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Murfreesboro Fire Captain Files Federal Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination

A Murfreesboro fire captain who says he was forced to resign or lose his pension after complaining about time clock issues has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he was targeted because he is black, the Daily News Journal reports. The complaint maintains that Battalion Chief Daryl Alexander changed plaintiff Theodore Pertiller’s time records without reason and that Pertiller was not properly compensated for overtime worked, stating there was no legitimate reason for Alexander’s actions and "similarly situated non-African-American employees were not subjected to this type of conduct." Pertiller says he complained to the City’s Human Resources Department about the incident, and that the city’s Human Resources Department agreed that race may have been a factor. City spokesman Mike Browning denied the allegations and said that Pertiller chose to retire prior to completion of the disciplinary process.
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Clarksville-Montgomery County to Hold Public Hearings Regarding Growth Plan

The city of Clarksville will hold two public hearings regarding its 20-year Growth Plan that will determine potential annexations for areas of Montgomery County into the city, the Leaf Chronicle reports. The Growth Plan is a long-range planning map that seeks to determine where future population growth will most likely happen within the county. Public hearing dates are listed below. You can also send comments via email to rpc@cityofclarksville.com by Oct. 9.
  • Monday, Sept. 30, from 6 – 8 p.m., Rossview Elementary School gymnasium, 2235 Cardinal Ln., Clarksville
  • Tuesday, Oct. 1, from 6 – 8 p.m., Civic Hall, Montgomery County Veterans Plaza, 350 Pageant Ln. Suite 201, Clarksville
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Shelby County Considers Next Steps if Memphis Tax Hike Passes

As Memphians prepare to vote on a sales tax referendum intended to fund police and fire department pensions, Shelby County Commissioner Edmund Ford, Jr. is considering strategies on how best to split the revenue from those taxes between the county and the city, the Commercial Appeal reports. Ford has been a vocal detractor of the referendum, saying sales taxes are “arguably the most regressive” and “take a larger percentage of income from low-income taxpayers than from high-income taxpayers.” If the city’s tax policy passes, the county could raise its own sales tax rate up to that of the city rate. The referendum is up for vote on Oct. 3.

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Knoxville City Council Approves Gun Show Ban on City Property

The Knoxville City Council on Tuesday voted 8-1 to formally ask the mayor to consider banning gun shows at city-owned spaces, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Councilwoman Gwen McKenzie, who put forth the resolution, said it has nothing to do with her views on legal gun ownership, but feels it is an "insult to injury" for the city to allow gun shows in areas of town that have for years suffered from gun violence. Mayor Madeline Rogero said she supports the resolution and would not allow any new gun show bookings for city-owned property. Successive mayors will have to recommit to the ban for it to remain in effect.

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Secretary of State Hargett Addresses Recently Blocked Voter Registration Law

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett on Tuesday spoke up regarding the new state law that would require voter registration groups to undergo state training, and fine paid registration groups for incomplete forms, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The legislation was introduced after complaints from Republican election officials in Shelby and Davidson counties who said they were overwhelmed by last-minute voter registration forms, many of which were incomplete. Hargett stressed the law was to cover paid registration assistance and said “If you're doing a voter registration drive, you owe it to that individual to make sure that voter registration form is complete … If you turn in a form that's half done, you really haven't helped that voter, have you?" HB1079/SB0971 was set to take effect on October 1; however, was blocked by by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger who called the law a “complex and punitive regulatory scheme.”

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Knoxville Council Seeks to Ban Gun Shows on City-owned Properties

The Knoxville City Council plans to ask the mayor next week to ban gun shows at city-owned spaces, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The resolution, sponsored by seven of nine city council members, is all but guaranteed to face backlash from gun rights groups, some of which challenged a similar ban in Nashville that was ultimately upheld by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The council will vote on the resolution in its Sept. 24 meeting at 6 p.m., EDT in the City-County Building.

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Dickson Takes First Step in Developing ADA Transition Plan

The City of Dickson is planning renovations to city-owned properties in order to guarantee federal ADA guidelines are met by the municipality, The Tennessean reports. On July 8 the Dickson City Council unanimously approved a contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates to prepare a transition plan that “identifies barriers to access in programs and activities” and “provide(s) equivalent access to the maximum extent feasible.” The Federal Highway Administration requires all cities and counties to submit a transition plan by Dec. 31 in order to continue receiving federal funding for improvement projects.

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Tennessee Rep. Karen Camper Brings 'Our Community, Our Solutions' Tour to Jackson

Tennessee Representative Karen D. Camper, D-Shelby, took her “Our Community, Our Solutions” (OCOS) campaign to Jackson where she discussed concerns and answered questions from community members, the Jackson Sun reports. Among the issues raised to Camper by attendees were how the General Assembly plans to deal with unemployment, Medicaid block grant funding and hospital closures in rural communities — which Camper said is the “No. 1 issue” for the state’s Democratic Party. You can contact Camper and inquire about future OCOS dates using Facebook.

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Memphis Councilwoman Sponsors Resolution to Study How Memphis 3.0 Will Affect Minority Communities

Memphis City Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson has sponsored a resolution which recommends hiring a consultant to study the long-term impact of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s Memphis 3.0 initiative, specifically involving its effect on communities of color, the Commercial Appeal reports. Johnson contends that the mayor’s plan does not advance certain minority neighborhoods in the city, rather designates them as a “nurture” area — which means a focus on growing existing business but not accelerated development. Johnson said “I think part of it is not understanding how (accelerate or nurture) was used. Nurture may mean you might feed them a little … but accelerate means we’re going to take care of you.” Memphis 3.0 was recently on the agenda for a reading, and on Aug. 6 at 3:30 p.m., CDT in the Council Chambers on the first floor of City Hall.

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17-Year-Old Student Announces Bid for Murfreesboro City Council

A high school student in Rutherford County has announced his intention to run for Murfreesboro City Council, the Daily News Journal reports. Zach Ouellette, a 17-year-old student at Central Magnet School, decided to enter the race after the recent tax hike approved by the council in June. Ouellette, who will be 18 next May, said of his campaign: "There's a general trend of spending a ton of money, and there's a huge hole in our budget. Instead of raising taxes, we need to look at spending. We need to find what we do and don’t need." Candidates can pick up their petitions to formally enter the race beginning Feb. 3.

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