Democrats Oppose Four Johnson City Ordinances Curbing Residents’ and Workers’ Voices

April 3, 20240

Ordinances focus on budget publicity, public comments, temp City workers, and extension of Commissioners’ terms

(Johnson City, Tenn.) – The Washington County Democratic Party (WCDP) opposes four upcoming ordinances under consideration by the Johnson City Commission and calls on the public to attend the next Commission meeting to express their views. These ordinances purport to eliminate the publication of budget proposals (Ordinance 4875-24), to remove the post-public comments third reading (Ordinance 4876-24), to allow city jobs to be filled by temp workers for more than three months (Ordinance 4877-24), and to move back Commissioners’ election to August and give a 2-year term extension to those affected by this change (Ordinance 4878-24).

“This collection of ordinances amounts to a shameless power grab,” said Sylvain Bruni, WCDP Chair. “The removal of mechanisms for transparency and public input is highly concerning. The desire to create indefinite temporary workers is contrary to our values and the need for good-paying jobs in our region; it’s also an attack on the power of workers to organize.”

WCDP is additionally puzzled by the Commission’s wish to change election dates without a proper debate or consultation with local political parties or voter advocacy organizations. Moving the election of Commissioners from November back to August will lower voter turnout and further limit the visibility and transparency of the work performed by City leadership.

Finally, WCDP is deeply concerned by the approach taken by Commissioners to address changes in term duration in case their election moves back to August. Rather than shortening some Commissioners’ terms by two months, they propose to add two years to the terms of those affected! This is a bypass of elections and voters’ voices.

“These proposals are unacceptable in their current form,” said Jeff Clark, Executive Committee member of the Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP) and WCDP. “We demand that the Commissioners consult both the public and civic organizations before moving forward with these ordinances.”

WCDP invites members of the public to attend the next meeting of the Johnson City Commission (Thursday, April 4, starting at 6 pm at the Municipal Building) and participate in the public comments part of the agenda to express their points of view on these matters. Those wishing to provide a public comment must sign up in advance at


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P.O. Box 1731, Johnson City, TN 37605
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