Cornersville BOMA hear about problems with dispatch

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

By Karen Hall


Sheriff Norman Dalton sent Chief Deputy Bob Johnson to the meeting of the Cornersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week to explain the problem with county dispatch that ended up on the Nashville news.

"Cornersville stopped 100 cars in March," Johnson began. "There were 22 in one day, and it overwhelmed our dispatcher. To check the driver's license, registration, and active warrants -- that takes a lot of time."

Johnson went on to explain the sheriff will continue to dispatch for Cornersville, as long as they don't pull over 22 cars in one day. He couldn't state a specific number, but did say the department is chronically short of dispatchers, who often have to work alone, though the ideal number is two. Dispatchers have to go to school and be certified, and the job is "more stressful than people imagine," Johnson said. "We're short-handed."

"I think the problem would stop if the officers were talked to about it," he added.

"I think we can work with this," said Mayor Amos Davis. "We appreciate your concern and coming to talk to us about it."

"This is our busy time of year," said Cornersville Police Sgt. David McVey. "The officer you're talking about is brand new, and he was going by the book." McVey explained that the other officers don't always ask dispatch to check license, registration and warrants for everyone they pull over.

During citizen's comments, resident Tommy Upton had his usual acrimonious exchange with Davis. Upton would like to have the minutes of the previous meeting read before the board approves them, and also questioned the cost of holding the meeting. He claims this is more than $1,000 when you count the compensation of the mayor and aldermen and town attorney Quinn Stewart.

"When you were elected, you became a servant, not a dictator," Upton told Davis.

"I'm not going to read the minutes," the mayor said. "Not this meeting, and not next meeting. The cost of the meeting is not $1,000."

Melisa Peters pointed out she and the other aldermen work throughout the month addressing the town's problems, not just at the meeting.

"We have other meetings and trainings to go to" as elected officials, added Alderman Lezlie Calahan. "I'm a servant -- first of all to the Lord. Anything that comes up, I'm willing to address."

"My problem is with the 10 minutes (length of the meeting)," Upton said. "The discussion (of the motions) needs to be here. We would like to know."

"Everything is open," Recorder Scotty Brock assured him. "They can't pass anything in secret, and I can't hide anything. You can come up here any time and see the citations and the ordinances, and read the minutes. The agenda of the meeting is posted on the door (of Town Hall) at least two days before the meeting."

Other citizens speaking included John Kiser; Josh Young, who would like to be considered for the job of fire chief; and Robert Pugh. Pugh talked about the recent TV coverage on the state legislature's passage of Rep. Billy Spivey's bill that would stop Cornersville Police patrolling on the interstate. Pugh also questioned the fact that Administrator Taylor Brandon lived in Spring Hill instead of Cornersville.

Brandon defended himself, stating that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed he could move to Spring Hill after getting married; when he was single he did live in Cornersville.

There is no ordinance that the administrator has to live in the town, Brandon pointed out.

With all the comments and discussion, this meeting lasted 33 minutes.