Audit called for of KCS P-Card use

From the Knox County Commission forum, Chairman Brad Anders writes:

After speaking with Andrea, we have concluded that it would best for her to begin developing the audit of Knox County Schools meals program and also their P-Card controls. I am aware there is a special called meeting for November the 10th, but we felt that due to the exigency of the issues she should go ahead and begin the work. During our discussion Andrea advised me that the role of an Internal Auditor is to begin work on risk issues as soon as they identify them. So that we did not over step rules of the Audit Charter, we consulted the Law Director and Deputy Director to make sure we were in compliance and they agreed with our thought process and the need to begin the work now. Andrea has also spoken with the external auditor and the Sheriff’s office in regard to her work and assured them any work she does will not impair any work they are already completing.

Andrea Addis is the county’s internal auditor.

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Siler makes a seven dollar holler

In a release, Cheri Siler asks supporters to kick in $7 apiece to her campaign to help buy ads in the Democrat’s election bid for the Tennessee state Senate 7th District race against Republican Richard Briggs.

In the last report filed Oct. 26 with the state, Siler had $11,017 in the bank.

Briggs, who is the favorite in the strongly-Republican district, has $107,700 to spend on the election according to his latest finance report.

Numbers, they say, don’t lie. Check out Siler’s release below:

In 7 days we will elect a new senator for district 7, as well as elect candidates for a variety of other offices here in Knoxville. Early voting ends on Thursday, October 30- have you voted yet?

We are continuing to build momentum and we have some plans for some final advertising buys going into the weekend- but we need your help to fund these buys. Can you donate $7 to help us in this final week?

Every dollar donated helps us advance our message about the need for good jobs, healthcare, and education in these final days. Click here to donate to help us in these final days!

Thanks for all you do!

Cheri Siler
Candidate for State Senate, District 7

Cheri Siler for State Senate

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Ashe goes to Ukraine

Victor Ashe, former Knoxville mayor and ambassador to Poland, went over to Ukraine to observe elections. He sent us a report yesterday. Here goes:

Kyiv, Ukraine – Ukrainians went to the polls on October 26 to elect a new parliament and empower the government in Kyiv to focus on implementing long-term reforms and respond to Russian aggression. Despite the violence in the east and the difficulty of reaching internally displaced persons across the country, Ukraine through elections has chosen the path of democracy and elected a new parliament.

With the exception of areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian supported militants prevented voting, and in Crimea, where Russia continues to illegally occupy Ukrainian territory, voters turned out in cold weather to register their continued support for the path to Europe which began with the Maidan. The Central Election Commission (CEC) has preliminarily reported that turnout was more than 52 percent.

“We congratulate Ukraine on conducting an election that met international standards.” Co- leader of IRI’s delegation Victor Ashe, former United States Ambassador to Poland stated. He went on to add “the vote is an affirmation of Ukraine’s desire for national unity.”

IRI observers visited more than 150 polling stations in Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Ternopil, Volyn, Zaporizhia and Zhytomyr oblasts.

IRI’s observer teams were also able to witness voting in liberated Ukrainian territory, Donetsk oblast, specifically in Sloviansk. Observers were impressed by the patriotism and willingness of the brave residents who participated in the electoral process. The delegation praises the election commissions who were able to operate polling stations on Election Day under difficult circumstance in this recently fought-for territory, seeking to ensure that as many voters as possible were able to vote as part of a united Ukraine.

IRI observers reported only minor non-systemic irregularities and none that would affect the outcome of the election. In a sharp contrast with elections before 2014, observers did not witness abuse of administrative resources during the campaign.

IRI’s delegation reported that the election was well-administered and polling officials should be commended for the role they played in the process. Observers saw continued improvement in the voter lists and voters were able to easily receive a ballot after providing proof of identification.

IRI’s delegation praises the CEC for its administration of the election and its dedication to an open and transparent process. Since the May 2014 presidential election the CEC was able to conduct elections in six additional single mandate districts, an improvement that enabled more people to vote. With the government’s commitment to holding future by-elections in those few districts in which Russian forces prevented voting, the CEC will continue to play a crucial role in bringing all Ukrainian voters into the system.

