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Lights out for ‘historic’ lighting, temporarily
Mayor blasts ‘presstalk’ contributor; labels caller ‘coward’ during Mayor’s Report

Mayor Ralph McGill responded to an anonymous presstalk caller during the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday, Jan. 26.

“I want to begin by setting the record straight about some things,” McGill said.

“To suggest in public that we are lining our pockets — I or we are lining our pockets — is No.1, a lie, No. 2, slanderous and No. 3, despicable,” McGill said.

A presstalk caller recently took issue with Farragut’s Board about agenda publishing dates and asked, “Do you really care about the people of Farragut or are you just kind of cushioning your own pocket to better benefit what you want?”

“Come on, mayor. It’s your turn; it’s your ball. Let’s hear you,” the presstalk caller said.

McGill responded Thursday night.

“If you can’t come out in public and identify yourself, you’re a coward. Amen,” McGill said.

“Amen,” Alderman Bob Markli agreed.

“Thank you, Mayor,” Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche said.

An editor’s note to the presstalk call — printed Jan. 26 — pointed out Farragut’s elected officials aren’t paid.

McGill reiterated that Thursday night.

The Board has received numerous negative presstalks over previous weeks due to plans to install decorative streetlights along Campbell Station Road. The Town budgeted $550,000 for the project this year, but Town engineer Darryl Smith has estimated it could cost between $630,000 and $680,000.

At Thursday’s meeting, McGill made a suggestion to postpone the plans for the time being.

“I’d recommend we do nothing with those monies; just leave them in the CIP for this time being. We’ll be doing the budget here very soon. We can dispense with that issue, as well as what other CIP projects we want to talk about, at that time,” McGill said.

“That doesn’t mean that sometime in the future we might bring this back up?” LaMarche asked.

“Well, it depends on whether we have money or not,” McGill said. “We’re not going to do it this year, but we’ll spend some of that money, I’m sure.”

The lights remain budgeted in the Town’s capital improvements plan and also remain in the Board’s strategic plan, which lays out plans for the next several years.

Alderman Ron Honken moved to postpone the plans; Markli seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.

In further reference to presstalks, McGill pointed out Farragut’s Board meets the second and fourth Thursdays of every month except November and December, due to the holidays.

Regular meetings begin at 7 p.m.; workshops sometimes are scheduled earlier.

“It was designed that way from the origin of the Town so that people could get off work at a normal time, come to the meeting if they needed to. By the way, Knox County has never done that,” McGill said.

“Our Citizen’s Forum comes first” in the meeting, he added.

Numerous presstalk callers recently have taken issue with the fact Farragut’s Board is required by state law to publish agendas only the day before any meeting.

“Agendas are published the Friday before the next Thursday’s meeting. They are published by way of the scroll thing on Channel 3, as well as on the Town’s website,” McGill said.

Agendas are published in the legals section of farragutpress the day of a meeting.


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