On two separate occasions in the last year, Councilwoman Emily Evans has called out Finance Director Richard Riebeling for not using a formal, transparent Request For Proposal process on contracts awarded by Metro.
Rex believes Evans was right to do so. Even though Riebeling’s reasoning for one of the RFPs — a complicated bond deal with a ballooning multi-million dollar payment — put Metro under a tight deadline.
Yet, considering Evans’ push for transparency, Rex would like to point out that Evans accepted a part-time financial consulting contract with the city of Mt. Juliet earlier this year, which was awarded without an RFP process.
Evans regularly does financial consulting for municipalities and Mt. Juliet needed help in much the same way Metro did on its bond deal. A ballooning $250,000 payment was coming and city leaders didn’t know the best way forward with previous controversial financial adviser Morgan Keegan.
It probably bears mentioning that Mt. Juliet’s city attorney is Jason Holleman, who is a fellow Metro Council member and ally of Evans. Holleman suggested Mt. Juliet leaders talk to Evans, who asked not to be paid but ultimately was cut a $1,500 check. Evans then proceeded to coach Mt. Juliet on hiring a new financial adviser, which was done without a formal RFP, although an informal interview process was adhered to.
To Rex, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. What’s good for Metro ought to be good for Mt. Juliet, too.
Who’s who and who’s not
What do Al Bodie, Saletta Holloway, Joe Hall, Peter Heidenrich and Tom Jurkovich all have in common? All were hired by Bells Landing Partners on Feb. 26.
Except for Hall, the May family’s lobbying team all have government backgrounds and deep ties to various Nashville interest groups who have a potential say in whether the massive May Town Center goes forward — or not. All of these professionals are new to May Town effort since the May family let Tony Giarratana go ‘solo’ last year only to go down infamously and spectacularly in flames.
Rex wants to see if this crew can pull a Capt. Sullenberger and land this puppy in the bend like ‘Sully’ did in the Hudson River.
Flights of Fancy
Speaking of May Town Center and Tony Giarratana, not sure who thought chartering a private plane and flying a bunch of elected officials on a whirlwind trip of the Eastern Seaboard was a good idea.
Here's a hint — it wasn't.
Not only did the idea put the members of the planning commission in a bad position, but it made the mega-rich May family and the overbearing and cocky Giarratana look, well, mega-rich, overbearing and cocky.
Rex wants to know if any of these folks have read the news in the last three months? Rich and cocky is out. Humble, grounded and classy is in.
A Google search found that disgraced financiers Bernie Madoff and Alan Stanford also liked to impress people by flying them around in private planes. Anyone can rent a plane guys, all it takes is money and a driver’s license.
While Rex was perusing through the aforementioned May Town lobbyist list, he decided to see what former Metro Councilman turned lobbyist John Summers was up to. Apparently he is not up to much, at least on paper.
‘John Summers & Associates — Government Relations, Political Consulting, PAC Development, Communications’ is not listed for a single client, which is somewhat strange given Summers' tag line (reproduced in its entirety above) and proclivity for being around almost any divisive "neighborhood" issue in the city.
You have the right to remain hot
In the nice list of famous and connected folks in the latest NewsChannel 5’s Phil Williams investigative piece on ticket fixing is ultra-hot nursing student and Titans cheerleader Tandra Caldwell.
(Note to readers: Please don’t tell Mrs. Rex that Ms. Caldwell's name took Rex on a quick fantasy tour of Google Images ...but Rex digresses.)
Other names of interest in the list of 1,300-plus and not highlighted by Williams: Arnet Bodenhamer and Francis Guess, charters member of the little known but powerful Buffalo PAC group.
Finally, it seems as if every person who works at the sheriff's department drives too fast and never pays a ticket. One unusually open Juvenile Court employee told Williams, "I can tell you none of these tickets were given to any Metro employee by me to do anything with.” When asked how they were fixed, he said, "Were [they] given to anyone to do anything with? They have been taken care of."
Rex suggests that perhaps refusing to answer ANY questions might have been a slightly better idea.
Rex’s random thoughts
Two random thoughts have had Rex scratching his head for the past week, and now he wants answers.
No. 1: Just how bad did Eric Crafton’s Cinco de Mayo party suck last week?
No. 2: Rex loves the fact that Judas Priest will rock Nashville in July. They are slated to play the entirety of the British Steel album. That’s right, songs like “Breaking the Law,” “Living after Midnight,” and “Grinder,” will echo through the halls of Municipal Auditorium like it’s 1980 all over again.
What’s bugging Rex is that opening for the Metal Gods is Whitesnake, whose major contribution to music was to have supermodel turned Chuck Finley stiletto basher Tawny Kitaen writhe on the hood of a car in a music video.
Seriously, Whitesnake opening for ‘Priest.’ Was Chris Gaines not available?