Nick Pavlis has been city council’s Energizer bunny for the past six years, showing up for neighborhood meetings all over town and making himself available to anyone who calls him. He’s Knoxville’s longest-serving council member and has long been assumed to be aiming at a run for mayor in 2018.
But he now says 16 years in city government is enough.
The UT settlement of the Title IX lawsuit for over $2.5 million has risen to $4 million plus the amount of money paid out in legal fees and settlement costs. While this resolves this specific lawsuit, it does not end UT’s problems or lawsuits on these issues over the long term. In fact, one can argue that UT, by settling every single gender and sexual assault lawsuit to date for high figures, has issued a silent notice to litigation-happy attorneys and clients that UT is ripe for the picking as it were. If you sue, they will settle in a generous way.
Many may feel now that all one has to do to win $400,000 or more is to sue UT over these issues in Nashville, survive a motion for summary judgment and dismissal and UT will quickly settle. UT’s first response was a strong denial of allegations followed by a pledge to fight in court. It appears the pledge to fight is only good until a settlement is achieved. This is not the end of these lawsuits as long as there are qualified plaintiffs out there willing to hire a litigious attorney.
The funeral service at Overcoming Believers Church for Zaevion Dobson on Dec. 26 was one of the saddest and most moving I have attended.
He was killed while saving the lives of two young girls in Lonsdale. Local officials were represented by Mayor Rogero who spoke, as well as Police Chief Rausch, former Mayor Daniel Brown, former Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis, Council member Finbarr Saunders, former Council member Larry Cox and School Superintendent Jim McIntyre, along with former school board chair Sam Anderson and state Rep. Joe Armstrong.
City Council 10 days ago removed Nick Pavlis as vice mayor and replaced him with Duane Grieve by a narrow 5-4 vote. This column predicted two weeks ago that Grieve could win by a 5-4 vote. What happened? Why?
Council member Duane Grieve says he will seek the post of vice mayor this Saturday at the called meeting to decide this issue. Current Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis plans to seek a third term. The nine council members will decide between the two, who both are serving their final two years on council. Could range from a 6-3 vote for Pavlis to a 5-4 vote for Grieve unless one of them withdraws. Most council members are not talking.
Rogero might face a tie vote, which she can break if one of the nine abstains and it is split four to four between Pavlis and Grieve. Pavlis backed Grieve for interim mayor after Bill Haslam resigned in January 2011.
Dave Hill has resigned from the staff of the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC). Likely this was done prior to the new director coming in. Hill, a high-paid city aide not retained by Mayor Rogero, was hired at MPC by former director Mark Donaldson.
Cumberland Avenue merchants who overwhelmingly opposed the current construction along Cumberland Avenue at a cost of over $20 million wonder why Mayor Rogero never comments on the troubles being created by the project. She leaves explanation to little-known subordinates such as Anne Wallace.
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais was the only Republican House member from Tennessee to oppose House Speaker John Boehner’s re-election. DesJarlais barely won re-nomination by 38 votes last August after the House leadership privately suggested he not seek another term.
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville was one of only four House Democrats not to vote for Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker, but he voted for Colin Powell to be Speaker, as he did in 2013. House rules provide that a non-member may server as Speaker. However, no House Speaker has ever not been a member at the same time. Powell is considered to be a moderate Republican. He endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008 and 2012.
Four years ago, Madeline Rogero’s most vocal opponents warned that her first priority would be to levy a “rain tax.”
Now, she’s entering the fourth year of her administration and preparing to stand for re-election, and nobody’s talking (or hearing) about a rain tax anymore. Nobody even squawked much when she asked for, and got, a 34-cent property tax increase last spring. She (unlike her mostly-Republican predecessor mayors) took the first steps toward fixing the city’s pension problems.