Mr. Tim Yeager of Riverside said the City Personnel Director Connie
Etzkin provided him with the following information at his request.
Mr. Yeager said the City Attorney was granted a three-year contract in June of
2008 and his contract will expire this year. Mr. Yeager advised there are no
provisions for evaluation or contract renewal. Mr. Yeager said Mr. Tisher is
a contracted attorney and his three-year contract ends next month.
Mr. Yeager advised Mr. Tisher is contracted by the City of Columbia to provide
legal services for $17,000 a month or $204,000 a year.
Mr. Yeager went over some of the legal services. Mr. Yeager said there is a
requirement that the City Attorney is to direct the management of all litigations
that the City is involved in.
Mr. Yeager said he lives daily with Mr. Tisher’s
management of the litigation procedures. Mr. Yeager said as far as he can
tell, there are no records of billable hours kept for city work, no safe guard
or checks and balances. Mr. Yeager advised he asked Mr. Tisher’s Office
what percentage of his work load was attributable to the City and he did not
get an answer.
Mr. Yeager spoke about no standards, no accountability
inventory, no way to get an ROI (return of investment) and the City not
having a method to evaluate the conduct of the City Attorney that he can
find. Mr. Yeager said the Personnel Director does not have a public record
of any evaluation critique of Mr. Tisher’s professional association with the
City for the almost entire ten years that he has been City Attorney.
Mr. Yeager said the City Attorney is not required to be at all board meetings, but
he will attend if requested by officials. Mr. Yeager advised Mr. Tisher was
in attendance and offered legal services on December 6, 2010 when the
Board of Zoning Appeals overturned the recommendations of the Grants
and Planning Director Norman Wright resulting in the continuation of
detrimental rental property activity at the rental properties of interest that
were discussed that day at the meeting. Mr. Yeager said one of the houses
that was discussed was 111 Second Avenue in Riverside, which is the
property that Council Member Matthews spoke about earlier.
Mr. Yeager said the property owner of the detrimental, rental properties is
appealing the decisions that he received at the meeting.
Mr. Yeager advised he has made
a personal study of the administrative remedies offered by the City when a
citizen is adversely affected by a city official’s decision in regard to
offenses committed by a large land holder, residential rental businesses and
corporations. Mr. Yeager said the venues he studied, included Housing
Board of Appeals, two City Court events and the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Mr. Yeager said in his case, the Housing Board of Appeals was a “kangaroo
court,” in which the Chairman told him he could make his speech if he
wanted to, but first he had to comply with the alleged code violation. Mr.
Yeager continued by saying, he was in the middle of an active civil
disobedience in which he was stating that he does not recognize the criteria
used by Code Enforcement Administration handling of this case; meaning
he thought the case was “bogus”. Mr. Yeager said he thinks the Chairman
did not understand his point and it has continued to go on and he has not
had satisfaction with this; and in return, he was told that it is the opinion of
the City Attorney that they should not go any further with this.
spoke about how he trusts Norman Wright and spoke about conflicts of
interest with members of the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Yeager
continued to talk about some court cases.
Mr. Yeager said he is opposed to
the renewal of Mr. Tisher’s contract, if he is intending to renew his contract.
Mr. Yeager said he would like an evaluation, if they are going to go through
that. Mr. Yeager again said he is recommending that Council not renew his
contract and offer the position to other applicants who have a sense of social
Mr. Yeager said if there are any public proceedings
concerning the renewal of Mr. Tisher’s contract, he wants to be notified and
he wants to testify specifically on many other points that he has knowledge
of that have affected him adversely.
There being no further business Council Member McCullen moved to
adjourn the meeting. The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
PSA2-Public Service Address;"Comments"
to City of Columbia City Council Members
The following are minutes from that meeting:
The above Public Service Announcement-2
was delivered 19MAY11
What follows below(from 16JUN11) is what appears to be either a response to that PSA-2;
or it's whatever they were going to do anyway.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING – COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE
June 16, 2011 – 6:30 p.m.
