Saturday, September 28, 2013

The good it does

On September 9th I posted about a food drive for cloths that was being organized by the Smyrna Heart of Giving group. It is just one of many groups trying to make things easier for families in our town during these 'sucky' years. I thought this image might allow you to see some of what they are working to achieve.

Just thought I would share: this is just SOME of the food we collected for the food bank. My entire SUV was full- front seat, back seat, and the back cargo area. Thank you all for being so generous! — with Jennifer Underwood and Joanna Taraska-White.

This food is helping the people of Smyrna directly. There are no giant national organizations here, just the people of Smyrna trying to make it so the rest of Smyrna does not go without.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Town Manager II

There are two ways to view what is happening in the town government, cynically, and hopefully. I’m trying to walk that small line between the two by looking at both sides.

The resignation of Mark O’Neal as Town Manager was a shock to some, but too others they feel it is about time. The talk about the need for change from the top has permeated the internet and online news articles from the DNJ. Well we have it…what now? The town still has the same bills, the same revenue, and the same resources, so by what magic will the new leadership create more?

I am surprised by the beginning of the letter when he stated openly “during the past few weeks, Mayor Reed and Vice-Mayor Adkins, along with several other members of the Council, have had conversations with me regarding the Council’s desire for a “fresh set of eyes” in the role of Town Manager.” This set the tone and also delivered a message to the residents of Smyrna. It implies that with a new Mayor [Reed] we are going to get movement and change.

In many ways that is worrisome. Understand that in my view change does NOT equal progress. You have to be able to enumerate what the change is to do. We will have a new town manager, which is change. What will the town manager do to make things better? That is change in action. Where does the progress come into play? What is the end result that you want? Do you want more income, more buildings, a smaller budget, or even the ability to lower taxes? That is progress, but the town is making changes, but not really open on what they want it to do.

Another worry I have is called ‘institutional memory’. That collective knowledge that a group has on how certain ways are the best, what works, and what doesn’t, and how to get from A to b the quickest. If the town council is in the midst of getting new eyes, and these new eyes might ‘clean house’ and make more changes, will a loss of performance be the end result? I worry that the citizens calls for changes in department heads will be done to appease the vocal minority that wants heads to roll…no pun intended.

I hope whomever they chose to become the new town manager will take the time to find out where change would equal progress and not make changes to show people he’s the new sheriff in town.

With that serious note finished I like to sit and read comments on the DNJ and other sites to see what the rumor mill has on a subject. Rumors of incompetent department heads are common, with ‘facts’ thrown about such as how some department heads are unqualified. How rules are changed so some could keep their jobs.

The one I like recently is the comments that the new town manager has already been unofficially chosen. Supposedly a ‘Harry Gill’ is the heir apparent to the throne. If this is true and plays out then there has been discussions that should have been covered by open meeting laws that were broken…if true that is. I’m just going to sit back and watch how it plays out, and if ‘Harry’ does win, well you heard it here first.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Town Manager I

Yesterday the Town Manager of Smyrna Tennessee resigned his position. The press release included the entirety of his letter of resignation so I am not hesitant to publish it here for your reading.

Mark O'Neal has had a hard job the last many years due to the economy of the nation going to hell. There is no better phrase to describe it. The period when Sam Ridley Blvd. was growing at a frantic pace is long past, and with the slow down of everything his job became harder and harder. I do not envy him working with less and less resources every month.

I am going to have some comments later this afternoon on the resignation and some other discussions I have had elsewhere after I write them up and polish them, but I thought this might give you some material to think about.

Honorable Town Council:
As you are all aware, during the past few weeks, Mayor Reed and Vice-Mayor Adkins, along with several other members of the Council, have had conversations with me regarding the Council’s desire for a “fresh set of eyes” in the role of Town Manager. I do understand that this change is about new ideas in the management of the Town and is not disciplinary in nature. I am grateful for the many encouraging comments and complements that have been expressed to me during these discussions. While I very much appreciate the offer to step down into the Director of Utilities position, I believe that such a move at this time is not in the best interest of my family or the Town. 

