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Press Release: Sumner County Commissioner Luke Tinsley Announces State House Run

Tinsley set to run in Republican primary for House District 40

Gallatin TN–Luke Tinsley is proud to announce his campaign for the Tennessee State House of Representatives’ 40th district. After much time dedicated to prayer and thoughtful consideration on the matter, he believes that there is a need for new leadership that looks to the future and not the past.

This will be a campaign focused on ensuring that our government is relatable, responsible and reliable to everyone regardless of where they live, what the make, or who they are. Our future has not already been written by our past. By putting people above politics, Luke will address the serious issues that face the people of this district. Everyday on the campaign trail he will speak to residents about their lives and how government can work better for them.

Throughout the past weeks, Commissioner Tinsley has spent time meeting with local officials, residents, and business owners in Sumner, Trousdale, Smith, and Dekalb Counties. The people of this district have needs that range from better infrastructure and growth management to economic development and education funding. He believes that the future of this district is bright but currently, we are in a critical time where choices made will a generational impact that could make or break our future.

Luke Tinsley is a strong conservative who comes from a military family. By serving on the county commission along with work in the private sector both for companies and as a small businessman, he has the experience needed to make change in Nashville for the hard working people back home.

January 2020 Meeting of the Smith County Commission

The Smith County Commission met at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2020, in the General Sessions Courtroom of the Smith County Jail and Courts Facility.

You can watch the full meeting below. 

Thanks to Powell & Meadows Insurance Agency for sponsoring the live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County Board of Commissioners meets on the second Monday of every month except December. Commission meetings are held in the General Sessions Courtroom of the Smith County Jail and Courts Facility, located at 322 Justice Drive in Carthage.

All meetings are open to the public and are streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

January 2020 Meeting of the Gordonsville City Council

The Gordonsville City Council met for the first time this year at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2020, at Gordonsville City Hall.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Gordonsville City Council meets at 6:15 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Gordonsville City Hall, located at 63 Main Street in Gordonsville. All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/. 

Primary Election set for March 3, 2020; two Early Voting sites will be offered

Registered voters in Smith County will have the opportunity to head to the polls for the first time this year on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. 

The ballot will include the Presidential Preference Primary, as well as three county referendums. Voters will have the chance to vote for or against two $25 wheel taxes and for or against an increase in the county’s sales tax rate.

The referendums will appear on the ballot as follows:

  • Wheel Tax Referendum # 1: For or Against the approval of a twenty-five ($25.00) dollar Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax pursuant to TCA § 5-8-102 to financially support the Smith County General Fund for three years. 
  • Wheel Tax Referendum # 2: For or Against the approval of a twenty-five ($25.00) dollar Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax pursuant to TCA § 5-8-102 to financially support the Smith County Highway Capital Projects for ten years. 

County Wide Referendum except the residents of the Towns of Carthage and Gordonsville will be exempted from the sales and use tax referendum because the local option sales tax rate in these cities is already at the maximum percentage of 2.75%. 

  • Sales Tax Referendum: For or Against increasing the local sales and use tax rate from two percent (2%) to two and three-fourths percent (2.75%), except as limited or modified by statute. 

You can download a PDF version of the 2020 Election Calendar here.

This election season, voters will be able to vote early at two locations: The Smith County Election Office and the Gordonsville Municipal Building.

Early voting at the Smith County Election office will be open from February 12 through February 25, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Voters may vote early at the Gordonsville Municipal Building from February 21 thru February 25, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday and Monday and 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Late-night early voting will be available at both locations on February 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Gordonsville site will work just like the Turner Building for early voting purposes. 

Both early voting sites will be open to all Smith County voters, regardless of where in the county they live. 

See the flyer below for more information: 

Please note that the voter registration deadline to vote in the March election is less than a month away on February 3, 2020.

On that same day, any candidates who wish to run in the August 2020 election may pick up their petition. 

Please visit  https://www.smithcountyelection.com for more information.

Special-Called Meeting of the Carthage City Council – January 7, 2020

The Carthage City Council gathered for a special-called meeting on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. at Carthage City Hall. 

The purpose of this meeting was “to discuss a resignation letter from the City Recorder with option to take action on results of the discussion.” 

City Recorder Jennifer Parker submitted her resignation letter at the December council meeting, citing the “toxic” work environment created by the mayor as her primary reason for resigning.

During the special-called council meeting, the council opened the floor for Parker and other current and former city employees to speak. After asking clarifying questions of the employees, the council allowed Mayor Sarah Marie Smith to respond to Parker’s allegations.

Toward the end of the meeting, the council discussed ways to proceed and brainstormed ways to potentially limit the mayor’s power moving forward, including changing the city’s charter.

You can watch the full meeting below: 

Thanks to Smith County Animal Clinic for sponsoring the live broadcast of this meeting.

