Local News Articles

Three Airlifted After Rear End Collision on Highway 56 South

May 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
1987 Dodge pickup truck driven by Todd Van Dyne
2011 Nissan Rogue driven by Mark Cardwell

Three people were airlifted after a rear end collision Monday evening on Highway 56 south.

Trooper Gerald Carter of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 48 year old Todd Van Dyne was driving a 1987 Dodge pickup truck south on Highway 56 when he crashed into the rear of a southbound 2011 Nissan Rogue, driven by 50 year old Mark Cardwell of Nebraska. Cardwell's mother, Lady Belle Cardwell of Crossville was a passenger.

All three were flown from the scene by different helicopter ambulances. Van Dyne was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. The Cardwell's were flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

DeKalb EMS, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation

NES Presents 10th Annual Fifth Grade Musical

May 11, 2015
Dwayne Page

Northside Elementary School presents its tenth annual fifth-grade musical titled “Country Must Be Country Wide” on Thursday, May 14th at 6:30 in the NES gymnasium. Directed by Kelly Jo Birmingham, the fifth grade students will present a tribute to country music and the artists.

Northside Elementary School’s spring musical provides our students with the opportunity for artistic expression. This year’s production is comprised of approximately two hundred fifth grade students plus staff and community members. “Country Must Be Country Wide” is a student-based community project, combining the talents of Northside students, faculty, and staff, as well as the talents of several Smithville community members. Smithville’s Josh Issac Melton will be performing in this year’s musical. He was the winner of DeKalb’s Got Talent Competition and The Voice’s VIP Pass. The VIP Pass guaranteed that he be able to skip the first few rounds of the audition process. Melton says, “This is my third year helping with the fifth grade musical. I love how it makes all the kids a part of something big and it helps them explore their talents. I love being able to give back and help them grow in the arts. I know this is a time they will never forget.”

Former resident of Smithville, Mr. Greg Owens, also known as “StyckMan” of 106.9 Kicks Country, assists with the musical production each year. He states, “I am told the kids look forward to being in the fifth grade musical from their very first year at Northside. Each group does their best to outperform the previous shows. I can honestly say every year, I am amazed at how well the kids perform. It is the highlight of my year. I love working with the students to create a fun show.”

NES Music Director, Kelly Jo Birmingham says, “It’s truly an honor to get to work with such talented students and colleagues. Each year, I am blessed by the overwhelming support from the parents and community businesses.” Birmingham goes on to state, “this year, we had several organizations donate money to help make this year’s musical a memorable one for our students. I would like to personally thank NES PTO, Stonehaus Winery, Tenneco, DTC Communications, Family Medical Center, DeKalb Community Hospital, Optimus, Sarah J. Cripps, Atty, Tecia Puckett Pryor, Webb Anesthesia Services, PLLC, Cliff Duke, DDS, Fast Pace Clinic, Glenda Davis, CPA, Citizens Bank, State Farm Insurance, Bumpers Drive-In of Smithville, Herndon Farms, Wilson Bank and Trust, Bratten Cook III, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Bates Apparel, and Rob Ramsey for supporting us this year. This is a student-based community project, and we are very grateful for the continued support from the community each year.”

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrests for DUI and Domestic Assault

May 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made arrests last week for driving under the influence and domestic assault.

21 year old Brandon Allen Adcock of King Ridge Road Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for violation of roadways laned for travel and possession of drug paraphernalia (marijuana pipe). His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 4.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, May 4 a deputy was dispatched to investigate a rollover wreck on King Ridge Road. Upon arrival, the officer found a white SUV on its side in a yard. Beside the vehicle was a bag containing a pipe. The officer spoke with the driver, Adcock who had an odor of alcohol coming from his person. Adcock allegedly admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana during the day and said that the pipe belonged to him. He also submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. After submitting to a blood test, Adcock was placed under arrest.

