Commission delays full-time position

Jeremy Nash

Chaney would have begun the hiring process for someone at $25,000 a year. Currently, the county’s starting salary for full-time employees is $20,800.

Chaney will seek a part-time position for now. His department consists of two part-time and one full-time position.

“If we approve that extra person at $25,000, which is what the request is, we just added another gallon of gas on Lisa Niles’ lawsuit,” Commissioner Henry Cullen said. “... That should be postponed until after the Lisa Niles lawsuit is settled. All we’re going to do is add fuel to the fire.”
Cullen made the motion to postpone Chaney’s request until a decision was made in the lawsuit with General Sessions and Circuit Court Clerk Lisa Niles. Commissioner Kelly Littleton-Brewster seconded.
“Just to play devil’s advocate, we are keeping people — because we’re afraid of the lawsuit — we’re denying people a raise,” Commissioner Bill Satterfield said. “I’m not saying I’m for it or against it, but I’m saying we’re sitting here (talking about) the lawsuit, so we’re going to deny somebody a raise because of a lawsuit.”
Commissioner Van Shaver said the county was not denying an employee a raise, instead noting Chaney was seeking a full-time starting salary for a would-be hire.
“This is an increase from spending in (County General Fund) 101 into his department into his salary agreement,” Shaver said. “Once that money goes there, he can then do whatever he wants to it.”
Commissioner Matthew Tinker and Chairman Steve Harrelson both opposed handling salaries in the middle of the budget year.
Tinker voted against the request in the November county budget committee meeting.
“My vote had nothing to do with the lawsuit, it had to do with the timing,” Tinker said. “... Keep that in mind if it comes with whatever happens with the lawsuit and it comes back before you that it’s probably most appropriate to wait until budget time to hire in another half-time person.”
In a follow-up interview, Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw said Chaney’s office will need to be ready for a “historic” delinquent property tax sale in October, and he hopes commission will address the matter after the Niles case is settled.
“If commission wants to wait in there until budget cycle to decide on full time or part time, that could be into July and then we’re just four months out from the tax sale there,” Bradshaw said. “... That’s a valid argument that it’s being mid-budget, but at the same time I think we have an employee who’s retiring with a tremendous amount of experience and plus us coming up on the tax sale in October, I think it’s not a cut and dry situation. I think it’s worthy to be readdressed once we get through the court date on the 20th.”
In other action, Loudon County Commission:
• Passed a resolution requesting the Tennessee General Assembly name the planned Tennessee Bureau of Investigation facility in Madison County after the late Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent De’Greaun “Dee” Frazier in commemoration of his death in the line of service. Counties statewide are seeking approval.
• Passed a grant application for a Community Development Block Grant for $315,000 to get a new fire truck. Loudon County Fire & Rescue Squad has agreed to pay the county’s match, Budget Director Tracy Blair said.
• Accepted a $12,500 Homeland Security Grant and a $39,500 Emergency Management Performance Grant.
• Authorized a resolution to transfer about $16,000 from General Capital Projects Fund 171 to County General Fund 101.
• Approved amendments in Public Library Fund 115, General Purpose School Fund 141, School Federal Projects Fund 142, in addition to the remaining items in County General Fund 101.