ORDINANCE NO. 3881 - AN ORDINANCE FIXING THE TAX
RATE FOR THE CITY OF COLUMBIA
FOR THE YEAR 2011 ON ALL
TAXABLE PROPERTY AT THE RATE
OF $1.31 PER $100.00– CITY
THIRD CONSIDERATION RECORDER’S OFFICE.
Council Member McCullen moved to approve Ordinance No. 3881 on third
consideration. Council Member Martin seconded the motion.
Council Member Matthews said they have had one budget meeting and she thought
they were going to meet again to discuss the department budgets they did
not discuss at the first meeting. City Manager Boyer advised Council
discussed talking about the budget at an ensuing study session but no one on
Council indicated they wanted to hear the briefing on the five small
departments that were left to discuss.
Council Member Matthews advised
she was not at the meeting where this discuss took place due to illness.
Council Member Matthews said Legal was not talked about at the budget
meeting and it is her understanding that Mr. Tisher’s contract is not up until
next year. (editor's note: I had advised City Council that City Attorney Tisher's
contract was to expire June 2011...this month...not a year from now.)
Council Member Matthews advised there is a handout regarding
the City of Franklin’s Legal Department that has been passed out that she
would like Council to look at. Council Member Matthews said that
Council, minus herself, decided to increase legal fees, up 100% from where
they were prior for a part-time employee, to almost a $250,000 a year.
(Apparently City Council wanted to give
City Attorney Tisher a raise instead of firing him.)
Council Member Matthews said the fee has been reduced some because Mr.
Tisher has seen what the City is going through.
Council Member Matthews
said that the City of Franklin currently has four full-time employees funded
and an intern. Council Member Matthews said the City of Franklin Legal
Department’s total personnel cost is $254,000. Council Member Matthews
said Council has to think about the City of Columbia paying $217,000 for
one part-time attorney compared to the City of Franklin paying $254,000 for
four full-time employees.
City Manager Boyer advised the City of Franklin
shows three employees, the fourth is unfunded.
Council Member Matthews
said she understands they are under the old contract and they are stuck at
this point, but there needs to be good staff decisions and these are numbers
they have to pay attention to.
Council Member McCullen said the total
expenditure for the City of Franklin’s Legal Department is $385,542.
(The difference is that in Franklin the Legal Department seems
to actually work in the interests of the City of Franklin.)
Council Member Matthews reiterated that the City of Columbia has a part time
attorney and we are paying almost the same amount that the City of
Franklin is paying for their three full-time employees.
Vice Mayor Kennedy said they have a full year with Mr. Tisher and it is just a little early to
discuss this.(Is this guy, Vice-Mayor Kennedy, paying attention at all?)
Council Member Stephenson thanked Council Member
Matthews for the information. Council Member Stephenson spoke about a
performance evaluation instrument for the City Attorney. Council Member
Stephenson asked the City Manager if he could look into an evaluation form
for the City Attorney. City Manager Boyer said Council should work with
the City Attorney on evaluating the City Attorney.
City Manager Boyer advised the City Attorney does not work for the City Manager and if
Council wants to develop an evaluation form then they should create a
committee to develop an evaluation form. City Manager Boyer said that is
not his area of expertise. City Manager Boyer advised that the cities he is
aware of that evaluate their City Managers and City Attorneys have a
Council committee that conduct the entire thing. City Manager Boyer said
the City of Columbia is very unusual in that he put together his own
evaluation form, and distributed it, and Council has agreed to use that form.
City Attorney Tisher said he is open to evaluation.
Council Member Martin
asked the Mayor to take the lead on this at a later date.
(At a subsequent City Council Study Session Mayor Dickey's lead consisted of him
holding up a copy of the City Charter and pointing out that City Attorney
evaluation is not mentioned in the Charter.
Dickey directed Council Member Matthews to "Take ten minutes and read it."...
Case closed...mission accomplished...
Thanks for the leadership, Dean.)
Members present voted aye.