Thursday, March 30, 2006

Miracle Mayor Bob didn't answer the phone

According to accounts in an article published in this morning's Chattanooga News Free Press, Senate candidate Bob Corker, while Mayor of Chattanooga, "thwarted efforts to improve 911 communications" by refusing to adequately fund key communications positions. The charges were leveled by retired Chattanooga police chief Jimmie Dotson.
According to Dotson, his department spent "many hours battling with the Corker administration" to get funding needed to address the growing problem of unanswered 911 calls.
Corker, who dodged a reporter's call on the matter, had his Senate campaign political director Todd Womack respond by saying he "did not recall Mr. Dotson requesting more 911 employees."
The Times Free Press reports that both the former deputy police chief and former police department budget director recall Dotson pushing for more personnel to handle the increase in unanswered 911 calls during Corker's tenure as Mayor.
According to the newspaper, records show "the number of unanswered calls rose steadily during his four years as Mayor."
Ed Bryant, one of Corker's rival GOP primary opponents, released a statement questioning "whether he (Corker) did all he could to fix the problem or if he allowed the city's emergency call system to lapse into 911 'dial-a-prayer.'"
Don't be surprised to see a campaign theme emerging in this year's hotly contested GOP Senate primary - Bob Corker's so-called "miracle deeds" as Mayor of Chattanooga are in fact little more than "sleight of hand."