Citizens for Better Government


Blount County Tennessee


Mayor and Sheriff get their numbers wrong


In a front page article, the Mayor and the Sheriff criticized our Tale of Two Counties presentation. The fact that they have never seen the presentation that we will make on February 19, did not seem to bother them. While raging at the numbers they think we will present, they managed to give out some interesting numbers themselves.


Cunningham began by saying that the Washington county Sheriff’s office “covers only 30,000 people”. Actually his number was wrong. It is closer to 50,000. His assumption that our presentation (which he has not seen) does not take this into account is also wrong.


Sheriff Berrong accuses county citizens groups of “deceptive claims” but does not cite a single concrete example. The Sheriff did accidently  expose some deceptive claims of his own. In the chart shown in the article (unfortunately not included in the internet version), which cites its source as the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, the Sheriff’s department budget is shown steadily increasing every year from fiscal year 98/99 to the current year 06/07. Not a single year to year reduction is shown. If this is the case then why has the Sheriff been deceiving the citizens of the county by repeatedly talking about budget cuts (another budget “cut” article)?


Mayor Cunningham seems to follow in kind by expressing outrage “about the accusations from the group”. Cunningham says: “I deeply resent it. It’s dishonest”. The only problem here is that Cunningham never identifies any specific accusations or deceptive claims.


Cunningham goes on to imply that the leaders of the citizens groups are only paying $1.60 / day in taxes. Wrong again. His number is not even close. The Mayor goes on to say that our citizens groups would: “complain about the second coming of Christ because he didn’t come to their house first”. We would suggest that this remark is irrelevant and deeply offensive to many people in our county.


The Mayor and Sheriff seemed very concerned that citizens will come to see our presentation on February 19 and make up their own minds about whose facts are correct. Their attitude is disrespectful to the citizens of our county.


Citizens for Better Government -