letter to the editor

Problem with BOMA McFee decisions, Forum actions

In the Sept. 14 Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) meeting, four Farragut residents spoke in Citizen’s Forum and brought forth new information they found from an Open Records request with the Town of Farragut concerning the purchase of 55 acres of land on McFee Road.

On Sept. 1, Mayor Ron Williams signed a $5.5 million purchase agreement on the land unbeknownst to the public.

The plat map of the 55 acres of land that was included in the June 24 BOMA meeting had been edited to omit a 1.73-acre sinkhole in the middle of the property to deceive the public.

The motion in the June 22 BOMA meeting to approve the letter of intent to purchase the property also had a second part of the motion that was not on the meeting agenda and was not read into the record.

The second part of the motion allowed Mayor Williams to sign a purchase agreement to buy the land without another BOMA meeting approval.

When Citizen’s Forum began, the Mayor and Vice Mayor said they would answer questions after the residents had spoken.

At the end of Citizen’s Forum. Mayor Williams reneged on his promise and told the Aldermen not to answer any questions but to study them and answer them on Sept. 25 in a Town Hall (meeting) at the Farragut Community Center.

This is unacceptable. This is the second time in weeks the Mayor and Vice Mayor have promised to answer questions on the record only to break their promise. The meeting on Sept. 25 is not a Town meeting, it is not video recorded; no minutes will be recorded. The BOMA, with the exception of Alderman David White who did answer questions on Sept. 14, is not accountable in my opinion.

Town administrator David Smoak said it was the responsibility of residents to read the 170-page BOMA agenda packet to find the one paragraph on page 69 that included the second part of the motion they wanted hidden, “and to authorize the Town administrator and Town Attorney to negotiate the terms of the final contract that would be consistent with the Letter of Intent and authorize Mayor Williams to execute the final contract.”

Mr. Smoak denied the charge from one of the residents that this was an Open Meetings violation.

Mr. Smoak also said it was the responsibility of residents to go to the KGIS website to find the actual plat map that shows the massive sinkhole.

I was the last speaker. I had one minute-and-30-seconds of my time left to speak. When the Mayor forbade the Aldermen to answer questions I went to the podium and said, “May I be heard?”

Mayor Williams said, “No sir, you’ve had your time.” I replied, “I want my questions answered on the record.?” Mayor Williams threatened to have me removed from the meeting. Do we have civil rights in Farragut?

Is this the kind of government you want? One with no accountability. That tries to trick you. That hides a second part of a motion in a 170-page document and then tells you it is your fault you didn’t read the entire document? A government that places an edited plat map that hides the massive sinkhole from the public?

This is not acceptable to me. I hope it is not acceptable to you.

Mike Mitchell, Farragut

(Editor’s Note: visit Town’s YouTube BOMA video of this meeting to follow each word, if desired, and decide for yourself what happened concerning Citizen Forum)