IDB presentation draws fire
Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:17 am
By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
Cannon County’s Industrial Development Board has asked the County Commission to remove County Executive Mike Gannon from control of the panel’s finances.
“Our request is this: Can we handle our own financial matters?” IDB chairman Randall Reid asked the Commission.
Reid and Doug Bodary, IDB vice-chairman, stood before the Commission for better than an hour Tuesday night and outlined problems faced since the reforming of the IDB last year.
County Executive Gannon countered telling Commissioners, “You’re buying a bunch of crap.”
“It’s all speculation. All a bunch of bull,” Gannon said.
Reid said the IDB members have spent the last several months trying to determine exactly where the panel stood.
The IDB soon determined that it was facing a net loss of $30,633 with the potential for a larger loss.
“I assume if the board had defaulted the county would have been responsible,” said Commissioner Kevin George.
Some $900,000 was spent and it was not approved by the board or the county commission, he said. Two other loans weren’t approved either, but “the county was pledged for these loans,” Bodary said.
“That’s why we were hustling to sell property,” he said. A hillside next to the Cannon County Convenience Center was auctioned off as was a small building on Bryant Lane.
All of this confusion prompted the IDB to ask the financial dealings of the committee to be removed from the county executive’s office, Bodary said. The panel intends to hire a CPA to handle IDB’s finances for a cost of about $800 a year more. Commission Chairman Stoetzel said a vote on that would have to be delayed until the County Commission’s April meeting.
“What’s the difference in letting them pay $800 of their own money?” asked Commissioner George. “My point is we vote on money all the time. What’s the difference?”
Bodary said the IDB had no objections to delaying the vote until April.
County Executive Gannon said, “I’m 100 percent in favor of what they want to do.”
“I don’t pay anything that Randall Reid doesn’t give me a go-ahead for,” he said. “I don’t vote on anything.”
Gannon said his function with the IDB was bookkeeping only.
“I didn’t spend one dime that Jackie Francis didn’t approve,” he said. (Francis was former IDB chairman.)
“This is the first I’ve heard of any of this,” Gannon said.
“My question is, are we sitting on this or is someone else going to investigate,” asked Commissioner George.
Reid said the information collected by the new IDB committee has been submitted to the Tennessee State Comptroller’s office.
Stoetzel called a five minute recess to let the situation calm down.
Following the recess, Commissioner Kevin Mooneyham offered a motion authorizing presentation of the case to the District Attorney General William Whitesell.
“This bickering back and forth has got to stop,” Mooneyham said. “Whether he acts on it or not, it’s his (Whitesell’s) decision.
Mooneyham’s motion passed the County Commission unanimously.
(Read the next edition of The Cannon Courier for more.)