Therefore, as per Section 8, Items (1) and (2) of my Employment Agreement with the Town of Smyrna executed on April 10, 2004, I am terminating the “Employment Agreement for Good Reason”. I am requesting the entitled severance benefits as detailed in Section 6. In addition, as per the Employment 
Agreement, this letter shall serve as the required thirty (30) day notice of the termination of said Agreement. In order to assist in an efficient transition, I am offering to continue my employment as Town Manager past the thirty (30) day notice date, either through January 3, 2014, or until such time as the Town Council has employed my successor, whichever shall occur first. The ability to continue in this role, however, is contingent upon my availability in regards to other future employment opportunities with other employers.

It has been a great privilege to serve my hometown for 21 years in several capacities, including the past 11 years as Town Manager. I am very proud of the accomplishments of our Town over my tenure as Town Manager. There are many milestones that come to mind, too many to list in this correspondence. Our Town has continued to grow and prosper because of the unity of focus of citizens, businesses, Town employees and leaders. We have made great improvements to Town services and facilities. I believe a large majority of the credit for these improvements should be given to the employees of the Town of Smyrna.

Our employees work hard everyday to provide quality services to our citizens. It has been an honor to be associated with such a wonderful group of employees. I want to express my profound gratitude to Kevin Arnold, Jeff Craig, Bill Culbertson, Rex Gaither, David King, Robert Kulp, John Lanza, Hal Loflin, Mike Moss, Jeff Peach, Kevin Rigsby, Steve Smith and Dianne Waldron, the most dedicated group of Directors/Department Heads I have ever known. It has been a tremendous pleasure leading these talented professionals. In addition, I am indebted to Roseanne Peppers and Holly Earls who have provided me with exemplary administrative support. They work tirelessly day in and day out to provide our citizens with great service and advise in our Administration Department. 

To each of you, thank you for the opportunity serve with you. I appreciate your commitment to the citizens of the Town and count each of you as friends. I pray that God blesses you and your families as you continue to serve the Town of Smyrna.

Mark T. O’Neal

Sunday, September 22, 2013

This week in local jobs

The job fair for this week is in Smyrna, so you don't have to travel far. good luck
JOB FAIR (Smyrna/Nashville, TN)
* CDL Drivers to be Route Sales Representatives
(Class A, B or permit holder)
* Outside Sales Professionals
* Warehouse Worker 
Thursday, September 26th
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM CST 
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
2565 Highwood Blvd
Smyrna, TN 37167

View Larger Map

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Smyrna town auctions

Smyrna Auctions off surplus property several times during the year, and they currently have a wide variety of detritus to sell.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How far would you travel?

I try to post job fairs or large number job openings in the area. I limit the listings to the M'boro to Antioch area, but is that not enough. I HATED the commute to Nashville when I worked in the Fountain Square area years ago. The idea of helping somebody end up in that position that they have to go into that maelstrom of traffic and stress just seems wrong.
A lot of people are willing to travel much further for a job. An example is this job fair.

So I'm asking you the reader. Do you want me to expand job fair listings or mass openings (Single company) to most of Nashville, Franklin and Brentwood?  The commute would be longer and might not be possible for someone just getting a job after a long time without.

I list the fairs and mass openings as a service to help the residents of Smyrna.

Local job fair this week

This week I could only find one job fair. This one is being hosted by local state representative and Smyrna resident Mike Sparks. It is so local that this one is in Smyrna.
Rutherford County Job Fair10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Parkway Baptist Church
1715 Lee Victory Parkway
Smyrna, TN  37167
Hosted by Chairman Mike Sparks
Contact Debbie Mullins at 615-202-4961
This fair offer more than just a bunch of tables and long lines, but the chance training and other government assistance to get hired. Any little bit helps.
The fair, which will include approximately 50 local employers looking to hire, is scheduled for September 18th at the Parkway Baptist Church in Smyrna from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Job seekers who participate in the fair are automatically placed on the Department of Labor’s Management Activity Tracking System (eCMATS). The eCMATS system assists job seekers with workforce training, job services, and job referrals through the Department’s Workforce Development Career Centers.
It should be noted that the Tennessee Career coach is scheduled to be there.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Column on the council

I wrote this column for the Smyrna AM a week ago, but they were not able to print it due to scheduling and space. I submit it here for your reading pleasure.

