Saturday, January 19, 2008

School Board Candidate Provides Alcohol At Public Rally

Fifth District School Board candidate Karen Carson is inviting the public to what she is calling a Public Rally and Reception on January 28, 2008. Carson is advertising a cash bar. What kind of example does this set?

The announcement reads that "The event is free and open to 5th district voters, their families and all current and former employees of Knox County Schools." The announcement goes on to say that "All other 5th district and Knox County-wide candidates, along with representatives of all Presidential primary campaigns, are invited to come, meet and greet attendees, and distribute campaign information. Light appetizers and beverages, along with a cash bar, will be provided."

First up a voter is anyone 18 or older. The legal age for consumption of alcohol is 21. It is a Public event not a private reception. 5th district voters are being encouraged to bring their families, which would include and not limited to minor age children. Where cash bars are being provided with individuals partaking. This isn't New Orleans, it is Knoxville, TN. The buckle of the Bible Belt. This issue provides a moral question for the Carson campaign.

However, there is a legal question in regards to this event. The announcement specifically invites "current and former employees of Knox County Schools" The ethics policy that became policy over a year ago and covers every employee and governmental official in Knox County and Knox County Schools forbids any Knox County employee from accepting any free gift. The light appetizers and beverages will put every Knox County employee that accepts it in violation of the Knox County Ethics policy.

5 comments:

Cathy said...

Am I allowed to give the teachers and vice-principals Christmas gifts? Because, if I'm not, that is a stupid law and I am practicing civil disobedience every year.

Brian Hornback said...

Cathy,

While I would agree with you that the ethics policy with regards to Christmas gifts for teachers and Principals is not a good idea. It is the law that our State Senators and Representatives handed down to all 95 counties and 126 school boards and their employees.

The policy went into effect last January 2007. It prohibits any gift. Ms. Carson at a debate last week said that she and the board can not and does not mandate what the employees do, they have policy and expect the employees to follow it.

It is hard for the school employees to follow policy when the board member violates the policy on a trip to China and then invites them to an event that places each and everyone of them in violation of the policy.

It will be interesting to see if the ethics panel, a citizen driven group, the media or all three show up to find what employees show up in violation of the ethics policy.

Cathy said...

There is a huge difference between a bribe and treating each other like human beings who we like and appreciate. I should be able to have anyone over for dinner with my family without it being interpreted as something criminal.

Brian Hornback said...

Cathy

I don't disagree with you. However, the legislature that Ms. Carson brags of working with are the ones that passed this bill. I wonder what her influence on the passage of the legislation that she is ignoring is/was?

There is a difference in you inviting one or two persons over for dinner and Carson inviting everyone over to have a glass of wine, cocktail or beer.

By the way, the two legislators that represent Ms. Carson's district have not endorsed her. Stacey Campfield has endorsed Laurie Alford. That is a great working relationship and part of teamwork.

Anonymous said...

The strategy is the more they drink the more money they leave in the contribution bowl. Don't you think?

Drunken Fifth District Constituent