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Overton County Executive, Board Chair Exchange Words About Backdoor Politics

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton County Executive, Board Chair Exchange Words About Backdoor Politics

Overton County Executive Steven Barlow asked county commissioners Monday night to keep backdoor politics out of county business.

The tension showed during a discussion of new board appointments for the new fiscal year. Barlow outlined his committee plans, noting he had moved commissioners around to expose them to other parts of county government. He said he had not received any calls from commissioners about the proposed structure.

“The going behind and calling people at night and asking to vote this way on this or ‘if you do this, I’ll do that,’ that’s backdoor politics, and it’s not allowed in the state of Tennessee,” Barlow said. “I ask you guys to respect that. That has been going on. I thought we had been over that. I thought we were past that. But it is not. And I beg you guys for our him and our citizens, let’s just do it right, please.”

At least two commissioners spoke out, saying they had not been called about voting. Commission Chair Darwin Clark.

“I’ve been on this long time,” Clark said. “To insinuate that one of the county commissioners or any county commissioner would go behind people’s back to solicit votes is a slap in the face to all of us. It is a slap to face.”

As Barlow tried to interrupt, saying the accusations had been brought to his attention, Clark said, “I’m talking.”

“It ain’t been done,” Clark said. “So, I mean, you know, you set over and you say that, but you need to take a look at yourself sometimes, too.”

Commissioner Lee Richard said he supported the idea of moving people around to get different points of view, but he also appreciated the experience that some commissioners brought to specific committees.

“A lot of these committees I feel like there’s people that aren’t on the committees that should be on there,” Richard said. “For example Darwin is real good with budget. He’s worked hard doing this for years for this county, done an outstanding job on. I just kind of felt like maybe he should get on there.”

“We have people that’s been here 15 years and never been on a different committee,” Barlow said. “I think the more you utilize everybody and their strengths and weaknesses, the more they learn, the more they respect each other and come together and work together as a team.”

This year’s committee appointments included the creation of two new committees: a non-profit committee and an opioid board. Barlow said he believed the non-profit committee could help take some of the strain off the budget committee by fielding requests from Overton County non-profits prior to the end of the budget cycle. The opioid committee will help find ways to help the community through opioid abatement funds being distributed to the counties across the state.

Barlow said he also combined the ethics and policy committee as the State Comptroller’s Office has asked the county to rewrite several pieces of its governing principles in these areas.


The post Overton County Executive, Board Chair Exchange Words About Backdoor Politics appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.