Some Council Members Balk At Call For Arriola Resignation
By Phil Williams Chief Investigative Reporter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two months ago, the Metro Council joined together in an unanimous vote to ask Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence to resign.
But a poll of Council members suggests that County Clerk John Arriola is getting the benefit of the doubt from some folks who were not willing to do the same for Torrence.
"What has been reported to date is deeply disturbing, but we have to let the process run its proper course," said Mike Jameson, the outgoing representative for District 6 in East Nashville.
On Friday, Council member Robert Duvall filed a resolution asking Arriola to resign. It follows disclosures by NewsChannel 5 Investigates that the clerk pocketed thousands of dollars cash for weddings performed on taxpayer time. He also gave no-bid contracts to friends and put his campaign treasurer on the Metro payroll. Related story: Council Heading For Vote On John Arriola's Future
Mike Jameson (Dist. 6): "Right now, I would abstain until the audit investigation is complete. What has been reported to date is deeply disturbing, but we have to let the process run its proper course."
Jim Forkum (Dist. 9): "I am undecided until all reporting, claims and charges are finalized against Mr. Arriola. I can then make a fair vote/decision on whether he should resign or not based on all facts. I am also inclined to wait for the audit to be completed that Mayor Dean requested." Rip Ryman (Dist. 10): "Since the Mayor has called for an Audit of the County Court Clerk's office and the D.A. has asked the TBI in on this, I would not be in favor of the resolution at this time."
Bruce Stanley (Dist. 14): "Until the audit of the Davidson County Clerk is complete, I will abstain from voting on the requested resignation of an elected official. The results of such an audit will provide needed information on the workings of the office."
Phil Claiborne (Dist. 15): "Given the fact that the DA has voluntarily taken the case and asked the TBI to be involved for suspected criminal activity or intent I would prefer to wait for their findings. I certainly agree that the Clerk has been assuming in his actions and failed the public trust in a number of ways." Anna Page (Dist. 16):Tennessean reports that "in an email, Page said her position on the resolution is that "there is a process in place to investigate Mr. Arriola and I fully support the investigation."
Sean McGuire (Dist. 25): "John Arriola's actions that you have reported certainly seem deplorable. However, I would prefer to get the findings of the District Attorney/TBI before making a judgment on how to vote on this resolution. I trust in General Johnson's ability to present us the facts about Mr. Arriola's dealings. Certainly everyone's knee-jerk reaction is to remove him from office. But what we know is his taking the gratuity was not a crime. He absolutely should have disclosed that income, but that can be corrected by amending his disclosures. If it is determined by the TBI that he has committed a crime (either in the hiring of his campaign treasurer and/or in any other infraction) then certainly he should resign or be removed from office. I am hopeful that in the coming week before our August 2nd meeting that General Johnson and the TBI will be able to present us with more information so I can make the most informed vote possible. Until then I will be undecided on my vote on Councilman Duvall's resolution." Greg Adkins (Dist. 26): "I would vote yes." Randy Foster (Dist. 27): No response
Duane Dominy (Dist. 28): "Based on resident feedback and the admitted actions, I would sadly have to vote: yes. This goes to the matter of integrity and honoring our oath of office. It saddens me to have the issue of asking yet another elected official to step down due to legal or ethical lapses. These type actions reflect poorly on all that serve as elected representatives."
Vivian Wilhoite (Dist. 29): "It is alarming what has been reported relating to Clerk Arriola and it was extremely appropriate for an immediate audit to be initiated. I would like to have all of the findings from the directed audit from the Mayor's office as well as the other investigative bodies of the DA and TBI before making my decision on the Resolution."
Jim Hodge (Dist. 30): No response Parker Toler (Dist. 31): "I would like to say first all I am disappointed to no end in John. I am saddened by this development. Based on the information as of now, I will vote yes on the resolution for John to resign."
Sam Coleman (Dist. 32): "I think it would be prudent for the County Clerk to place himself on administrative leave without pay until the matter is dealt with in it's entirety. John and I both love this city and it is not fair to have the city and the council divided and torn apart. I am not sure what the resolution calls for, but this is one remedy to the short term problem that I can offer."
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