, that dollar figure is still undermined. When taking into account the salaries and benefits of council members, a 7.5 percent reduction equals cuts of $116,000. But when excluding those costs, cuts would only total $53,700.

The Metro Council’s office — and its annual budget of $1.78 million — is already smaller in staff and budget compared with council offices in most other large municipalities.

Dean is expected to hand the council his Metro Government budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year by May 1. 

11 Comments on this post:

By: UrbanNashvillian1 on 3/30/10 at 11:16

Wow. Dean is such a failure. Has anything good happened to this city under his leadership that he is responsible for? And don't even say the MCC unless you begin the sentence by saying "the $1 billion dollar debt that we are now saddled with..."

By: TITAN1 on 3/30/10 at 11:38

The MCC.

By: on 3/30/10 at 12:49

This sounds like a great start.

By: idgaf on 3/31/10 at 6:22

Spend a billion save 8K. Does this moron think we are going to buy this?

The guy needs to resign.

Reduce the size of the council and save more money don't cut off their communication. Are we not spending money for phone service for kids in school? As I recall we are.

By: Kosh III on 3/31/10 at 7:22

What a stupid idea; pennywise and pound foolish.

By: artsmart on 3/31/10 at 7:59

Cutting off the communication should not be a problem for most of them as they rarely return a call or e-mail. Why not have all of City Council, The Mayor and his staff, School Board, and Bransford Ave all take temorary paycuts until the economy improves. Dean is one of the most arrogant and clueless Mayor's I have ever seen.
Mayor your little group of yes folks will tell you what you want to hear but you and a number of City Council memebers should enjoy what is left of your term, you will not be elected again. Please go back east with Bredesen once your carrers are over shortly

By: sidneyames on 3/31/10 at 8:58

Artsmart, I agree on "most" of your comment. However, my councilman, Sam Coleman, returns every call. He is proactive; never talks council business at his day job (or at least to my knowledge) and is a good councilman.

I didn't agree with him on every vote, but then that's "politics" and gov-ment!

By: Equanimity on 3/31/10 at 10:31

One of the real Metro budget tragedies yet to come is the library system; it's always an easy mark at budget time.

I worry that it's assumed that everyone has internet access nowadays, and can look up Council representatives online or contact them by e-mail. Not so.

The libraries provide equal access to computers. Librarians are an invaluable resource for any research, including finding out how to contact your Council rep.

UrbanNashvillian1, I couldn't agree more about Dean. Let's not forget his moron finance lieutenant Richie Riebeling.

By: TharonChandler on 3/31/10 at 12:24

Let me mention here that I proudly go without any phone nor any 'voice mail'.

Did you know that I once bought a 'cell-phone', like in 2004; on easy credit from a 'radio-shack' in a suberb outside Portland Oregon, (lookin for a job, back when there were any), and by the time I visited back in Tennessee they had assigned my phone number to a former vice-principal of the local high school, and she answered it when I dialed my own number on a different phone (an active of the conservative party).

By: idgaf on 3/31/10 at 12:36

A comment to Equanimity on his library post.

How can they justify the slow internet connections to their computers that people without them use yet provide high speed wireless internet connections to those who can afford lap tops?

Whats with the new limits on requested items? (10) The other day I was over 100 on 5 of them. Are they trying to stop people from requesting items? I have been watching that head of the library for years and she should have been replaced a long time ago. She is not very bright.

By: free thinker on 3/31/10 at 4:40

Judging from the current comments; it's a good thing Tennessee is receiving 500 million for education. As usual, it will be for a lost cause and comments like these will continue.