ORPD Investigation: Last Minute Agenda Item Added NOT In Line With Council Agreements

Council just received the following email from the city manager’s assistant who is acting as the city clerk. My response follows.

On Mar 6, 2015, at 3:02 PM, Applegate Jr., Bruce M. <bapplegate@oakridgetn.gov> wrote:

Honorable Mayor and Councilmembers,

There has been an update to the agenda items included in the March 9th, 2015 City Council Agenda. The new items are located on the City of Oak Ridge website, and can be easily accessed by clicking here. Hard copies of the information have also been added to your city mailboxes.

Thank You and have a nice weekend,

Bruce Applegate

Assistant to the City Manage


From: Baughn, Trina [mailto:tbaughn@oakridgetn.gov]
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2015 3:45 PM
To: Applegate Jr., Bruce M.; Krushenski, Ken
Cc: rlangley@oakridger.com; Bob Fowler; john.huotari@oakridgetoday.com
Subject: Re: Agenda Additions

Mr. City Clerk,

I strongly object to the agenda changes you have presented to council less than two hours before the close of business on the Friday before the scheduled meeting for the following reasons:

  1. The Oak Ridger, who publishes our notices, will not be able to provide the public with adequate notice of such changes since they will not publish again until the same day of the meeting. I am challenging the legality of this change and request that the city attorney seek an opinion from the state on whether or not such changes are in conflict with the spirit of intent of the open meetings laws.
  1. The resolution to accept a proposal from MTAS to conduct a review of the ORPD directly contradicts the discussion council had during our 3/3/15 work session (which you attended) in which we agreed to only add to our 3/9/15 agenda an item that would discuss the original resolution, any modifications of that resolution and the parameters of the investigation into the ORPD morale, policy and turnover issues. Though I objected to not standing by our original agreement of holding a special meeting, I vocally expressed my agreement to these terms on the condition that council would NOT select an investigator at our 3/9/15 meeting; rather we would do so only when the public had been properly notified of potential candidates. NO council members objected to my request. I request that you provide council with the full the transcripts of this meeting.
  1. Your proposed resolution  also directly conflicts with the resolution (and the intent of council) expressed during our 2/9/15 meeting in that council agreed to move forward with an investigation NOT a “review” and we were advised that we could have a special meeting dedicated to this topic. This is evident in that the 2/9/15  resolution invokes investigative authority afforded to us by charter and by the following quotes from that meeting:

3:42 minutes Callison Comments “The resolution focuses on the original issue….turnover rates in the police force. We think that’s a broad a very broad term that allows an investigator, an independent investigator to look at the issues that might be present…..”   3:58    Baughn: I want to make sure that what we are committing to gives us the flexibility in the special meeting to set the course and the parameters does this resolution give us the ability to set criteria and who we pick, the environment and what we’ll have access to after the fact? Krushenski: “City council sets its own rules on how the parameters of this investigation or review will go.” Baughn: We aren’t setting those rules in stone in this resolution? Krushenski: “No, not now. All this does is lay the framework to set the specific parameters you’re going to have to have something in writing and approved an voted on by the majority.” 4:19   Hensley: “All I want is fair treatment for everybody. I want fair treatment for that gentleman (pointing at Akagi), fair treatment for the policemen, I went fair treatment for you and  fair treatment for the other people up here.” 4:31   Hope: “The investigation that we’ve come to an agreement among the seven of us was reached unanimously…that there’s enough information that it  warrants an investigation…”

Finally, you state that “The staff recommends that each of these items be added to the agenda as indicated.” I request that you provide council with a written confirmation of all of the names of the city staff, to include the city manager and city attorney if they directed you in any way on this matter, that advised you to draft this email and the attached agenda changes.

Please verify receipt of this email upon receipt.


Trina Baughn


  1. Me thinks there is a little skullduggery afoot. I am disappointed that Watson seems determined to thwart this investigation. This only adds fuel to the fire.

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