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CROSSVILLE CITY ATTORNEY: CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEETINGS MUST BE OPEN TO PUBLIC

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Crossville City Attorney William Ridley has responded with an opinion about the Crossville/Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meetings and the issue of the meetings open to the public. According to the letter sent from Ridley to Crossville City Councilman Danny Wyatt, chamber board meetings are subject to the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, meaning the public and media may attend. Wyatt asked for the opinion of the city attorney based on concerns he had. Wyatt told 105.7 News the chamber is not transparent with its recent meetings and that needed to change. Wyatt added they need to operate according to the law. T.C.A. 8-44-101 states all city, county and government meetings are advertised with adequate public notice prior to the meeting and open to the public. The only exception, as in the city council or county commission, for example, is if the entity is meeting in executive session to seek counsel with their attorney. An executive session is not open to the media or public. The act also says the board of directors cannot hold a meeting in private where the subject of the meeting concerns personnel issues. Last week’s meeting of the Crossville/Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce was open, but previous ones over time were not.

Crossville Mayor James Mayberry told 105.7 News this afternoon the chamber has operated like they have been for some time. “However, the chamber is now following the law regarding posting meetings in advance to the public and media,” said Mayberry. “The chamber does everything they can to promote and enhance current local businesses and recruit new businesses to Crossville and Cumberland County,” added Mayberry. The chamber played a major role in Maverick Oil’s decision to come to Crossville. Maverick Oil held its groundbreaking at the Interchange Business Park in Crossville last week.

At last week’s meeting, chamber board of director members discussed the evaluation of Chamber President Brad Allamong. Some members said the meeting was not the time to vote on retaining Allamong as president. A motion passed to wait three months and look at an evaluation of the job of Allamong that was not supplied to the media at that meeting. However, Allamong told 105.7 News the evaluation had a maximum of 200 points, and he scored 104. The evaluation was in two parts. Part one is a summary of standard duties of a chamber president, on which he scored a 64.7. Part two is a list of goals achieved for the year, number of visits to industries and other areas, on which Allamong scored 39.4. Allamong has been president and CEO of the Crossville/Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce for five years. Allamong added that two new directors, Scott Hale and Matt Dukes, will be in place starting July 1, 2018. A new chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Vickie Upchurch, and a new chair-elect, R. J. Crawford, will also be in place July 1.

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