42 year old Ernest Brian Osment of Will Daniel Road, Woodbury is charged with driving under the influence and possession of a handgun while under the influence. He was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for traffic. His bond is $4,000 and he will be in court June 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, May 6 a deputy observed a blue truck leave its lane of travel on North Congress Boulevard and cross into the turning lane. After stopping the truck, the officer spoke with the driver, Osment who had an odor of alcohol coming from his person. He also had slurred speech. Osment allegedly admitted to drinking during the day. He submitted to and performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test and was placed under arrest. During an inventory search of his vehicle, the deputy found a holstered and loaded 22 six shot revolver located in the cab of the truck in an arm rest. Osment told the officer that the handgun belonged to him.

43 year old Kendra Guinn of Bright Hill Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court May 14. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 9 Guinn allegedly physically assaulted her husband by ripping his shirt and scratching his neck area. Both parties involved were interviewed by a deputy and it was determined that Guinn was the primary aggressor.

53 year old Carl Everett Martin of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court May 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 9 a deputy responded to Cookeville Highway for a physical domestic between Martin and his wife. Martin allegedly caused bodily harm to the woman by breaking her tooth, busting her lip, and bruising her eye lid and eye brow. The woman said that Martin held her down by the hair and beat her in the face while in the living room of the home. The woman said she feared for her safety.

DeKalb County Commemorates Safe Boating Week

May 11, 2015
Edgar Evins State Park Manager Jacob Young, Dekalb County Mayor Tim Stribling, T.W.R.A. Wildlife Officer Tony Cross, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Terry Martin observing the Proclamation of Dekalb County Safe Boating Week.

DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling joined Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, U.S Army Corps of Engineer, and Tennessee State Parks officials Monday May 11, 2015 on Center Hill Lake at Edgar Evins State Park and presented an official proclamation declaring May 16th through 22nd 2015 as “Safe Boating Week.”

DeKalb County Safe Boating Week coincides with National Safe Boating week. The week serves as an opportunity to highlight the importance of safety precautions and responsible behavior when spending time on our local lakes and rivers.

National Safe Boating Week is the official launch of the 2015 Safe Boating Campaign. This year long campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of wearing a life jacket by recreational boaters.

DeKalb County, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tennessee State Parks, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials on Center Hill Lake have teamed up with the National Safe Boating Council and other boating safety advocates across the U.S. to promote safe and responsible boating during National Safe Boating Week.

Before casting off for a day on the water, boaters should take appropriate precautions. File a float plan with a friend or family, get a vessel safety check and take a boating safety course. Boaters should also check the weather forecast and make sure everyone onboard is wearing the correct type and fit of life jacket. Boaters can develop “boater’s hypnosis” a condition in response to sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion, which causes fatigue and slows your reaction time. Combining this condition with alcohol or drugs greatly reduces your coordination, judgment and reaction time, which could lead to deadly consequences so please boat sober.

“We want everyone that boats in the waters of our county to enjoy themselves,” said Mayor Stribling. “and that starts with observing safe boating practices and wearing your life jacket.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation, managing more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, the Corps of Engineers provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages. For more information on Corps of Engineers recreation sites and activities, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.

Fire Causes Extensive Damage to Residence on Talpha Drive

May 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Fire Causes Extensive Damage to Residence on Talpha Drive
Home of Cecil Waggoner Extensively Damaged by Fire

A residence on Talpha Drive was extensively damaged by fire early Sunday morning.

Central dispatch received the call at 3:11 a.m.

Firefighters were dispatched to the home belonging to Cecil Waggoner at 391 Talpha Drive, Dowelltown at Snow Hill.

Stations Responding included the Main Station, Liberty, Cookeville Highway, and Short Mountain Station.

"Initial information indicated that the home was occupied. Firefighters and deputies from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrived on the scene and found heavy fire in the attic area and immediately made entry to attempt to locate victims. While performing search and rescue efforts, a family member arrived and confirmed that no occupants were in the house. Firefighters then began efforts to bring the fire under control, but the home and contents were already extensively damaged," said County Fire Chief Donny Green

"The fire origin was determined to be in the den area and the cause is currently undetermined. DeKalb EMS was also on the scene as a precautionary measure", Chief Green concluded.

