When we look at the death of Grant Solomon, there’s a player whose role is getting far too little attention or scrutiny. That person is Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown, who has steadfastly ignored pleas to help get answers.
Brown’s studied efforts to avoid engaging — even after multiple emailed appeals from this publication and others — begs the question: Why?
As a parent, how can Brown look in the mirror and ignore Angie Solomon’s suffering following the death of her son, Grant?
In short, why do we continue to get the ugly smell of corruption from Brown’s office, and that of other Gallatin city officials?
Let’s start with some background on Brown.
Brown graduated from Florida State University (FSU) with a degree in communications.
She then spent eleven years as the executive producer for NewsChannel 5 in Nashville before becoming executive director of the Gallatin Chamber of Commerce.
From there, Gallatin elected Brown mayor three times.
Paige Brown’s future
A review of Brown’s re-election campaign website, which is online year-round, makes it implicitly clear that she aspires to more extraordinary things.
These indicia include references to her:
- Conservative politics.
- Stint with the Chamber of Commerce.
- Tax decreases combined with her revenue increases for the city,
- Public safety track record.
Add in the myriad other hints — from the facial fillers to the carefully contrived photos of her children — and the conclusion she’s aiming higher becomes impossible to avoid.
Don’t discount Brown
Nor should anyone discount Brown.
In a part of the country where misogyny too often reigns, Brown is a cunning media relations expert, adept brand strategist, astute political campaigner, clever driver of a focused agenda — all while managing to appear non-threatening. That’s a formidable combination to master.
Yet, in all of this, we hear not a word from Brown about the murder of Grant Solomon. No criticism of the shoddy behavior of the police department under her watch. No efforts to address the laughably thin “investigation” into the circumstances of his death. No attempt to reach out to Angie or Gracie.
Not even the courtesy of answering correspondence.
Even worse, Brown takes the same approach to city staff. For example, City Attorney Susan High-McAuley continues to ignore pleas for help. No response, nothing.
This lack of accountability at multiple levels within the city is consistent with Tennessee politics. Everyone, including Paige Brown, wants to take credit for positive things, including tax cuts, clean financial audits, and more.
But bring up a meltdown like the Gallatin police department’s epic failure to meet even basic standards for a criminal investigation or the lack of rudimentary professionalism from Chief of Police Don Bandy, and Brown is nowhere to be seen.
Even more laughable is that Bandy was named Police Chief of the Year for Tennessee. He’s got experience as a criminal investigator, but he can’t be bothered to ensure that officers under his leadership take even token steps toward getting answers in the Solomon case.
All we can say is that someone in Gallatin is spending a lot of time and money on branding and reputation management, personally and for the city.
But it’s all smoke and mirrors, and the reality coming from Gallatin is an ugly combination of incompetence, arrogance, and indifference.
Again, we ask the question: How can Paige Brown look at herself in the mirror, even as she ignores a mother whose son was murdered in Gallatin?
How can Paige Brown hold herself forth as an exemplary leader when she can’t even respond to inquiries about the death of an 18-year-old boy, Grant Solomon?
And why does Paige Brown condone the ugly stench of corruption that continues to swirl around her administration?
Hopefully a criminal investigation of Paige Brown, Don Bandy, and other Gallatin city officials will help us understand the answers to these questions.