Public voices concerns

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2007

MURFREESBORO – Citizens came forward here on Tuesday to voice their opinions to the Murfreesboro Town Council about the disbandment of the beautification committee.

At its last meeting, the council collectively decided to dissolve the committee to the dismay of Mayor Lynn Johnson and the former committee members.

The decision also led to a strong discussion between Johnson and Councilman Bill Theodorakis.

While council members were mum on the disbandment of beautification committee at Tuesday’s meeting the public was vocal in their opinions of the decision.

Karen Lackey was the first to address the council on the issue. Among her concerns, Lackey spoke of a special called town meeting that was attended by only one council member and Johnson.

“This was unfortunate, because the topic of the meeting was the beautification of Murfreesboro,” she said.

Lackey stated there were rumors of the absent council members meeting somewhere else and concerns were raise about violations of open meeting requirements.

“Maybe there was no secret meeting,” Lackey said. “But it was easy for people to believe there had been a secret meeting because the council met the next night and disbanded the beautification committee.”

Lackey stated one council member was quoted as saying he rather not give a reason for the disbandment and she believed it was “incumbent upon the council members to be willing to discuss their decisions with the citizens of the town.”

Lackey also brought up the purchase of window treatments for the Town Hall and that the committee may have violated a town policy by making an expenditure exceeding $1,000 without council approval.

“If that’s the case, it should be discussed and the committee should be given a clear mandate or reminded of its mandate,” Lackey noted

Lackey said she has seen documents that indicate other town departments or entities may have made similar purchases without council approval.

Lackey concluded, “Whatever is going on, the citizens of Murfreesboro have a right to know and they have a right to hear it in a public forum, straight from the mouths of the town council members.”

Clyde Saunders also voiced his opinion on the issue. Saunders, typically a regular at council meetings, said he missed the last meeting due to being out of town.

Saunders urged council members and Johnson to come together.

“I hope and pray we can finally work in unity for this town,” he said.

Alisha Revelle also spoke her opinion on the issue.

While Revelle said she agreed with Lackey and Saunders, she noted how the town’s image had evolved because of the committee.

“Ten years ago Main Street did not look like this,” she said, referencing improvements to the street.

Revelle asked the mayor and council to work together and if the committee was dissolved due to financial reasons the matter should be looked into.

“I certainly do not want you to raise my taxes because funds were not used properly,” she said.