DeKalb Among Nine Additional Counties Included in Ice Storm Disaster Declaration

May 10, 2015
Dwayne Page

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that nine counties will be added to the existing 36 receiving federal recovery assistance from the severe winter storm of Feb. 15, to Feb. 22, 2015.

Claiborne, Cocke, Davidson, DeKalb, Greene, Hawkins, Pickett, Rhea and Wayne counties were added to the declaration following new damage assessments requested by the state, and conducted by local officials, representatives of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“I appreciate the hard work of all the county emergency management officials who are out there every day working for the citizens they serve to get them the help they need, and this assistance will provide some relief to these additional counties,” Haslam said.

Tennessee now has 45 counties included in the Presidential Disaster Declaration, DR-4211, of April 2, 2015. Previously declared counties include: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardeman, Hardin, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Loudon, Marshall, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Putnam, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Van Buren, Warren and White.

The federal assistance will allow eligible government entities and certain private non-profits in the declared counties to apply for reimbursement of specific expenses related to disaster response and recovery under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program.

The Public Assistance Program provides a 75 percent funding reimbursement for costs related to debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

State and local governments and electrical utilities spent more than $30.4 million in their response and recovery actions before, during and after the winter storm.

The February storm took 30 lives, severely damaged local utilities, forced universities, K-12 schools, and daycares to close, and impacted communities and residents throughout the state.

Multiple state agencies were involved in the response, including the Tennessee departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Insurance, Correction, Environment and Conservation, Finance and Administration, General Services, Health, Human Resources, Human Services, Transportation, Military, Safety, and the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Commission on Aging. The response involved approximately 3,500 state employees.

TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. For more information, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.

Alexandria Alderman Issued Petition to Run for Mayor

May 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Bennett Armstrong and David Cripps Reading Documents at a Recent Alexandria Town Council Meeting
Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley and City Attorney Vester Parsley
Alexandria Aldermen Pat Jackson and John Suggs

An Alexandria Alderman has apparently decided to run for mayor.

Bennett Armstrong, who had picked up a petition to seek a full term as alderman, has withdrawn it and has been issued a new petition as a candidate for mayor. Armstrong is currently an alderman appointee, serving out an unexpired or vacant term.

Mayor Tony Tarpley also plans to be a mayoral candidate. Tarpley was appointed to the office in 2013 after Jim York was elected mayor and resigned three days after taking office. Tarpley has served the first two years of York's unexpired term as mayor. Both Tarpley and Armstrong plan to seek the last two years of the term.

Other candidates who have picked up petitions are:

Alderman: David G. Cripps and John Suggs (both for 4 year terms). Cripps and Suggs are incumbent aldermen, appointees serving out unexpired or vacant terms.

Alexandria voters will have a chance to elect a mayor and as many as five aldermen in the town's election on September 3.

Qualifying petitions are now available from the DeKalb County Election Commission. The deadline to get in the race is noon on June 18.

In this year's Alexandria election, three aldermen are to be elected, each to serve a four year term. Meanwhile, a mayor and two other aldermen are to be elected to fill vacancies or the remaining two years of unexpired terms. No petitions have yet been issued for the two-2 year terms to fill vacant/unexpired terms.

The sitting members are Mayor Tony Tarpley and Aldermen Pat Jackson, David Cripps, John Suggs, and Bennett Armstrong. All are serving as appointees except for Jackson, who was elected in 2013 and still has two years remaining in his term.

Relay For Life Brings People Together in Fight Against Cancer (View Videos Here)

May 9, 2015
Dwayne Page

In what has been a DeKalb County tradition for eighteen years now, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life successfully brought together hundreds of people Friday evening who wanted to show their support for and honor the memories of their loved ones who have been afflicted with cancer.

Greenbrook Park was filled with folks who gathered to help in the battle against cancer, inspired by this year’s theme," Cancer: Not here, Not there, Not anywhere".

