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Board balks at committee unification

An attempt to combine two Farragut citizen committees was taken off the agenda, but that didn’t stop several disgruntled committee members from expressing their concerns to Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

“My hope is that things will not be handled as this was handled,” Pam Ziegler of the Farragut Arts Council told the Board Thursday, June 10.

On the agenda for the night was combining the Town’s Arts and Beautification committees into one group to be called Farragut Arts and Beautification Council. But before the meeting started, Town Administrator David Smoak asked that the changes be removed from the agenda.

“We would like to delete those items from the agenda and just move forward with the committees as they are designed for this next year,” Smoak said.

Arts Council chair Sandy Garber said, “We came tonight to tell you how wonderful we are. … We realize we are a dwindling committee.”

Ziegler was more direct in her criticism of the Board.

“It wasn’t until the day before yesterday that we found out how serious this thing was,” Ziegler said, although she added that the Council had received a letter of notification on May 25.

Ziegler said the Council received notification that it was going to be “rolled into” one committee with the Beautification Committee, but that Council members were never asked about it.

She also said no one on the Council called a special meeting over the plan; the Council merely met at its next regularly scheduled meeting to discuss the changes.

“It is my hope that if anything like this is ever to occur in the future, that both committees be met with formally way ahead of the time in which any combination of them is to occur,” Ziegler said.

“We wish to remain an Arts Council independent in ourselves for the time being,” she added.

Dr. Bill Nichols also chastised Board members.

“I hope there’s due diligence next time,” he said.

“It was a very emotional meeting Tuesday night; I saw two women break down and cry. It was uncalled for. That, to me, was unprofessional,” he added.

He made allusions that some Arts Council members had been missing meetings not because of disinterest, but because of illness.

“Do due diligence, I please ask that,” Nichols said.

Mayor Ralph McGill told Nichols, “We will do better in the future.

“I have to confess I don’t know all the details about what happened, but we’ll get it right next time — if there is a next time.”

According to the Town’s Web site, the Arts Council has nine listed members and “their mission is to further the arts through programs and events.” The Beautification Committee has 10 listed members and “coordinates seasonal and holiday decorations and the beautification awards for the Town.”


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