Chattanooga, Tennessee

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Budget P
Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts P
Lobbying P
Public Records P
Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process
Chattanooga is a city in Tennessee, and is the county seat of Hamilton County. The 2010 census reported the population at 167,674, making it the fourth largest city in Tennessee. Chattanooga abuts the Georgia border and lies at the transition between the ridge-and-valley portion of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau.

Chattanooga is ranked 8th out of America’s 100 largest metro areas for the best “Bang For Your Buck” city by Forbes magazine. The study measured affordability, housing rates, and more. Since 1990, Chattanooga has been recognized as a Tree City Community.[1]

The good

  • Budget
    • The current budget is published[2]
    • Salary information is posted.[3]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Names of administrative officials, individual email address, individual phone numbers, and a physical address is available[4]
  • Elected Officials
    • Names of elected officials, individual email address, individual phone numbers, and a physical address is available[5]
  • Meetings
    • The calendar of meetings[6] and meeting agendas and minutes are available and archived at least three years[7]
  • Audits
    • The current audit is published and previous audits are available for the last three years[8]
  • Contracts
    • *Bids are posted[9]
  • Public Records
    • A public records request form is published.[10]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are available[11] and tax rates are published[12]
  • Building Permits and Zoning
    • Permit applications are available for download[13] and zoning ordinances are available[14]

The bad

  • Contracts
    • A search of awarded contracts and contracts only yields a couple of contracts awarded by the city, as opposed to a complete list of all contracts made by the government.
  • Lobbying
    • Although a search of lobbying does turn up some individual efforts, the site is missing a complete list of employed lobbyists, memberships to lobbying organizations, and associated fees.
  • Public Records
    • A public records request form is available, but contact information for the office and policy information is not published.
  • Budget
    • The 2013 budget is available, but archived budgets, including 2012, are unavailable and a search does not yield any results.

Elected Officials

Name Title
Ron Littlefield Mayor
Deborah Scott District 1 Councilmember
Sally Robinson District 2 Councilmember
Pam Ladd District 3 Councilmember
Jack Benson District 4 Councilmember
Russell Gilbert District 5 Councilmember
Carol Berz District 6 Councilmember
Manuel Rico District 7 Councilmember
Andrae McGary District 8 Councilmember
Peter Murphy District 9 Councilmember

Although specific salary information is unavailable, a 2011 The Chattanoogan article reported that many city officials received a $3,000 pay raise, and cites specific employee salary information.[15]

Administrative Officials

Name Title
Missy Crutchfield Administrator Education, Arts, and Culture
Daisy Madison City Finance Officer
Fredia Kitchen Director of Management and Budget Analysis
Randy Parker Fire Chief
Ronald Swafford Human Services Administrator
Stan Sewell Director Internal Audits
Dan Johnson Mayor Chief of Staff
Anita Ebersole Deputy to Mayor
Richard Beeland Media Relations Director
Kathie Fulgham Special Projects Manager
Beverly Cosley Director of Multicultural Affairs
David Crockett Director of Office of Sustainability
Larry Zehnder Director Parks and Recreation
Bobby Dodd Chief of Police

Although specific salary information is unavailable, a 2011 The Chattanoogan article reported that many city officials received a $3,000 pay raise, and cites specific employee salary information.[16]


For FY 2013, the total requested budget is $332,455,631, up 6.6% from the FY2012 budget ($317,414,168).


The city of Chattanooga received $42,902,366.56 of federal stimulus money in 3 contracts and 36 grants.[17]

Local taxes

Year Property taxes Local taxes
FY2010 $97,196,852 $13,329,439
FY2011 $114,785,868 $13,953,332
FY2012 as of 1/31/12 $53,492,996 $6,721,410
FY2013 Projected through EO FY2012 $116,087,624 $14,375,842

City In the News

  • In March 2012, Tennessee received a “C” in the State Integrity Investigation, a report that analyzes state governments’ accountability and risk for corruption. Even with the average grade, TN ranks #8 in the nation and is cited for establishing an ethics commission six years ago, although that commission has not yet issued a single ethics penalty and complaints are not made available to the public.[18]
  • In January 2012, the Chattanooga city attorney will investigate a city-owned tennis club, Champion’s Club, after an audit found its managers were operating it as a for-profit business and using city employees to help run it. Parks and Recreation Director Larry Zehnder challenged the audit and claims that the problems in the results are due to lost records. The audit found that the manager operated a pro shop, giving lessons and conducting tournaments, while pocketing the revenue. The managers collected tens of thousands of dollars from events held at the publicly owned tennis courts, and in many cases, the money was never seen by the city.[19]
  • Also in January 2012, the Chattanooga City Council began investigating whether an $800,000 contract was awarded properly to a friend of the city’s chief of staff. The move comes after auditor Stan Sewell made public an informal review of city contracts and found that a those made to Excalibur Integrated Systems, Inc. were awarded without soliciting bids.[20]
  • Operation Tennessee Waltz was a sting operation set up by federal and state law enforcement agents, including the FBI and TBI. The operation led to the arrest of seven Tennessee state lawmakers and two “bagmen” in the indictment in May 2005. Additional arrests of two county commissioners, one from Hamilton County and Shelby County occurred days later. Three officials from Hamilton County were sentenced to time in prison and six officials were indicted from Memphis. Six of the elected officials were Democrats and two were Republicans.[21]

External links