Ragsdale rates Jacobs A+

Sandra ClarkGossip and Lies

In one of the more bizarre recent editorials in the daily newspaper, former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale gave current Mayor Glenn Jacobs an A+ for his first 100 days.


Why?

How does one rate 100 days for a man who promised little and delivered less?

Jacobs hasn’t dumped a wife with cancer, passed a wheel tax or had staff order lobster to go from the Regas. But that’s a mighty low bar.

Our new mayor has held a couple of neighborhood meetings – offset by trips to Australia and Saudi Arabia to wrestle. Jacobs opted not to retain two knowledgeable senior directors – Doug Bataille in Parks & Rec and Dwight Van de Vate in Engineering & Public Works. His new hires are males with limited or no experience in local government – Bryan Hair, chief of staff; his brother Brad Hair, personal assistant; Paul White, Bryan Hair’s former colleague at Tennessee State Bank, director of Parks & Rec; and Rob Link, former PR guy for the Red Cross, handling Michael Grider’s old job as director of communications.

Grider, who had been a reporter and TV news director, has gone to Washington with Tim Burchett as his chief of staff.

And then there’s Roger Kane, who spent his brief tenure in the legislature messing with UT. Kane then lost the GOP primary for county clerk to Sherry Witt, and Jacobs hired him for a new position of education liaison at roughly $80,000 per year. Kane was talking about the tough decisions he would face in deciding which programs to keep and which to cut until pushback from the school board caused him to squelch the public statements.

Finally, Jacobs tag-teamed with Sheriff Tom Spangler to force Law Director Bud Armstrong to settle a lawsuit he had initiated against the county’s pension board. Armstrong claimed the board was incorrectly crediting deputies with a payout for unused vacation time in figuring their pension. Calculating the pensions on base salary alone could save the county about $1 million annually, he said.

With Jacobs, Spangler, a majority of the County Commission and about 1,000 deputies lined up against him, Armstrong settled. We’ll never know how the courts would have ruled.

So, let’s try this grade for Glenn Jacobs’ first 100 days:

Staffing – C minus

Public meetings – B (would have been an A except he forgot to attend the Halls Business & Professional Association’s annual banquet where he was the featured speaker).

Education – F (give Kane’s salary to the school board).

Foreign travel/wrestling career – B (the attention it brings to Knox County is a plus and a minus, but like Cas always said – “Keep them talking!”)

The real test for Jacobs will come with his first budget. We’ll revisit the grade then.

  • “You’d hope they could chew and walk gum at the same time,” said a holiday fill-in anchor on MSNBC. She was talking about government officials, but the same could be said for TV anchors.

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