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Heated exchange between citizen and Commissioner Grindstaff at July meeting

By: Bonnie Davis Guy
Freelance Writer

The July 16th county commission meeting started routinely with the commissioners quickly moving through the approval of minutes, committee reports, notaries, a capital outlay note between the county general fund and the debt service fund and approval of an updated Emergency Operation Center resolution. A lengthy budget presentation with question and answer session was completed. The county’s final budget for the next fiscal year will be considered for approval in August.
Dustin Shearin then reviewed and sought approval for a purchasing resolution followed by Mayor Potter receiving approval for the corrected abatement lease authorization for Parkdale. The commission then voted to again approve a resolution to opt out of the state’s building inspections.
The commissioners were then asked to reference a memo in their packets from Mayor Larry Potter. In the memo, Potter stated that as of March 1, 2015, neither the Johnson County Clerk nor the mayor would perform marriage ceremonies. Marriage licenses will be issued as usual. If a request arises from an applicant regarding an officiant, the county clerk will have a list on hand to provide information. Each commissioner has the authority to officiate at a marriage ceremony, however, it is within their right to choose not to participate in any weddings. The commissioners were given an opportunity to affirm that they would like to be on the list as willing to officiate weddings or decline and not be listed. A roll call was taken and all 14 commissioners present stated they declined to perform marriage ceremonies.
At this time, David McLemore addressed the commission for a second month regarding his concerns that a home on Rainbow Road presented a public health nuisance as well as a request for a county ordinance against homeowners keeping junk cars, appliances, and other potentially hazardous items stored in residential areas. Commissioner Jerry Grindstaff stood and stated that he had given much thought, consideration, and research since the last meeting.
At that time Grindstaff asked McLemore which branch of the military he had served in and he also noted that he had watched McLemore participate in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. He then asked McLemore if he knew the definition of liberty. After a brief answer given in a somewhat puzzled fashion by McLemore, Grindstaff went on to give a more lengthy definition and stated liberty was the condition of being without confinement: freedom from arbitrary government control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions, thinking or speaking. He went on to say that the Johnson County Commission believed in honoring people’s liberty. He added that apart from his duties as commissioner he had helped McLemore search for a property when moving to the county. Grindstaff said he clearly remembered McLemore coming into his office stating he had found a good piece of property at a great price. He pointed out that the adjacent property was in much the same condition at the time of purchase as it is now.

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