The program from the stage featured singers and church groups along with a special performance by Darrin Vincent and daughter Victoria. The opening ceremony included presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347, the National Anthem performed by Suzanne Slager, welcoming remarks by Renea Cantrell and a song in honor of cancer survivors by Shelley Cross and Bonnie Rigsby.

Cancer survivors, introduced and presented with a medallion, took the first lap around the walking trail in the park.

Teams joined together to raise money to aid in the battle against cancer.

The walking track was also lined with luminaria in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer.

At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!

Aldermen Uphold Mayor's Termination of Caplinger by Simple Majority Vote (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 8, 2015
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Randy Caplinger apparently will not be getting his job back as Smithville Police Chief

After a seven hour due process hearing Friday, the Smithville Aldermen voted 3-2 to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Caplinger. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy voted in favor of the mayor's action. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller voted against it.

But the vote itself has become an issue.

Caplinger's attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox insist that the city's charter requires a two thirds majority vote (four out of five) to confirm a mayoral termination. And Aldermen Jacobs and Miller said they had spoken with legal representatives of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) who told them that according to the city's charter, four votes were required to approve the action of the mayor.

Cripps and MTAS are basing their opinion on Article III of the Smithville City Charter regarding Organization and Personnel. Section 3.01, subsection (2) states that "All officers and employees of the city, except as otherwise specifically provided by ordinance, shall be appointed and removed by the Mayor but only with the approval of at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Council present voting upon the appointment or removal, and the employees shall be under the direction and control of the Mayor."

But City Attorney Vester Parsley cited another section in the charter, which seems to conflict with Section 3.01 in that it allows for only " a majority of the board" to approve removal of employees by the mayor. Parsley recommended that the aldermen follow this section of the charter. "My contention is that a simple majority would be enough," Hinting that there might be a legal challenge, Parsley added that "the courts may have to decide that issue," said Parsley.

The section of the charter to which Parsley refers is Section 3.08 in Article III which states that "The appointment and promotion of employees of the city shall be on a basis of merit, considering technical knowledge and education required to perform satisfactorily the work, experience in the particular or similar line of work and administrative or supervisory qualifications. The Mayor, or the City Administrator, if established by the Board, may, with the approval of a majority of the Board, make appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, suspensions, and removal of all employees".

Throughout the hearing, Cripps and Cox called numerous witnesses to testify on Caplinger's behalf including the former Chief himself, trying to show that he was being treated unfairly; that similar things he was being accused of were being committed by other employees who were going unpunished; and that the city administration was undermining his efforts to lead the police department.

However, several officers, including the Captain, detectives, and sergeants testified against Caplinger, blaming him for creating confusion and tension between officers essentially by making decisions and then not supporting supervisors when those directives were carried out.

Prior to the vote, Alderman Jacobs urged the council to follow the advice of MTAS and tensions grew between he and Alderman Gayla Hendrix as Jacobs accused some city officials of conspiring against him. "I called MTAS Legal Consultant Melissa Ashburn on the way to the meeting today. She texted me right before the meeting and said according to Section 3.01 of the Smithville Charter, firing requires a two thirds vote of council members present. If five are present, this would require four votes to fire. If four are present it would require three votes to fire. I would submit that is why many of you conspired not to have me present here today. I think we have to go with the MTAS legal opinion. I don't think we have a choice. I'm not saying this because of Randy Caplinger. If it were a dog catcher, police officer, someone in public works, or any employee of the City of Smithville, I would take the same stand. This is a farce. This is a circus. You all have tried to act without the inclusion of the entire board and certainly without the scrutiny of the public of the City of Smithville. I am offended. It was a big hardship upon me today to make this meeting. I think that by being a long standing member of the board and Vice Mayor, I deserve more respect than this. And certainly, Mr. Caplinger, who is the person in question at this point also deserves more respect regardless of his guilt or innocence of these charges" said Alderman Jacobs.

"Mr. Jacobs, I would like to say I do not appreciate you reprimanding this board saying we didn't want you included here. This has been a hardship for all of us not just yourself. I've missed a full day's work just as these other board members have. You keep implying that the rest of us have some kind of vendetta against you. I don't understand where that comes from but that is certainly not the case. Or it's not with me. I can only speak for myself," said Alderman Hendrix.

