Councilman Questions Mayor Berke's Budget Plan

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 10/25/2013 6:43 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) -- The news that Berke administration Chief Operating Officer Andrew Kean will be leaving in November has sparked the first public disagreement between the mayor and a council member.
Larry Grohn Friday admitted to "letting off a little steam", but says the city can work out its budget problems.

LARRY GROHN, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER "The mayor has asked me to come speak with him next Tuesday afternoon, and I don't know whether I'm going to taken to the wood shed or not. But I'm sure we'll have a good discussion."

The relationship between the Mayor's office and council members has been one of respectful cooperation since they all took office in April.
The methodical Berke administration has targeted various objectives one at a time..and that worked well until Thursday.
The surprise resignation of COO Andrew Kean put the outcome-based budgeting under a cloud.
And councilman Grohn accused Berke of a lack of transparancy.

LARRY GROHN "He has great support from the city council..and I just feel that some of the things that are going on are totally unnecessary."

Council chairman Yusef Hakeem last night defended the administration, saying it has answered every question council asked.
Council member Ken Smith added---

KEN SMITH, COUNCIL MEMBER "When you move..when you make the kind of changes in government as the administration did when they first came in structurally and then from a budget perspective...you're not going to get it right immediately. It'll take a little time to work through..and there are those of us who understand that.'

The mayor's office says it has nothing more to add to a news release on Thursday confirming Kean's resignation.
Grohn says he still has questions about the city hiring PFM Financial for 96-thousand dollars to help with the budget.

LARRY GROHN "Its possible we should have brought in PFM at the very beginning to set this up for us".

After holding the COO job for only 6 months, Kean told the Mayor the demands of that job were difficult for him as he raises his young family.
He'll stay on the job until November 21st.


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