“With the election now over, it is time for Ukraine’s new leaders to undertake the reforms citizens have demanded. It is noteworthy that several new, pro-European parties have entered parliament. Ukrainian citizens expect swift change in the governance of their country and a continued path towards Europe,” said Iveta Radičová, former prime minister of Slovakia.

IRI found the election reflected a true exercise of democratic rights and another step towards Ukraine’s entry to Europe.

Yesterday’s election marked IRI’s 200th election observation mission, including Ukraine’s 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2014 parliamentary elections and the 1999, 2004, 2010 and 2014 presidential elections.

IRI’s delegation was led by Victor Ashe and Iveta Radičová.

Other delegates who observed the election were:
• Nadia Diuk, vice president of programs for Africa, Central Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy;
• Robert Kabel, lawyer at Faegre Baker Daniels;
• James Kirchick, fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative;
• Gabrielius Landsbergis, member of European Parliament, Vilnius, Lithuania;
• Anita McBride, executive in residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University’s School of Public Affairs and former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush;
• Robert O’Brien, managing partner at Arent Fox, LLP;
• Jan Pieklo, executive director of the Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundation;
• Daniel F. Runde, William A. Schreyer endowed chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies;
• Edward S. Verona, senior advisor at McLarty Associates;
• Olin Wethington, member of IRI’s Board of Directors, founder and chairman of Wethington International LLC and former special envoy on China.

Thomas E. Garrett, IRI’s vice president for programs, and Stephen B. Nix, director of IRI’s Eurasia programs, assisted in the mission.

Prior to the election, delegates were briefed by political party representatives and Ukrainian election officials. They were also briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Ukrainian election law.

IRI endorses the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observers and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.

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State GOP calls Ball liar. Hard to tell

Got this in the inbox from the state GOP.

The only context to add here is that the forum the release speaks of was closed to the public and not televised, so it’s very difficult to add objective context to the release that to verify what’s what. That said, read with the appropriate political skepticism one should apply to anyone seeking office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gordon Ball is taking his campaign of half-truths and distortions to the streets.
Ball’s campaign on Wednesday announced he was embarking on a bus tour of Tennessee because Ball believes Senator Lamar Alexander won’t debate him. In fact, in a report yesterday, Ball’s campaign stated, “Sen. Alexander has refused to debate Gordon Ball or any other candidates in the race.”
The statements come less than a week following the two candidates facing off in a debate sponsored by the Tennessee Farm Bureau on Oct. 16 in Cookeville, Tennessee.
“I’ll agree with Gordon Ball on one point,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney, “that wasn’t a debate, it was a drubbing. From the first sentence uttered, Senator Alexander dominated Gordon Ball. He struggled to gain his footing with incoherent answers and views inconsistent with Tennessee’s conservative principles, while Sen. Alexander showed he’s a leader who can get results. It was evident to everyone watching, Gordon Ball had all he could handle of Lamar in that Farm Bureau face-off.”
To illustrate the his point, Devaney cited specific examples in which a flustered Ball made several gaffes, revealing four accidental moments of truth in talking to media after the event. The TNGOP compiled a helpful video from Ball’s availability capturing his missteps. It can be seen by clicking here.
• Accidental Moment of Truth No. 1: He’s a vote for the Obama agenda. “I’m not running against President Obama”
• Accidental Moment of Truth No: 2: He embraces liberal values. “I don’t think I’m distancing myself from the state Democratic Party.”
• Accidental Moment of Truth No. 3: He supports ObamaCare and forcing Tennesseans to buy health insurance. “The only way to pay for that (ObamaCare) is for all Americans to be involved and have some skin in the game.”
• Accidental Moment of Truth No. 4: He doesn’t really know Lamar Alexander’s record. “I would have voted against the Iraq War.” (Note: The Iraq war was voted on by Congress in 2002; Senator Alexander didn’t take office in the Senate until January of 2003.)
A fifth accidental moment of truth occurred in a recent Knoxville News Sentinel article. Ball actually admitted to supporting Barack Obama for president. From the report, “Ball said he voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primary, but supported Obama in the 2008 and 2012 general elections.”
“Gordon had his chance at a debate and he dropped the ball. He’s one more vote for the Obama agenda and admits as much. No one needs to see another public thrashing to know Senator Alexander deserves to be re-elected,” concluded Devaney.

