Almost a year ago, several developers spent Tens of Thousands of dollars preparing and presenting proposals to Knox County on the redevelopment of the historic Andrew Johnson Hotel….now an office building housing the Knox County School Board and Administrative Staff. Shortly after that Knox County began negotiations on moving the School System to the East Tower of TVA. It appears to be a win-win scenario. The Andrew Johnson is put back in the hands of the the private sector and also back on the property tax roll. It’s redevelopment creates jobs and capital investment downtown. The school system moves into a more efficient and modernized office complex and stays downtown. TVA which has gone through significant downsizing over the past decade gets rid of a dozen floors of unused office space.
So what is the holdup, one might ask. The one wannabe Mayor, also known as Law Director Bud Armstrong. It seems from inside sources that Ole Bud is still getting his marching orders from the Publisher of a weekly tabloid newspaper. Also known as East Knox County’s lightweight..who wants the school system to move somewhere in East Knoxville. So, it seems Ole Bud throws up one road block after another trying to stop the move into the TVA Tower. TVA has given Knox County an outstanding financial deal on the space and is rapidly growing impatient with all the generated red tape by the Knox County Law Director. The Knox County Mayor and administrative staff have worked for months make the move happen. But Ole Bud finds one legal excuse after another to delay the lease execution. Meanwhile the private sector developer waits in frustration after winning RFP to redevelop the Andrew Johnson.
It appears Ole Bud is trying to set policy instead of providing legal counsel. One would think one’s attorney would look for creative ways to make a win win opportunity happen instead of generating on road block after another. But the weekly tabloid publisher needs to create the illusion that he still has political muscle. He just lost his political pawn on the school board, Amber Rountree. He is losing his Knox County Commission Chairman Dave Wright in a few months “IF” Wright win the State Legislative seat and goes to Nashville. Of Course, Bob Thomas and Ed Brantley leave the Knox County Commission on August 31, 2018. Thomas is especially damaging blow for the Publisher who campaigned and supported Thomas for Mayor for some 22 months only to achieve 22% of the vote.
The Rountree, Wright, Thomas and Brantley departures leave the Publisher running out of pawns, but he still has Ole Bud stopping progress and creating distention in County Government.It’s time for Ole Bud to do the right thing for once.
An additional note: Ole Bud retired from TVA, enquiring minds have asked, does he still draw a pension from TVA? If so, how much and for how long?