Just weeks after their request for special parking privileges provoked yet another round of public embarrassment, several members of the city's legislative body are now questioning the quality and security of the bottled water Metro leaves for them before their council meetings.
Metropolitan Clerk Marilyn Swing, who acts as Metro Council's top administrative officer and whose office recorded the water complaint, explains the members' concerns: "They couldn't tell whether the water had been open and someone had already consumed part of it... They felt like it was a health and security issue."
Here's how Council's latest saga, which we should add is not an April Fool's prank, unfolded.
For months now, two rather altruistic Metro Water employees, Sonia Harvat and Kim Minton, have been kind enough to fill up bottles of water for each Council member, which they then deliver to the refrigerator in the Council's break room. The bottles aren't store-bought, so the seals don't lock as tightly as if they had been commercially packaged.
The fact that the tops to the bottles are not secure has apparently worried a few members of the Metro Council. Notwithstanding the fact that the members have been the beneficiaries of a selfless act of kindness, several of them have instead focused in on a doomsday possibility. In other words, someone could in fact try to poison them.
Swing would not identify which Council members have been responsible for bringing up what she terms the "security issue." But in the wake of the concerns being expressed to her, she did take action.
In a memo to all Council members, she wrote: "Because the Council break room at the back of the Chamber is not a totally secure area...and questions may arise about handling of the bottles with broken seals, I am resuming the practice of purchasing commercial bottled water for Council members."
In other words, taxpayers will be financing the purchase of water for Council members, inasmuch as they don't want to drink the water produced by the department they oversee.
Meanwhile, Swing, a remarkably patient woman who has served at least two decades working in close proximity to Metro Council, was careful to expound on the benefits of Metro tap water in her memo. "Water Services also reminds all that tap water tastes great, is healthy, convenient and much less expensive than bottled water."
Several council members reached by the Scene had their suspicions as to which of their colleagues had seen terrorist designs in the refrigerator, but none of them knew for sure. One natural suspect was Councilman Rip Ryman, who had been in the forefront of demanding specially designated parking spaces for council members in front of City Hall. "I'm fine with the water," Ryman contended. "It's the same water I drink at home."
For his part, Councilman Parker Toler, who used to work for Metro Water Services, tried to sound like the voice of reason in the water flap. "People were concerned because the seal was broken on the bottles, but I told them the tap water in Nashville is as good as anywhere in the country. Sometimes it doesn't have as good a taste as bottled water, but if it's put in the refrigerator it tastes as good as anything."
At the rate this Council is going, they should be happy they're getting any water at all.
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