Predictable: AT&T Sues Nashville

AT&T made good on its promise to sue Nashville, and with haste, too.  The suit is a response to Metro’s new ordinance known as One Touch Make Ready (OTMR); it is disputing the government’s authority to regulate attachments to utility poles.  AT&T claims that only the Federal Communications Commission can do that.

Earlier: One Touch Make Ready approved by council, probably faces lawsuit

The OTMR ordinance was passed by the Metro Council on Tuesday.  Twelve councilmembers voted to defer the bill because they were fearful of the threatened lawsuit, but the bill proceeded anyways.  On Wednesday, the Mayor, who had previously been neutral on the bill, signed it into law.

The lawsuit does not seek a preliminary injunction, in which the judge would put the ordinance on hold pending the outcome of the lawsuit.


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Emissions inspector not happy with bidding process

Nashville is soliciting bids for a company to operate vehicle emissions inspection stations (where vehicle owners have to go every year before getting their tags renewed).  The company that’s currently doing it, Opus Inspections, wants to bid again (considering that they’ve already built all these inspection stations in Nashville).

The problem is, Opus thinks that the city has unfairly stacked the cards against them.  Their first beef with the city is that it’s made different requirements for the the incumbent alone:

The RFQ requires that only one potential bidder, Opus Inspection, to maintain and operate two (2) inspection stations with five (5) lanes in “Area 2,” while allowing other potential bidders to maintain and operate only one (1) station with four (4) lanes in Area 2. This prima facie discrimination unfairly burdens Opus Inspection with higher costs than other potential bidders.

Secondly, they’re none too happy that they’d be forced to shut down one their existing stations:

The RFQ requires that the existing “Westbelt Drive station will be closed” and a new station be built in “Area 3,” which is as close as 2.7 miles away. The existing Westbelt station is well known by Nashville motorists and received customer volume in line with other stations. The burden, and cost, of closing the Westbelt station unfairly impacts only one potential bidder, Opus Inspection. The effects are a) a significant cost increase as this purpose built station will be demolished and replaced with a new station; b) an inconvenience as motorists for more than 20 years have been accustomed to drive to Westbelt station.

The city dismissed both claims against it, saying that it saw no problems with the way it handled the request for bids.  In two follow-up letters, one from Opus and the other from Opus’ lawyer, the company again protested the city’s decision against their appeal.  In the letter from the lawyer, the company requested an in-person meeting, which is now scheduled for May 10.

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Chiefly Diverse at Metro

The mayor wants the city-county government to be “diverse and inclusive” (who doesn’t?), so she gave Michelle Hernandez-Lane the task of making sure that happens.  As the new Chief Diversity Offer, she’ll build on her work in her previous role with the city, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance, by working towards “the attraction, development, promotion, and retention of a diverse government workforce at all levels,” among other things.

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Metro celebrates a birthday

The alliance of Nashville and Davidson County governments is celebrating its 53rd birthday today (you do the math).  Even though it’s April 1st, this governmental union is no joke.  David Ewing shared a seat placard and invitation with us:

The bottom part of the image reads:

Knowing of your interest in Metropolitan Government and of your activities and support in its behalf, we wish you to be a part of the historic occasion which heralds the beginning of this new government.  You are cordially invited to attend the inaugural ceremonies for the installation of the elective officers of the new Metropolitan Government.  The inauguration of Mayor Beverly Briley, Vice Mayor George Cate, Jr., and members of the Metropolitan Council will be held at Municipal Auditorium begining at 11:30 a. m., April First, 1963.

Metropolitan Government Inaugural Committee

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Good News and Bad News for Nashville Airport Authority

The Nashville Airport Authority is getting out of an unfavorable operating agreement, but it’s dysfunctional.

Nate Rau and Anita Wadhwani of The Tennessean report that under an agreement signed with the airlines in 1987 when the airport was a major hub for American Airlines, the airlines had veto power over major decisions at the airport.  The airlines were also on the hook for capital improvements that ran over budget.  Though the contract was set to expire next year, the airport negotiated its way out the contract a little early.

That’s the good news.

The bad news, brought to us by the same reporters, is that the airport authority, which employs over 200, has over 10% of its workforce in senior-level management and suffers from a lot of bullied employees.  Management blames this, in part, on the just-mentioned control of the authority by the airlines which they were under for many years.  They write:

The report — obtained by The Tennessean through a public records request — found a top-heavy organization whose senior management has for years been “paternalistic, dictatorial and centralized.” Completed in November by the firm Greeley Pond Technologies, the audit described the Airport Authority as “uncooperative internally and operating one year at a time in reactive mode, that is, more like a government bureaucracy than a proactive business enterprise.”

The Tennessean brings us the full stories about the release from the old operating agreement and about the dysfunctional culture at the Nashville Airport Authority.

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