POLITICS GET PETTY
With the municipal election in less than a week, the candidates have been keeping the city’s inspector general busy with complaints about their opponents. Two reports issued at the end of last month by Judge Roger Holmes provide a glimpse into topics that have triggered investigations. The reports were absent of names, but anyone following the local races closely can identify those involved with Holmes’ findings.
In one report, an alderwoman complained that a city administrator had gone to the city clerk’s office to review her nominating petitions. Holmes concluded that city clerk documents are open to public inspection, and therefore, a violation hadn’t occurred.
A second complaint on the same report was made against the same city administrator’s husband who had collected signatures for a candidate. Holmes, again, found no violation had occurred since the city administrator’s spouse is not a city employee.
Lastly, the alderwoman took issue with the opponent’s son working as a temporary janitor for two summers at Oak Ridge Cemetery. What that violation may have been remains a mystery, but Holmes noted the son’s employment occurred before petition filings.
In a second report, Holmes contacted a candidate and her attorney when photos of city employees appeared on the candidate’s political website. The city prohibits workers from using city equipment or their employment during political campaigns. Holmes also contacted each worker who appeared in the photo, or their direct supervisor, to determine if they had consented. Everyone denied having knowledge or giving the candidate consent.
The candidate voluntarily removed the photos.