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Local Oversight Committee is still in business

After an interesting meeting in Kingston this afternoon, the Local Oversight Committee (LOC) is still in business. Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan’s resolution to dissolve the organization passed (by a 7-4 vote), but only after several substantial amendments, including one that changed its main effect from “is hereby dissolved effective September 30” to “is hereby to transition from a 501(c)(3) organization to an entity under a local government as a fiscal agent.”

After the meeting, I signed the TDEC grant contract to provide funding to make the LOC solvent again, as the board had voted to retain the June 30, 2012 contract ending date, but with the expectation that the organizational transition likely will happen before that date.

Members of the public (several of whom were in attendance) had an opportunity to speak early in the meeting. Among those making statements in support of retaining the LOC and describing its unique value to the region were a former Oak Ridge City Council member and former LOC chairman (Leonard Abbatiello, who said the LOC provides “the only independent technical review of what DOE is doing”), a former Roane County Commissioner who served on the LOC Board and was chairman of the SSAB (Bob Peelle), and a former member of the LOC CAP who also formerly chaired the SSAB (Luther Gibson). Elizabeth Peelle and Oak Ridge City Council member Anne Garcia Garland also added supportive statements as citizens.

I imagine that these citizen statements, together with messages that board members said they had received prior to the meeting, might have caused some of the board members to change their views. Roane County Executive Ron Woody said that his main concern regarding the current LOC structure was related to legal liability and fiscal controls; he expressed his general support for the LOC’s functions. Anderson County Mayor Myron Iwanski said he wanted to keep a “CAP-like organization”, but hoped it would enjoy fuller participation. [To be continued… Or read the news — three area newspapers had reporters at the meeting, who took better notes than I could take as chairman.]

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