The last time the Mayor of Smyrna resigned was in 2009. Mayor Bob Spivey, a local businessman and developer, resigned due to health in mid 2009. Vice Mayor Tony Dover stepped into the position of Mayor during what can best be called trying economic times. In the 4 years in office and during one regularly scheduled election he has lead us through tightening budgets, required layoffs, the infamous flood of 2010 and the great Miley Cyrus horror of 2013.

When Tony Dover stepped into the position of Mayor the position of vice-mayor was given to Mary Esther Reeds by a vote of the council. One thing that has not been mentioned in the articles today is that this will open a seat on the council. A seat that the council will fill.

In 2009 when the seat was opened due to Tony Dover moving into the Mayors seat they chose Marc Adkins. I'll first give you the informative facts, then the emotional reactions to this event.

Several people applied for the open seat. The Daily News Journal wrote about the many applicants for the position. At the time Carolyn Peebles, Richard Garvin Jr. Jimmy Richardson, marc Adkins and Rob White all applied and spoke of wanting to be looked at for the open position.

Already County Commissioner Robert Stevens has said online that “Local attorney Racquel Peebles has expressed an interest in applying for the vacant seat.” She is the niece of Carolyn Peebles, the applicant for the open seat on the council in 2009.

The Aug 11 2009 Town Council meeting is the one where Marc Adkins was chosen to serve out the remainder of the term for the seat over all the rest. Since then in 2010, he ran for and won the seat and has served since as a good representative of the community

A small fact that many do not know is that half of the council members graduated from Smyrna High School in the same class of 1975.
Graham actually graduated in 1975 from Smyrna High School with three members of the Smyrna BOMA including H.G. Cole, Mark Adkins and Tim Morrell.
I joked often with my wife about the old school friendly nature of the least for the class of '75.

The meeting that night did leave me a hint shocked. Sadly the videos are only stored online for one year, and I cannot afford to get a copy of the meeting to figure out the time spent deciding on Marc Adkins, but I can remember the exact words I spoke as I watched the meeting.

I had expected debate between the council member on which of the many applicants would be the best to take the seat. I figure they would have looked into the 'resumes' and such to find the most qualified. Instead it seemed that as they get a bundle of information days before the meetings to prep, that they had already decided individually. In what was to me a overly quick, with little discussion, they picked Marc Adkins and went on with the rest of the meeting.

My comment that night was "well that was damn quick!" has stuck with me.

Marc has shown in his time there that he was not a bad choice. He's served proudly, won the seat in an election since then and I cannot say anything bad about him, but the process that one night left me unimpressed with the process to pick the next council member. Either the rest of the field were all lacking in the skills needed to be on the council, or...I'm not sure what else.

The council needs good PR right now. With the layoffs of last year, the tax increase of this year, they are being viewed in a very bad light by a lot of people. They need to take an enormous amount of time and publicly address the application of each person in painful details. They need to show that they have turned over every rock, and examined every line on the application before making the first motion on whom to pick.

I was under-impressed during the last go-around, and I hope this time they do it in a more detailed manner....and please do not pick a graduate of 1975. It would start looking rather incestuous at that point if they did.

Zoo at Gregory Mills

Click to Enlarge
Make plans for the weekend. This is not just for kids, but for all animal lovers.
Saturday, September 14 from 11:00am to Noon, brings Zoo Day at Gregory Mill Park, Smyrna.  As part of Nashville Zoo’s, Zoo on the Move Program, we will be exploring the world of zoos while meeting Nashville Zoo’s live ambassadors!  No food, drinks or pets allowed at this event.

Address:  390 Enon Springs Road E., Smyrna.