"I wasn't necessarily referring to you", replied Alderman Jacobs.

"Well that's what you have been doing for the last several meetings and I do not appreciate it," Alderman Hendrix responded.

"No ma'am I have just referred to some members," said Alderman Jacobs.

Meanwhile, Alderman Danny Washer responded to allegations made during the hearing that he had once tried to intervene with an officer and later the sheriff to keep his son in law from being charged with DUI. "I don't feel like I did anything wrong. If I did I'll apologize. But Mr. Caplinger and every officer in this room or that I spoke to or dealt with and myself included has all told me that if there is anything I can do for you, let me know. If I can help you in any way. I told them the same thing. I'd do the same thing again tomorrow. I did nothing wrong in trying to help my son in law. I didn't use my influence or my power. I don't care what anybody says. The only thing I said was I'm Danny Washer and he is my son in law. If I can take him home and maybe keep him from losing his job I'd appreciate it. Nobody knew I was calling the Sheriff except me. Nobody up there. I called him (Sheriff). He talked to his officer. I again talked to the sheriff and he said I am supporting my officer. I am backing him. I said I understand. No hard feelings. I just wanted to try and help my son in law. If I am wrong in doing that then I am not much of a daddy, step dad, father in law, husband, or friend if I can't try to help you. If Randy (Caplinger) had been working that night, I would have called him. I just knew who was working. He always told me just like every other officer if there is anything I can ever do to help you call me. That's what I did. If I'm wrong and I broke the law I'm sorry. I didn't know I was. I was just trying to help my family or I'd help a friend the same way," said Alderman Washer.

Mayor Poss also noted some criticism directed at him during the hearing. "There has been a lot of talk today. I'm like Danny. I've been wore out (with criticism). Most of it was unwarranted. I didn't know I was going to be on trial today. But evidently I am," said Mayor Poss. Some officers testified during the hearing that Mayor Poss would often show up at or near crime scenes as they were conducting investigations and that the mayor had been critical of one former city police officer who he thought had spent too much time at the sheriff's office on one occasion.

As she cast her vote for termination, Alderman Hendrix said she tried to look specifically at the allegations and to weigh the evidence. "Lack of leadership and loss of morale are the foremost allegations that upsets me. We've had testimony of five employees and most of them have worked for the city for numerous years. I can only imagine how difficult it is to have to come to a hearing like this and give testimony against your boss. It's not easy and I don't think any of those gentlemen would have done that if they did not feel it was necessary. It does sound like there is a lot of confusion in the department. It actually sounds fairly chaotic. Each department has to have a department head who can be the leadership figure and run it efficiently and effectively. From what I've heard today I don't see that. I love Randy Caplinger as a person but as a Chief of Police I'm going to vote with the mayor. We need a change, " she said.

"I do not take lightly the concerns of the officers who have had to testify here today. I value your opinions very much. I appreciate the job you all do. I am very concerned about what you have had to say here today. Obviously there was quite a bit of confusion in the department. However, I'm not sure that rises to the level of dismissing the chief, especially without these problems having been brought to the full board to begin with. I am also troubled by the fact that we don't have any written reprimands in Chief Caplinger's file or where the mayor or Mr. (Hunter) Hendrixson, or the police commissioner have tried to counsel the chief or discipline him in any way. I think if the problems were that severe, and I'm not saying they weren't, but I'm thinking if they were that severe then some action should have been taken and that it should have been documented and placed in a file so that we would have some evidence to go on when we were brought to this hearing here today," said Alderman Jacobs before voting against termination.

City Council to Decide Case Against Randy Caplinger

May 7, 2015
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger
Sarah Cripps

The Smithville Board of Aldermen will convene Friday morning to conduct the long awaited due process hearing for Randy Caplinger, who wants his job back as Police Chief.

