Commissioner R. Larry Smith apologizes to Broyles for remark

Commissioner R. Larry Smith apologizes to Broyles for remarks on women's conferences

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"There's always something more to learn and that's the biggest benefit of going to these conferences is learning," Amy Broyles said. "There's always something more to learn and that's the biggest benefit of going to these conferences is learning," Amy Broyles said.
"That's the only reason I brought this up was to let people know who's going where and how often they go," R. Larry Smith said. "That's the only reason I brought this up was to let people know who's going where and how often they go," R. Larry Smith said.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Commission Vice Chairman R. Larry Smith apologized to Amy Broyles during Tuesday's meeting for remarks on her attendance at women's conference.

Last week, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Smith said, "How's women's issues going to better Knox County's government decision-making?"

6 News has reported on travel expenses for county commissioners last year, and financial records showed that Broyles accounted for nearly 80 percent of the cost expensed last year.

Broyles used almost $5,200 on travel to conferences including the Southeast Tennessee Women's Summit and a conference for Women Today and Tomorrow.

Commissioner Mike Hammond expensed $747.30; Sam McKenzie expensed $515; and Brad Anders expensed $50.

Four women spoke up during Monday's meeting to defend Broyles.

"We support the use of the travel budget for training," former president of the League of Women Voters Jamey Dobbs said.

Rynn Dupes told commissioners that she praised Broyles' participation in a conference focused on violence against women.

"I hope for conferences such as this you all will gladly excuse a commissioner if they have the opportunity to receive training or information or skills that are obviously so valuable," Dupes said.

Smith told 6 News after Tuesday's meeting that he did not intend to insult women, and only brought up the issue to bring transparency to the travel budget.

"That's the only reason I brought this up was to let people know who's going where and how often they go," Smith said.

Broyles said she hopes other commissioners will decide to join her in future conferences.

"There's always something more to learn and that's the biggest benefit of going to these conferences is learning," Broyles said.

Smith postponed a discussion item on making travel expenses more transparent during meetings. He said he delayed it because four commissioners, including the chairman, were absent for the meeting.

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