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October 24, 2007

Marti Rutherford to resign more than a month after she, uh, resigned (updated)

Good grief. I am becoming numb to the absurdity, but in case you're not yet, here's some virtual Novocaine.

The missing letter that should have accompanied former Council member Marti Rutherford's "immediate" resignation on October 1, 2007 has surfaced (PDF found at the Chattanooga Times Free Press).

It is dated October 16, 2007, and says that Rutherford's resignation is effective November 4, 2007. (Her 62nd birthday is November 3. Employment through that date is meant to ensure her certain retiree medical benefits, which are subsidized by taxpayers. (Aside: I should have known, being one myself, that we were dealing with a Scorpio.))

However, as Kevin West ably points out, a member of the Chattanooga City Council does not, in fact, report to the mayor (even in a "strong mayor" charter configuration).

Problem: the mayor doesn't employee Marti. He didn't put her into office, she doesn't work for the mayor's office and she doesn't answer to him. No one on the city council does. She works directly for the voters who put her into office, not the mayor.

All right: when will this ever end? The city's taxpayers are now paying a private attorney to represent the Council, and Mayor Littlefield didn't exactly rule out the possibility of his office hiring one as well. (UPDATE: now he has, and has indicated his displeasure for city funds being spent in this manner. More on that later.) (City Attorney Randy Nelson is obviously conflicted in this matter, and is wisely staying out of it, at least in public.) So, we're stuck paying lawyers (or, as the update indicates, at least one) to argue whether we should pay part of Marti Rutherford's medical premiums. It sounds like we, the citizens, lose this one either way.

One more thing, and then I think the numbness reaches the drooling point: if the mayor gets his way, and Ms. Rutherford is allowed to work for the city for those three days, you can bet someone will be watching to see just what, exactly, she'll be doing.

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Government | By joe lance | 12:57 PM