Children’s Home charter on agenda for Feb. 21 commission meeting

The Blount County Children’s Home charter is scheduled to be considered for amendment during the Feb. 21 Blount County Commission meeting.

The children’s home contracted with an attorney to submit their charter for amendment after some commissioners said it had been amended improperly years ago because the commission never approved it. Also at issue was the change that allowed the board to pick their own members with approval of the county mayor.

County Mayor Jerry Cunningham said he has always thought any issue regarding the charter could be resolved. “They admitted their charter was illegal and, of course, that makes the board probably illegal,” he said.

Cunningham said that in light of these facts he understood why Commissioner Joe McCulley made a motion that the county take back the nine acres the home uses and lease back to them how ever much they needed.

The commission also has authority over whether or not the home gets access to funds left to them in a will of an area doctor years ago. “We’ll have to wait to see what a probate judge says,” the mayor said.

Regarding the children’s home board, Cunningham said the commission needs to determine who is on the board legally, meaning which ones were approved by the commission and which weren’t.

“I’ve asked them for that and haven’t received their information and what the terms are. I also would think they would need to work on their notification process so all board members are notified of board meetings,” he said. “I was distressed when one board member chastised me for saying that board members weren’t being notified of board meetings. Commissioners Farmer and Burchfield had not been notified of a number of meetings.”

Children’s Home executive director Rod Jackson said that, at the beginning of each fiscal year, each board member gets a copy of the scheduled meetings for the next 12 months.

Jackson said he was satisfied that the resolution their attorney presented to amend their charter was forwarded on to the commission. “There’s still a lot of work and education about the children’s home the full commission needs to hear,” he said.

Farmer said the charter issue is a legal issue that has to be dealt with accordingly. “The issue of the amended charter is a legal issue. It wasn’t done correctly. It’s got to be corrected and the issue of the will, that’s definitely a legal issue. I don’t have the answer to that,” he said.

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