The Carthage City Council meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at Carthage City Hall, located at 314 Spring Street. All meetings are open to the public and are streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/. 

The Carthage City Council will hold a special called meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at Carthage City Hall, to conduct the council’s January business. The regularly scheduled meeting earlier this month was adjourned due to lack of a quorum. 

Carthage City Council unable to hold scheduled meeting due to lack of quorum; meeting re-scheduled for January 21, 2020

The Carthage City Council met for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, January 2, 2020, but the council was unable to conduct any business because a majority of council members were not present.

Mayor Sarah Marie Smith was forced to adjourn due to lack of a quorum. 

Only three council members, Councilman Sam Petty, Councilman Bill Reece, and Councilman Cole Ebel, were present at the meeting.

The Carthage City Council will hold a special called meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at Carthage City Hall, to conduct the council’s January business. 

The following statement concerning the lack of a quorum at last week’s meeting was posted on the Town of Carthage Facebook page on Saturday:

When we met for the regularly scheduled Carthage City Council meeting on January 2, 2020, the meeting was adjourned after the roll call due to lack of a quorum, as required by the City Charter.

The council meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 314 Spring Street.

If you came to the January 2nd meeting to address an item on the agenda, please come to the January 21st special called meeting to address that same item. This meeting is open to the public, and all interested citizens are invited to attend.

You can watch the meeting on Smith County Insider’s YouTube below:

The Carthage City Council meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. All meetings are open to the public and are streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/. 

December 2019 Meeting of the Smith County Board of Education

The Smith County Board of Education held its final meeting of the year on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

You can watch the full meeting below. 

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County School Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at the Smith County Board of Education, located at 126 Smith County Middle School Lane in Carthage, Tennessee.

The next School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Prior to the meeting, the board will hold a work session concerning school capacities/locations.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

Press Release: Assistant District Attorney General Javin Cripps announces candidacy for 15th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge

Assistant District Attorney General Javin Cripps has announced his
candidacy for 15th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge.

CARTHAGE, Tenn. – Assistant District Attorney General Javin Cripps has announced his candidacy for 15th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge. Cripps is a life-long Smith County resident with experience handling both civil and criminal cases during his fourteen-year career. He is proud to bring a strong work ethic and a commitment to fairness to his campaign.

Cripps grew up on a family cattle farm between Smith and Wilson Counties where he worked every day when he wasn’t in school. On summer breaks he joined his father, a general contractor, at work. Cripps worked 30 to 40 hours per week as a construction laborer while working on his undergraduate degree at Middle Tennessee State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2001 with a double minor in Psychology and Political Science. Before starting law school in 2002, Cripps earned his Contractor and Plumbing license.

Cripps is a graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, TN. He interned for two years at the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office before joining the Holliman Law firm in Carthage, TN. In private practice, Cripps accepted contract work for the Public Defender and handled a wide variety of civil cases such as child custody, divorce, workers’ compensation, and Social Security.

In late 2006, Cripps was offered positions at both the Public Defender’s office and the District Attorney ’s Office at the same time. After much deliberation, thought, and prayer, he chose to become an Assistant District Attorney. Since that time he has worked in every county in the 15th judicial district, practicing in Macon County for the last five years.

“I am proud to be a part of this community, and that is why I chose to serve here,” said Cripps. He continued, “I have built relationships with the people and with the legal and law enforcement communities in every county in this district. Over the years, I have prosecuted every type of case from speeding to first degree murder.”

Cripps has been married for two years. His wife, Melanie, is a Chiropractor in Carthage, TN. He shares custody of his two daughters, both honor students and athletes at Union Heights. Together they have the gift of a unique blended family.

“Their mother and I co-parent very efficiently and effectively,” Cripps explained. He added, “Part of the job of a circuit court judge is to help families navigate the process of becoming co-parents, and I have now experienced that process as an attorney and as a father. I can bring a level of understanding and insight that families who go through this difficult transition often need.”

Cripps wants voters to know that he is determined, dedicated, and ready to serve. He appreciates your support in the Republican primary, which will be held in March 2020.

Committee to Elect Javin Cripps for Circuit Court Judge, Roger M. Duke, Treasurer www.CrippsForJudge.com | 615-933-5878 | Javin@CrippsForJudge.com | Post Office Box 566, Carthage, Tennessee 37030

December 2019 Meeting of the Gordonsville City Council

The Gordonsville City Council met at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, December 9, 2019, at Gordonsville City Hall.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Gordonsville City Council meets at 6:15 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Gordonsville City Hall, located at 63 Main Street in Gordonsville. All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/. 

Carthage City Recorder resigns due to alleged “toxic” work environment

During last week’s meeting of the Carthage City Council, City Recorder Jennifer Parker announced her resignation, effective December 20, 2019.

