Fly in the Ointment – JR
Letter in the Mail
By: Pat Hunter
September 30, 2008
There’s a big fly in the ointment and his name is JR. You may know him as Bobby Johnson, Jr., 2nd District (Lenoir City) school board member, Loudon County Board of Education.
On Aug. 8th Lenoir City voters were asked to change the position of Recorder/Treasurer from a popularly elected position with a four-year term to a position appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the City Council but the voters said no and this measure failed. Bobby Johnson, Jr., decided to run for Recorder/Treasurer. He is running unopposed in the Nov. 4th election and you might say that he was elected to office by default. Bobby Johnson, JR, a Lenoir City employee and he is presently employed as a maintenance employee with the Parks and Recreation Department.
Besides talk about establishing a salary and possible benefits for the new Recorder/Treasurer, another question was asked by Councilman Buddy Hines, “Will he act as a court clerk, we have had a debate about that.” “His position being court clerk and him being over these two ladies back here.” Hines was referring to the soon to be Recorder/Treasurer overseeing the new court clerk office located in the rear of the council meeting room and the two ladies who work there.
Previously, in April-May 2008, Lenoir City Council voted unanimously to approve an Ordinance creating a court clerk to oversee the city court. Council acted on this matter at the urging of City Judge Terry Vann who cited the 2004 Municipal Reform Act. The Judge was to make a recommendation to appoint a court clerk. Later, Jennifer Jackson was recommended to serve as court clerk and her appointment was rubber-stamped by Council. Click to read Judge Pleads his Case
Attorney Littleton reminded everyone how the Treasurer/Recorder oversees all funds including the court clerk’s office. Littleton’s opinion was that the 2004 Municipal Reform Act superseded the Charter. Council's actions to appoint a court clerk contradict the Lenoir City Charter, ARTICLE VIII CITY RECORDER1 Section 7. Shall serve as city court clerk. The Recorder/Treasurer shall be the Clerk of the City Court. This matter has some officials in Lenoir City government in a slight quandary.
Initially, Attorney Littleton had suggested obtaining an Attorney General Opinion or a declaratory ruling by the Chancellor over this issue. On Monday, Sept. 29th and after much discussion, the Personnel Committee directed attorney Shannon Littleton to draft a letter as early as Tuesday morning, requesting an Attorney General opinion regarding this issue. Another meeting will be scheduled later about this matter and to also set a salary and possible benefits for Jr.