Dalton Roberts: County commissioners conduct ‘connivance’

Readers in other parts of the state, take heed: this could happen to you. Hopefully you have a wise civic leader on standby to help steer the listing ship back into a safe harbor.

Dalton Roberts is a poet, a musician, a philosopher, and, somewhat inexplicably, a former politician. He was county executive (back before they renamed it to mayor) for 16 years. At the risk of offending him or someone else, one might say he is “Hamilton County’s Yoda.”

The Chattanooga Times Free Press today published a column by Roberts—on its front page, instead of in the usual spot for opinion—in which he accuses certain members of the Hamilton County Commission, in particular its very recently ex-Chairman Fred Skillern, of violating the Tennessee Open Records Act, commonly known as the “Sunshine Law.”

If they had not decided to ignore the “Sunshine Law” and had acted as soon as Mayor Ramsey announced his decision to leave, they could have had meetings in all nine districts and let the public participate in their questioning of the candidates. Then the people could have told their commissioners who they preferred.

The dictionary defines “connive” as “to pretend not to see or look at something wrong … to cooperate secretly in wrongdoing … to scheme in an underhanded way.” This is exactly the path some of our “leaders” chose.

If you are not yet certain of Sunshine Law violations, ask how all the pieces of this scheme were put in place? For example, how did Commissioner Larry Henry go from losing the vice chairmanship a few weeks ago by an 8-1 vote to becoming vice chairman and being in line for chairman when Coppinger is raised to mayor?

Read the whole thing. Twice.

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