Music at the Mill

Our Parks and recreation Department is putting on tomorrow one of their great activities.
Tomorrow night (Friday, Sep 13), Top Tier Band will perform at Music at the Mill, Gregory Mill Park, Smyrna.  Top Tier provides fun, high energy music to light jazz.  Music begins at 6:30pm and will go until 9:00pm.  Food, ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy vendors and inflatable for children. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Smyrna Rescue Squad article

The DNJ has printed a nice article about the Smyrna Rescue Squad. This group has been a part of Smyrna History for years. 
For 50 years, members of the Smyrna C.B. Rescue Unit have used their love of the community to make it a better place.
“Our motto is ‘Helping Hand for Fellow Man,’” said Shirley Fowler, who joined the squad in February 1970 with her husband, Philip.
 They have regular events, and are an all volunteer group. In what I view as an apathetic world, it is nice to see people trying to make a difference.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Local charity event

Joanna Taraska-White brought the following event to my attention.
Sharing an amazing event with you for the local Community. Its the Smyrna Heart Of Giving Clothing Give Away/ Food drive. Will be at Rock Spring's Church Sept the 14th from 8-1. The way this work's is simple, arrive with at least 2 items to donate to the Food Bank and then go in to find needed clothing for you and your family. All left over clothing will be donated to local Shelters. 
The Smyrna Heart of giving Clothing Give Away/Food drive is associated with the Smyrna Heart of Giving FaceBook page for those interested. This sounds like a wonderful event that helps people and could allow you to help others.

Take a moment in your schedule and drop by. it should be noted that this is occurring on the same day as the Wings of Freedom Fish Fry.

The address for the Rock Spring's Church is:
1450 Sam Davis Road Suite 155
Smyrna, TN 37167
PH: (615) 220-2220 

Knowledge is safety

In an emergency it would be nice to have knowledge of what is going on, and the Rutherford county Emergency Management agency has set up a system to help you.
Emergency notifications, straight from the first responders to you.

Alert Rutherford - "If we can't reach you...We can't alert you!" 
Severe Weather, Road Closures, Hazardous Materials Events, How will you find out about emergencies in Rutherford County? Your safety is our top concern. Early warning helps save lives and property. That’s why public safety officials in Rutherford County and your municipality want to make sure you know about emergent events as they happen. 
Alert Rutherford – The County Emergency Notification System, powered by Everbridge, is a new system now in place in Rutherford County which is designed to provide you with information about issues that may affect your safety. This system will allow your jurisdiction in Rutherford County, Murfreesboro, LaVergne, Smyrna, or Eagleville to contact thousands of residents in seconds so you find out about an emergency right away. 
Alert Rutherford – The County Emergency Notification System can deliver messages to you any way you want: on your home phone, cell phone, email, and others. This way, we can reach you in any emergency. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Three more job fairs this week

It looks like job fairs are blooming this season. We had three local fairs last week and now we have two more this week.

The first job fair is Monday and these jobs are in Smyrna.
This is for an INDUSTRIAL CLEANING position. DON'T let the position title fool you. This is a very hard physical labor job. Heavy lifting and very long hours are involved. This job is not for everyone. You must be willing to work very hard, and be able to work very long hours. Candidate will be working overtime most EVERY day! The job is located at NISSAN PLANT, in Smyrna. Candidate must have a VALID DRIVERS LICENSE, AND HAVE OWN RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION. NO FELONIES FOR THE PAST 7 YEARS! VIOLENT CRIMES, OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR THIS JOB. Will need to pass a background check, and a drug screen. Must have a working phone number at all times. Bring 2 forms of ID with you to job fair. Recruiters will be on site to hold interviews, and do paperwork. This is a good way to get your foot in the door at Nissan.
The second fair is Tuesday and is at what used to be called Hickory Hollow Mall, but is now 'Global Mall' (I had no idea they changed the name!!!). This is a county fair, so I suspect it will be big and well attended.
Davidson County Job Fair
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Global Mall at the Crossings
5252 Hickory Hollow Parkway
Nashville, TN  37013
Hosted by State Representative Sherry Jones
Contact Jaylene Younge at 615-202-4961
The third fair is Wednesday and is being put on by Amazon. I think this one is likely to help man the new warehouse that they are building or have built.
Job Fair for SMX/Amazon 
Date: 9/11/2013
Time: 9:00 AM TO 12:00 PM
710 Memorial Blvd
Suite 210
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Phone: 615-898-1887 
Event Description: Goodwill Career Solutions is hosting a Hiring Event for SMX/Amazon Wednesday. Bring your resume, photo ID, and Social Security Card or birth certificate. Dress for Success! Be prepared to complete job applications and to interview.
Three days, three local job fairs. I wish you all good luck on getting a job or finding a better paying job.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A third job fair this week.