Mayor Jimmy Poss fired Caplinger on March 19 citing eight reasons for the termination

The hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. at city hall and WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

At the end of the hearing, the five member board of aldermen is expected to take a vote on whether to confirm the mayor's termination of Caplinger.

Under the City of Smithville's Personnel Policies regarding "New Hires, Promotions, Demotions, and Transfers", Section IV subsection J regarding Employment states that "Pursuant to the City Charter, the Mayor has the authority to hire, promote, demote, transfer, suspend, and remove all officers and employees of the City of Smithville with proper Board of Mayor and Aldermen approval. The City of Smithville is an at-will employer and may terminate the employment relationship at any time with or without cause. Employees may be disciplined up to and including termination of employment at any time."

"The point I want to make is the hiring and removal of employees can be initiated and done by the mayor but only with the approval of our board of aldermen. It says "proper" approval which I think is terribly important," said Sarah Cripps, attorney for Caplinger.

While some apparently believe a simple majority vote (three out of five) is all that is necessary to confirm the mayor's action to terminate Caplinger, Cripps told WJLE Thursday that the city charter is the controlling legal authority for the city, taking precedence over the personnel policy if there is a conflict, and the charter requires a two thirds majority vote which would be four out of five aldermen voting in the affirmative. Cripps bases her opinion on Article III of the Smithville City Charter regarding Organization and Personnel. Section 3.01, subsection (2) which states that "All officers and employees of the city, except as otherwise specifically provided by ordinance, shall be appointed and removed by the Mayor but only with the approval of at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Council present voting upon the appointment or removal, and the employees shall be under the direction and control of the Mayor."

"Apparently there have been a lot of discussions in our community about what is required to confirm the mayor's decision. It's simple. This is true at every level of our nation's government. At the federal level. At the state level. And most applicable to our case at the local level. The presiding executive can appoint certain officials who are department heads. Those officials must be confirmed by the legislative body with not a simple majority but a two thirds majority. It's called a super majority. It's there to protect the people from the whims of our government. That's why its special. A super majority is sixty six and two thirds percent of the members of that body. In the U.S. Senate, a simple majority is 51%. In Smithville, a simple majority is three members out of the five serving. Is that enough to terminate the chief? To confirm the mayor's decision? Absolutely not. How do I know that?. The charter tells me so in Section 3.01 because sixty six and two thirds percent is four (aldermen) out of the five. That is why the question that should be called Friday is will the board affirm or confirm the mayor's recommendation that our chief be terminated? If so, they must have four persons out of the five to confirm that decision," said Cripps.

No one knows for certain how any of the aldermen will vote Friday but Cripps said should the aldermen fail to affirm the mayor's termination of Caplinger, the mayor does not have the authority to cast a veto. According to Cripps, the city charter states that mayoral vetoes are reserved only for legislative actions by the aldermen. Cripps cites Article II of the charter regarding the Mayor as Presiding Officer. In Section 2.04 subsection (1) the charter states that "The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Board and shall not have a vote on any matter except in case of a tie vote". In subsection (2), the charter explains that "The Mayor shall have veto power over any legislative action of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen."

"The important point here is the term "legislative action". What is a legislative action? This section (2.04 subsection 2) tells us. It says upon passage of a legislative ordinance or resolution, the mayor shall notify the board in writing of a veto within ten days. A legislative action is very clear. It is a resolution. It is an ordinance. That is what legislative bodies do. They make law on whatever level of government they happen to be serving. In other words, our board of mayor and aldermen promulgate laws that affect the city. Those are ordinances. Those are resolutions where they desire to make their wishes known. Section 2.09 of the charter talks about what legislative action means. What is not defined in Section 2.09 as a legislative act under which the mayor has veto power, is the board's decision to hire or remove an employee. The mayor cannot exercise a veto in this case because it is not provided for in our city's charter. This is clear. It is not open for legitimate debate. If there is a veto, it is patently illegal. It's contrary to the provisions of the charter, which is the law under which our city operates because the vote being taken by the board Friday is not a legislative act. It is not a lawmaking act" said Cripps.


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