published Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

City Councilwoman Deborah Scott blasts Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield


by Cliff Hightower
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City Councilwoman Deborah Scott lashed out today at Mayor Ron Littlefield for an email he wrote to City Council members, asking them to stop burying department heads under information requests.

“I’m going to keep getting the records and I’m going to keep asking the questions,” Scott said.

The email was sent to council members this morning and Scott read the entire email during City Council committee meetings.

Littlefield said in the email that it is not the job of the council to run the day-to-day operations of the city.

“Some of you are asking questions that cannot be answered without undertaking a college course on how things work,” he wrote.

He asked that all records requests go through the mayor’s office now instead of department heads.

“My answer to that is ‘no,’” Scott said. “I’ll get the information if I have to file a Freedom of Information Act request.”

The following is the email from Mayor Littlefield :

Having been a member of the City Council as well as a departmental administrator, I am familiar with the practice of those who serve in a legislative/policy capacity making direct contact with those in administrative/line/staff positions. Usually some level of such contact is tolerated and, if not excessive, we don’t complain. As we move into budget discussions, however, it seems that the direct contacts from council members to administrators and staff tend to increase and become a major burden and diversion from work assignments. This has happened in previous years and, unfortunately, it is happening again. It has come to my attention that some administrators and staff are being literally bombarded with questions, inquiries and requests for special analysis and documentation. This cannot continue. It is not the job of the council to run the day to day operations of the city. Some of you are asking questions that cannot be answered without undertaking a college course in how some things work. In other cases, questions are being directed to the wrong individual or departments. Accordingly, please channel all your information needs through the Mayor’s office. You certainly may call if the need is urgent, but it might be better if you email us so that requests can be coordinated and managed in a more efficient and effective manner. Thank you for your cooperation.

For complete details, read tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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