PF candidates: Views on current city government

Apr. 22, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

The Mountain Press asked the City Commission candidates about their feelings toward the city’s current government. The candidates gave varying answers regarding their attitudes to how the government is run and what goes on.

The following is a summary of the candidates’ responses, listed in alphabetical order by last name:

Joyce Brackins

Brackins said she did not really see any issues with how the city’s government is run.

“I know people feel like it’s often three against two, but I go over the agenda very well before I go to a council meeting,” Brackins said. “I’m for the growth of the city. I think if it came down to businesses not doing well, then residential would not receive the benefits they do. I feel like we have a very low tax rate for a city, and I think our residential and businesses feel that way.”

Jess Davis

Davis named several issues with the current government. He believes the commissioners conduct “back-room deals” at the expense of taxpayers.

In a prepared response to a Pigeon Forge Hospitality questionnaire given to each candidate, Davis said he was upset by how “a lot of people have been mistreated by our government officials such as our pastors, Commissioner (Randal) Robinson, other business people or anyone who has stood in the way of their personal plans or their buddy’s plans.”

Davis went on to say that the city can’t move forward unless there is trust in its officials.

“Remember, absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Davis said. “If commissioners who are not willing to be held accountable are put back into office then they will have absolute power indeed.”

Don Denney

Denney said he does not see any issues with the current government.

“I attend commission meetings and I think Mayor (David) Wear runs a tight ship,” Denney said. “I like the three-minute public opinion section at the beginning of the meetings. Earlene Teaster has worked hard and been here a long time. I like the way the commission is organized with five commissioners, an odd number.”

Denney said he thinks the organization is appropriate for Pigeon Forge and thinks the commissioners do a good job.

“I have no complaints or recommendations for adjustments, but I think if something came along I would consider it,” Denney said.

Kevin McClure

In response to whether he believes there are any issues with the city’s government, McClure said, “In anything you do, there’s always room for improvement.”

McClure said he would like to see the five commissioners working together.

“From what I’ve learned from past commissioners, when you vote, you leave it in the council room,” McClure said. “Don’t take anything personally. You’re still my friend regardless of how you voted. And that’s how I would like to see it.”

Jay Ogle

Ogle, like McClure, said he wants to see the commissioners working together more.

“Personally, I’ve got some fatigue about commissioners not getting along, and I would like to see a new commission of responsible folks who get along and work together to advance the interest of the city and have a positive outlook about the future development of the city,” Ogle said.

“If the city had five commissioners that would work together for the city and agree to disagree at time but try to work to improve the city on a daily basis then that would be a big improvement.”

Randal Robinson

Robinson said one of his primary issues with the current government is its spending.

“Our major funds that we spent are not bid,” he said. “A lot of major expenditures are not bid, and competition gives you more for your dollar.”

Robinson feels that the city commission has forgotten that it represents the people.

“They need to remember that they’re working for businesses and people,” Robinson said. “There seems to be retaliation from city hall if you don’t agree with them.”

rhargett@themountainpress.com