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Candidate Forum tonight at West H.S. – Briggs called “evil”

Commissioners Jeff Ownby and Amy Broyles are crossing the aisle to bring joint town hall meetings to the community and have their first one scheduled for 6 p.m. today at West High School.

The theme tonight: Campaigns and Elections.

Cheri Siler, the Democrat running against Republican Richard Briggs for the Tennessee state Senate 7th District seat, said that she plans to be there in a release that included this spooky Halloween-themed video:

Basically, it rehashes a lot of the issues from the Siler camp that have been discussed before.

The ad calls out Briggs for not debating Siler, and asks voters to vote against the “evil” that would be Briggs.

It will be interesting to see who (and who doesn’t) show up at the forum this evening.

As for the forum itself, Democrat Broyles and Republican Ownby have annonced that they plan to have a series of forums around Knox County, not unlike what Republicans Ed Brantley and Bob Thomas have done:

But the Republican/Democrat thing is somewhat unique here. Politically Broyles and Ownby are far apart. But they’ve become buddies via some health issues. We did a story on his health problems over the weekend, excerpted here:

He credited his wife and family for help getting healthy, and fellow commissioner Amy Broyles.

That last shout-out is of note because the Republican Ownby and Democrat Broyles often butt heads on political matters during Commission meetings.

“We can agree or disagree on issues, but at the end of the day we can walk off the stage and we’re friends,” Ownby said. “She’s been through it all herself, with her health issues.”

Broyles has seen her share of medical difficulty.

Under pressure from then-commissioner R. Larry Smith over travel in 2013, she shrugged off scrutiny in a meeting by saying, “since being elected to Commission, I have survived a shooting, two brain surgeries, a concussion, five cerebrospinal fluid leaks, viral meningitis, eight kidney stones, a tumor removed from my upper chest, a uterine hemorrhage and the beginning of menopause.”

Broyles said she and Ownby have bonded.

“Oh yeah,” she said, “over hospital visits.”


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Wanna fist-bump with Burchett?

Times are rare when you can see Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett shake hands with folks, but this is one of those occasions – constituent meetings with the mayor.

He’ll go to the fist bump as a default, but will shake hands with some of those folks who extend a palm. Here are the times and locations for upcoming constituent meetings, announced this morning:

Monday, October 27
11 a.m.-noon
Burlington Library
4614 Asheville Highway

Thursday, October 30
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Bearden Library
100 Golf Club Road

Monday, November 3
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Corryton Senior Center
9331 Davis Drive

Thursday, November 6
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Cedar Bluff Library
9045 Cross Park Drive

Wednesday, November 12
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Carter Senior Center
9036 Asheville Highway

Friday, November 14
4-5 p.m.
Halls Senior Center
4405 Crippen Road

Monday, November 17
11 a.m.-Noon
Fountain City Library
5300 Stanton Road

Wednesday, November 19
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Howard Pinkston Library
7732 Martin Mill Pike

Monday, November 24
9-10 a.m.
Strang Senior Center
109 Lovell Heights Road

Tuesday, November 25
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Karns Library
7516 Oak Ridge Highway

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Your Kiffin roundup

Your 13th House District Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson was the subject of an ad that compared her to Lane Kiffin – the heartbreaker, failer-upperer and former UT football coach who left in the cover of night.

According to Georgiana Vines, quoting Johnson, the ad supporting Eddie looks a whole lot like one from a couple years back when Johnson ran in 2012. (A touch of irony on prior accusations of plagiarism could be worth noting here.)

When sports intersects with politics, it usually ends up being ridiculous.

Meanwhile, John Adams riffed on the possible political, business and parenting uses for invoking Kiffin.

And then there’s the other unprintable stuff, NSFW category for Kiffin:

Comic Bill Burr rips into Lane Kiffin and gives h/t to Knoxville in his Sept. 1 podcast. If you’re into comics and don’t mind hearing the language, worth a listen. Roll up to the 9:20 mark for the Kiffin-UT-Alabama-SEC stuff.

And if you’ve just crawled out from a pink marble slab here in East Tennessee, here’s what Kiffin-haters have been enjoying, Kiffin’s Krimson Korner, on Tosh.0. Also NSFW.


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