Nashville Metro Council passed a resolution censuring Councilmember Jonathan Hall at its Tuesday, April 5 meeting. The resolution was approved 33-0 with two abstentions.

Council also considered over $70 million in grants and bond issues, as well as contract approvals and zoning issues.

RS2022-1466, sponsored by Councilmember Tanaka Vercher, is “a resolution providing for the censure of Councilmember Jonathan Hall.” The staff agenda analysis said:

This resolution would provide for the censure of Councilmember Jonathan Hall by the Metropolitan Council for multiple failures related to Metropolitan Code § 2.222.020 related to required disclosure statements.

As determined by the Metropolitan Board of Ethical Conduct, the failures related to required disclosure statements constituted violations of Section (r) of the Metropolitan Government’s Standards of Ethical Conduct, Metropolitan Code § 2.222.020. This section requires all disclosure statements and reports be timely filed and include “all material information reasonably required to be included and shall not omit any material information reasonably necessary to make such reports complete and meaningful.”

Section 2.222.050 of the Metropolitan Code provides that, upon receipt of a recommendation from the Board of Ethical Conduct that an elected official be censured by the Council, the chairman of the Rules-Confirmations-Public Elections Committee “shall file a resolution with the metropolitan clerk providing for censure of the member.”

Prior to the censure vote, the resolution sponsor, Councilmember Vercher, moved to defer action to the second meeting in August. She explained her motion saying she wanted to give Hall “the benefit of due process.” The motion to defer was defeated 5-25 with one abstention.

After that motion failed, Vercher moved to withdraw the censure resolution. That motion failed 4-30, with one abstention.

The Tennessee Star previously reported that Councilmember Hall was fined to the tune of $360,000 by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance, for campaign finance law violations that were related to his run for Council in 2018 and 2019. The violations included failing to identify donors, failure to itemize campaign expenditures, failure to itemize his own donations to his campaign, and failure to itemize miscellaneous reimbursements. Councilmember Hall also failed to file annual campaign finance disclosures.

Hall was censured because the board of Metropolitan Board of Ethical Conduct determined he violated Metro disclosure rules, not because of the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance fines.

RS2022-1443, sponsored by Councilmembers Sean Parker, Burkley Allen, Zulfat Suara, Kyonzte Toombs, Jennifer Gamble, Nancy VanReece, Brett Withers, Russ Bradford, Ginny Welsch, Freddie O’Connell, Colby Sledge, and Emily Benedict, is a resolution “declaring surplus and authorizing the conveyance of real property to certain nonprofit organizations, and authorizing grants not exceeding $15,497,279.00 from the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to certain nonprofit organizations selected for the express purpose of constructing and rehabilitating affordable or workforce housing. Metro Council approved the resolution by voice vote.

RS2022-1444, is a resolution “authorizing a grant not to exceed $1,000,000.00 from the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to Pathway Lending for the express purpose of providing weatherization assistance and energy efficiency improvements to housing units owned by qualified low-income individuals and families.” It was sponsored by Councilmembers Sean Parker, Burkley Allen, Kyonzte Toombs, Ginny Welsch, and Zulfat Suara. Metro Council deferred action on the resolution by one meeting.

RS2022-1452, sponsored by Councilmember Burkley Allen, is “an initial resolution determining to issue general obligation bonds of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $46,000,000.” Metro Council deferred action on the resolution by one meeting.

The bulk of the rest of the council meeting dealt primarily with contracts and zoning issues.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected] Follow Aaron on GETTRTwitter, and Parler.
Photo “Jonathan Hall” by Background Photo “Davidson County Courthouse” by euthman. CC BY-SA 2.0.