I came across another job fair this week. Saturday, tomorrow to be specific, and i wish you good luck in your job search.
Alliance HR Services will be holding a JOB FAIR Saturday, September 7, 2013 from 8am-2pm in Smyrna, TN.
298 Sam Ridley Pkwy E Suite #130 Smyrna, TN 37167
(Located in the shopping center with Dollar General and Fat Moe's in front of the Smyrna Bowling Center, corner of Weakley Ln)
IMMEDIATE OPENINGS for the following:
Production, Assembly, Pick/Pack, Swing Reach, Forklift, Quality Inspectors, Cherry/Order Picker, and Machine Operators. We have positions that will be working Saturday and Sunday. All Positions are located in Rutherford County
2 forms of VALID ID's
For more information please call 615.267.0350
Job fairs galore lately, and job openings. It almost makes a man think things are getting better.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Movies in the Park

This coming Friday the Parks and Recreation Department is putting on one of their very successful Movies in the Park. Fun for the whole family.

Come out to Smyrna Rotary Soccer Park this Friday night, September 6 for Smyrna Parks, Movie in the Park.

The movie will feature Epic and food and drink vendors will be set up along with inflatables and train rides for minimal fees.

Gates open at 5:30pm and the movie will begin at dusk.  Bring the family out and enjoy! 

Make plans

Next month the Sam Davis home will be hosting a free day for the whole family. Make plans and have fun.
Celebrate Sam Davis’ Birthday! Visit the Sam Davis Home for FREE.

SMYRNA, Tenn.- Help Sam celebrate his birthday with a visit to the Sam Davis Home & Museum on October 6, 2013 with FREE admission and family fun.

Families will experience a day in the life of Sam Davis through games, toys, storytelling, chores, and hands-on activities. Families will learn how to play games such as Graces and Croquet, make a 19th century toy, and learn a lesson from the McGuffey’s Eclectic Reader. They will also have the opportunity to learn about 19th century toys with our “What? No Batteries?” program and hear stories about Davie Crockett and other legends that Sam would have heard and have the chance to practice gathering eggs from live chickens before leaning about the anatomy of an egg.

Free admission. Please contact the Sam Davis Home at (615) 459-2341 or visit for more information.

The Sam Davis Home is located at 1399 Sam Davis Road, Smyrna, TN 37167 and is a non-profit, historic house and museum.  For more information, including hours and admission rates, please call (615) 459-2341 or visit the website at
Don't fret. I'll be posting a reminder a few days before the event if you forget.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2 Job Fairs this week

There are two job fairs this coming week, and while both are in Murfreesboro, a job is a job. The two fairs are being put on by the Goodwill industries and open to the public.

The first one is Wednesday
Job Fair for All About Care
Date: 9/4/2013
Time: 9:00 AM TO 12:00 PM
710 Memorial Blvd, Suite 210
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Phone: 615-898-1887 
Event Description: Goodwill Career Solutions is hosting a Hiring Event for All About Care Wednesday. Bring your resume, photo ID, and Social Security Card or birth certificate. Dress for Success! Be prepared to complete job applications and to interview.
The second job fair is Friday
Job Fair for Southwestern/Great American
Date: 9/6/2013
Time: 9:00 AM TO 12:00 PM
710 Memorial Blvd
Suite 210
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Phone: 615-898-1887 
Event Description: Goodwill Career Solutions is hosting a Hiring Event for Southwestern/Great American Friday, Bring your resume, photo ID, and Social Security Card or birth certificate. Dress for Success! Be prepared to complete job applications and to interview.
I wish those that go as much luck as possible