In her resignation letter, Parker specifically mentions the “inability to effectively perform [her] duties due to the toxic environment created by the Mayor.”

Parker addressed the council about her resignation after concluding her monthly City Recorder’s report.

“I hope the council will look into this issue,” Parker told the council. “Losing two recorders in eight months should be a problem, and I really hope it’s addressed.”

She encouraged the council to speak with department supervisors and other city employees.“This is not just me. I’m not just speaking for myself. I’m speaking for all of us,” she said.

In addition to her resignation letter, Parker submitted the following letter to the council: 

Council members, 

Along with my resignation letter, there are several concerns that I have for the City that I feel you need to be aware of. Issues with the Mayor, that if aren’t corrected, I feel you will lose so many more valuable employees.

I have been told repeatedly to talk to certain male council members “the way that I do” to convince them to change their mind on a vote if it is not what her agenda is. This is unethical and highly inappropriate.

I have been told to question everything, but I’m not allowed to question or voice my opinion if I feel things are incorrect, illegal, or unethical when it comes to her because “she is my boss and what she says goes.” This statement has been said to numerous supervisors when standing up to her. This created an extremely toxic work environment.

It is a constant issue to obtain her signature on checks. She refused to sign the last set of Fire Department fire call checks because she felt they “didn’t earn them.” It took two days to obtain her signature. This was at the same time she refused to sign a check for an American flag for the ladder truck. Mayor Smith also refused to pay Mr. Poindexter for use of the porta johns at the Carthage Market Fest. Employees and a member of that committee were told to tell Mr. Poindexter that we would not pay the $100 previously agreed upon because the City didn’t make any money.

One of my employees and myself were told to cut off electric services to The Spot, claiming that the issue was with a Council Member not cooperating with getting services changed over. At the same time, this Council Member was being told by the Mayor to wait to swap services over because she would be getting a donation for the deposit, but that the services would be cut off due to my employee saying it had to be. My employee does not have the authority to make that decision, nor did she.

It is an issue every month when a council member wants to put an item on the agenda that she doesn’t want to speak about. I have been told several times not to put an item on the agenda if she feels it doesn’t need to be. I have also been told to go against what the council votes on; for example, paying certain bills she doesn’t agree with. 

When hiring for our City Cashier position, Mayor Smith wanted to hire a certain applicant that was her friend. I had no particular problem with hiring this applicant except for the fact that at the time their water service was repeatedly being turned off for non-payment. This would not have been appropriate for an employee that has to turn off services each month. She stressed the importance numerous times that we needed to hire this applicant due to their race and gender and it would look good on the City. 

For the past six months, I have been chastised for being a working mother and caretaker for my family members. I have been fortunate enough to juggle the long hours, meetings, my child’s sports schedules, caring for my grandmother on Hospice, and my mother with Dementia. All the while being criticized for leaving work (after hours) to care for whomever and then returning to work later in the evening. When I asked to be off to take a family member for surgery, I was told to “have a member at church take them, that’s what they are there for.” One of my office staff was told the same thing with their family member prior to this.

The constant paranoia of the Mayor, false accusations and lies told by her (which she later will claim she does not remember saying), and hostile work environment have all been addressed with her numerous times with no remedy. I am saddened to leave and pray that this can be corrected for the sake of the City and the employees. Losing two City Recorders in a matter of eight months is detrimental to the functioning of the City. I can no longer take the personal risk of possibly being held liable for any of her behavior or lies told every day.

Jennifer Parker

12/5/19

Smith County Insider reached out to Mayor Sarah Marie Smith for comment but did not receive a response.

The City of Carthage is expected to post a job opening for the City Recorder position. 

The Carthage City Council will also hold a special-called meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, to further discuss the claims made in Parker’s resignation letter.

You can watch the full December 2019 Meeting of the Carthage City Council below.

December 2019 Meeting of the Carthage City Council

The Carthage City Council met on Thursday, December 5, 2019.

You can watch the full meeting below.

 

Thanks to Smith County Animal Clinic for sponsoring Smith County Insider’s live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Carthage City Council meets on the first Thursday of each month at Carthage City Hall, located at 314 Spring Street. All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

Governor Bill Lee visits Union Heights Elementary School

Students in Mrs. Stephanie Jenkins-Inyart’s 4th grade class at Union Heights Elementary School hosted a very special guest in their classroom on Tuesday: Governor of Tennessee Bill Lee. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the Governor shared pictures of his visit on social media. Lee tweeted, “Back in the classroom this afternoon to chat state government with Mrs. Inyart’s 4th grade class at Union Heights Elementary. Always great to see our young students interested in civics education.” 

Mrs. Inyart expressed her excitement about the visit and praised her students for asking thoughtful questions.

