RESOLUTION NO. RS2012-171
A resolution requesting Davidson County Clerk John Arriola to refund the forty dollar “gratuity” paid by couples married by the County Clerk between September 1, 2006, and July 30, 2011.
WHEREAS, the State of Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of County Audit, working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, recently completed an audit of Mr. Arriola’s office for the period September 1, 2006 through July 30, 2011 resulting in eleven findings and recommendations; and
WHEREAS, the Comptroller’s audit report provides evidence that County Clerk’s Office employees in the marriage department were required to collect an additional forty dollar cash fee for the performance of marriage ceremonies, which potentially netted Mr. Arriola an estimated $119,000 in additional personal compensation over the five year period; and
WHEREAS, T.C.A. § 36-3-301(c) allows the County Clerk to receive a gratuity for the solemnization of a marriage, which may be retained by the Clerk as personal remuneration; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Arriola’s response to the Comptroller’s audit asserts that the Clerk received a gratuity for performing the marriage ceremonies, not a fee; and
WHEREAS, the Comptroller’s rebuttal to Mr. Arriola’s response notes that employees in the County Clerk’s office provided sworn statements that Mr. Arriola “required, with rare exception, a $40 cash fee for the performance of a marriage ceremony”; and
WHEREAS, the Comptroller’s rebuttal further states that every individual interviewed by the Comptroller’s office that had been married by Mr. Arriola said they were required to pay a forty dollar fee for the marriage ceremony; and
WHEREAS, regardless of Mr. Arriola’s intentions concerning the payments, the evidence supports the fact that the couples being married believed they did not have a choice but to make the forty dollar cash payment; and
WHEREAS, taking Mr. Arriola at his word and assuming that the $40 cash payment was merely a suggested voluntary gratuity, the honorable action for Mr. Arriola to take at this time would be to refund the $40 cash payment out of his personal funds to any person asserting that he/she was led to believe the forty dollar payment was not optional.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:
Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as requesting Davidson County Clerk John Arriola to refund the forty dollar “gratuity” paid by couples married by the County Clerk between September 1, 2006, and July 30, 2011. The Council further requests that such refund be made from Mr. Arriola’s personal funds to each and every person that claims he/she was led by the County Clerk’s staff to believe that the cash payment was required in order to be married.
Section 2. That the Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to Davidson County Clerk John Arriola.
Section 3. That this Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsored by: Charlie Tygard, Robert Duvall
|Referred to:||Rules & Confirmations Committee|
|Introduced:||February 21, 2012|
|Adopted:||February 21, 2012|
|Returned Unsigned by Mayor:||February 23, 2012|