NASHVILLE — An attorney advising a pro-charter government group in Fentress County predicts that his clients may soon have their biggest skirmish yet with county officials as it pertains to how best to operate the county government.
As Tennessee Watchdog has reported, quarrels between county commissioners and their constituents began early last year, when commissioners raised property taxes by nearly 50 percent. County Executive Frank Smith later used a profanity at a public meeting to describe a constituent who objected to the tax increase.
Smith also forced one resident to discontinue filming another commission meeting by having a deputy physically remove the cameraman. Later, Smith and other commissioners severely limited other residents’ opportunities to offer public comment at commission meetings.
Fed up with what they said is the county officials’ corruption and intimidation tactics, certain residents are proposing a charter government, which they have placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.
“The County Commission has engaged in continual intimidation of these citizens,” said Nashville-based attorney James Roberts Jr., who represents the charter government proponents.