During a specific interview discussion Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill spoke to Metro Council district member and At-Large candidate Steven Glover about his plans to request a budget opinion from Tennessee’s state Attorney General.
Nearing the end of the segment the men discussed the alleged illegal budget proposed by Mayor Briley and the Metro Council and questioned the legal ramifications of whether or not the Metro legal department could get involved.
Gill: Now the Tennessee legislature, not the only one’s that love to raise taxes. Metro Council, Nashville. They wanted to raise taxes a few weeks ago but instead opted to balance the city budget by including money to be generated by a parking meter scheme that Mayor Briley has proposed and that is overwhelmingly opposed by voters in Nashville.
They haven’t passed the tax scheme to bring in thirty million dollars or so in revenue but they’re counting that revenue that hasn’t been approved and the deal that hasn’t been cut to “balance their budget.” They’re also counting money to be derived from selling property including the Nashville Thermal Plant to “balance their budget.” Steve Glover is a Metro Councilman, a District Councilman. He’s running for Metro Council At Large. And today he’s asking that the state Attorney General dictate a letter of whether or not this balanced budget is legal or not.
Ferrell Haile state Senator from up in Sumner county has been asked to submit the request to the state Attorney General and Steve Glover on our News Makers line with us right now to give us a little more detail on what’s behind this. Steve, good to have you with us.
Glover: Thank you Steve, how are you this morning?
Gill: Good. I liked the point you made in your release this morning. And by the way folks can go to Tennessee Star and find the details of the story about this request for an Attorney General opinion. But if I go to the bank and explain, “Hey, don’t bounce my checks this week even though I’m in the red. (Glover giggles) I’m going to deposit money next week.” You’d get laughed out of the bank and yet that is exactly what the Metro Council just did. “Hey, we’re going to balance the budget based on what we’re going to do in terms of passing legislation. In terms of raising revenue after the election because you know if we pass this before the election some of us might get voted out.”
Glover: Yeah. Possibly. Now in fairness, you know I’m proposed the three point five in order to cover the cost of living adjustments we’d promised people. But it should have been an amendment and that’s what led me to where I am right now with this. Everybody was fighting me and they said, “Well what are you going to do about thirty million? And I’m like, “Well, mine was supposed to be an amendment and now all of a sudden we’re doing substitutes and I just stuck it on to the Mayors’.
Well that’s when it really came to light, I’m going “Wait a minute. We can’t pass mine, then why are we looking at his?” And so Senator Haile who is out of Gallatin, he’s my Senator in Davidson county. I reached out to him and he’s been kind of enough. His staff is going to look at everything tomorrow and then give me the best path to follow. I think an opinion, whatever. I just know that I’d like the state Attorney General to give me whatever is going to be the most viable piece of information we can have here in Nashville.
Gill: Now could the Metro legal department here in Nashville, Davidson county, couldn’t they declare that this budget is illegal because state law, Tennessee code requires a balanced budget? The Metro charter requires a balanced budget. Why can’t the Metro legal council say, “Hey, ya’ll just passed an illegal budget.”
Glover: Well, I think they could if they wanted to. But again, I’m not an attorney. But they work for the Mayor. They don’t work for the state. I think it’s independent opinion or whatever is going to be the best path to follow here from the state Attorney General is probably the right way to go.
Gill: Yeah the Metro legal council would clearly have a conflict of interest if they worked for the Mayor and are being asked to determine whether or not the Mayors budget is legal or not. If they want to keep their jobs they might come down on the side of the Mayor.
Glover: Possibly. (Gill chuckles) I think if you ask anybody involved in the fairgrounds and what’s happened to that property out there they may say that Metro legal may have a conflict of interest. I certainly will say it.
Listen to the full hour here:
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