She provided the following statement to Smith County Insider:

“Teaching fourth grade Social Studies, we always study the foundations of America. I decided this year that I would love for my students to experience more than just words in the textbook. I found on the state website that you could request an appearance with Governor Bill Lee. I filled all the information and sent in the request. That night, I received an email from Alex Martin, Deputy Director of External Affairs-Office of the Governor. He stated that Governor Lee would love to come and speak with my class. However, they had to work on his schedule. After two months of waiting and working on schedules together, I received an email from him asking if Governor Lee could come to Union Heights on December 3rd. I had a conference call with Mr. Martin, who told me that Governor Lee wanted to visit all 95 counties and this was his only stop in Smith County. I was asked to provide information about our little community and our wonderful school.I was in constant contact with the Governor’s team preparing for his visit.The Office of the Governor made notifications of other dignitaries, including State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, State Senator Mark Pody, among others. I made notifications to Smith County Board of Education Central Office staff, School Board, and County Mayor Jeff Mason.

Leading up to the day, my students and I continued completing our standards on how our government runs and operates. I wanted my students to truly comprehend the differences in each level of government. I also wanted them to have an experience they would never forget. They worked together and came up with questions to ask Governor Lee. Some examples that were asked during his visit were, “Is it hard to separate your personal life and being the Governor?”, “How do you decide what bills are important to pass?”, “How are you going to help Title I schools?”. I always want my students to know more than just dates on a timeline or boring pictures in a book. I wanted them to be a part of Tennessee History.  All 29 of them have told me how exciting Governor Lee’s visit was and it was something that they would never forget. 

I want to personally all those that helped me obtain this goal for my students- Governor Bill Lee, Alex Martin, Deputy Director of External Affairs-Office of the Governor, Wendolyn Kittrell, UHS Principal, Joe Taylor, School Board District 4, Barry Smith, Director of Schools, Judge Michael Collins, Sheriff Steve Hopper, SCSD Deputy Chief Eugene Roberts, County Mayor Jeff Mason, Angel Williams, Supervisor of Federal Programs- Smith County Schools, my teaching team Jessica Baird and Susan Reeder and all the faculty and staff at Union Heights.”

See the gallery below for pictures of Bill Lee’s visit to Union Heights Elementary School.

Press Release: John Rose cosponsors Veteran Suicide Prevention Legislation

U.S. Representative John Rose (TN-6)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During Veterans Appreciation Month last month, U.S. Representative John Rose (TN-6) cosponsored the “Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act,” which seeks to prevent veteran suicide.

“Our nation’s veterans represent the very best of America, and they deserve our full support,” Rep. Rose stated. “Yet, every day, approximately 20 veterans are lost to suicide. This heartbreaking reality does not have to continue, and I am proud to cosponsor this legislation that lays the groundwork to provide our veterans the support and care they need with the help of community partners and providers in their own neighborhoods.”

The legislation authorizes a three-year program to fund community, non-profit, and state agencies’ care for veterans. The funding would be available through grants authorized to support veterans’ mental health screenings, housing, peer support, financial planning, outreach, suicide prevention education, substance abuse reduction, and more.

“November is set aside to honor our veterans, and in that spirit, I urge passage of this important legislation to best leverage our resources for veterans’ care,” Rep. Rose continued. “I am committed to fighting this crisis until we reach a day when no veteran is lost to suicide.”

Rep. John Rose cosponsored H.R. 3495 on November 14, 2019. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Representative Jack Bergman (MI-1) and will not require any new federal dollars.

U.S. Representative John Rose represents Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District and resides in Cookeville with his wife, Chelsea, and their son, Guy. The Sixth District includes Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, White, and Wilson counties as well as portions of Cheatham and Van Buren counties.

November 2019 Meeting of the Smith County Board of Education

The Smith County Board of Education met on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County School Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at the Smith County Board of Education, located at 126 Smith County Middle School Lane in Carthage, Tennessee.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

Dr. Roger Duke appointed to fill vacant County Commission seat

Dr. Roger Duke, newly-appointed District 6 County Commissioner

During the November meeting of the Smith County Commission on Tuesday night, Dr. Roger Duke was appointed to fill an empty seat on the commission. 

This seat became vacant on September 6, 2019, when District 6 Commissioner Barbara Kannapel turned in her resignation.

Registered voters living in District 6 (Carthage) had the opportunity to submit their names for consideration.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, two candidates submitted their names: Dr. Roger Duke and Steve Babcock. 

Both candidates were nominated by the commission, and current County Commissioners took a vote to decide which candidate would fill the empty seat.

Dr. Roger Duke was elected by a vote of 13-8.

Dr. Duke is a longtime Carthage resident and physician. He currently serves on the Carthage City Planning Commission and Carthage City Board of Zoning Appeals.

You can watch the November 2019 meeting of the Smith County Commission below. 

 

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