An Assistant for Codes Enforcement Officer - Planner

 

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Lenoir City Personnel Committee, Leslie Johnson, Bobby Johnson, JR

Lenoir City Personnel Committee meets to interview applicant

 

By: Pat Hunter

December 17, 2008

 

On a dreary rainy Wednesday morning, Lenoir City's Personnel Committee met in the small meeting backroom at Lenoir City Hall to discuss hiring an assistant for Leslie Johnson, Codes Enforcement officer. No press was present.

 

The Personnel Committee is comprised of council members Chairman Bobby Johnson, SR., Buddy Hines and Mike Henline. Also in attendance at the meeting was Bobby Johnson, JR., newly elected Treasurer-recorder, Leslie Johnson and an applicant for assistant codes enforcement officer.

 

Absent was Mayor Matt Brookshire and Dale Hurst, city administrator. Mayor Matt is a North Middle School teacher and the last day of school is Friday. Hurst was said to be at a Transportation meeting in Knoxville.

 

The Personnel Committee interviewed one applicant for the position of assistant to the codes enforcement officer.

 

The pay for the assistant will be about $35,000 with another $15,000 for benefits. Lenoir City pays 100 percent of an employee’s insurance benefits. Lenoir City employees are also eligible under the civil service plan. 

 

Picture - Bobby Johnson, SR.

 

Council members described Lenoir City’s benefits as very good benefits and the applicant happened to agree, calling it icing on the cake.

 

Leslie Johnson mentioned that she wanted someone that could hit the door running if she was out of the office for 2 or 3 days. The applicant’s background was discussed extensively.

 

Leslie Johnson inquired about Lenoir City Council holding a Special Called meeting to vote on the Personnel Committee’s recommendation. More information will be printed about the applicant along with clips of the interview since it was a public meeting.   

 

Initially, when Ms. Johnson was hired as the Lenoir City Codes Enforcement officer, an assistant to help Johnson was discussed but due to Lenoir City’s budget crunch, this matter was placed on hold. According to public records, Leslie Johnson’s salary is listed as $56,013 for fiscal year 2008-2009. 

 

To read related background information click Is Planner headed to the Poor House?

 

 

 

 

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Background information about Lenoir City Council Dec. 8th meeting

 

SOURCE: News Herald

Lenoir City drops planning commission

Dec. 9, 2008

 

The Lenoir City Council voted to oust the Loudon County Planning Commission from the realm of development within the city Monday night.

 

Two items — one to disband the planning office, and the other to hire additional help for the codes enforcement office — were added to the agenda at the behest of Councilman Eddie Simpson. 

 

Mixed feelings were expressed as conversations leaned toward the planning office’s dismissal near the end of the meeting.  There were two questions posed by opposing sides: Why should the city continue using the planning office? And how can it afford, literally and otherwise, not to?

 

“I think it’s time that we go out on our own,” Simpson remarked.

Simpson, who strongly advocates hiring assistance for Leslie Johnson, the current codes enforcement officer, feels that by eliminating the planning office those funds could be redirected to afford Johnson’s needed help.  

 

The planning office, due to the interlocal agreement between it, Lenoir City, the City of Loudon and Loudon County, has a contract that extends through June 2009.  The planning office currently receives $21,200 from the city due to this agreement. Come July, those funds can be placed in the salary of a new assistant to Johnson.

 

Along with that amount there is the city’s former administrative assistant Paul Ann Baker’s benefits and insurance that is budgeted at $11,000, and then the city has $4,250 from the 17 percent that it would also pay the planning office on top of the $21,200 next year (mainly because of the lack of fees collected) and $21,000 from a part-time position the city will not fill, which brings the sum to around $58,000.  

 

City Recorder Bobby Johnson Jr. said the new hire would receive in the ballpark of $35,000, along with benefits and so forth, which would bring that person’s compensation to roughly $50,000.  

 

Plus, the city will be able to acquire the fees from building permits that only the planning office currently receives, facilitating the payment of additional help, he said.

 

In opposition to the matter, Lenoir City Mayor Matt Brookshire said, “We’ve been so careful. . . now I feel like we’re taking a little bit of a financial gamble.”  He further noted that his opinion has nothing to do with Leslie Johnson’s ability to perform needed planning tasks, for she has a master’s degree in planning, however, he said he feels this is not the route to take.  

 

Planning Director Russell Newman, regarding the city hiring an assistant to Leslie Johnson, said, “I don’t deny that Leslie needs help, the previous codes officials needed help as well.  All of the items that Mr. Simpson mentioned [in the past] that she doesn’t have time to do had nothing to do with what our office does for the planning commission on a daily basis.  That’s additional work that would be put on her and her assistant that she’s not doing right now at a significantly higher cost than what we are providing it to you all for, and have provided it to you all for the past five years.”

 

Simpson, prior to Newman speaking, had already made a motion, which Douglas “Buddy” Hines seconded.

 

“We’re taking a financial gamble that I don’t feel like we need to take,” said Councilman Gene Hamby prior to casting his vote.  He and Councilman Mike Henline, who said he too wasn’t comfortable with such a move at present, were the only two votes in favor of keeping the planning office.  Councilmen Tony Aikens, Simpson, Bobby Johnson Sr. and Hines voted to disband the planning office in the city.  

 

Following the 4-2 vote to rid the city of the planning office’s assistance, Newman said, “I do want to, on behalf of our office, thank you.  It’s been a pleasure working with you since you’ve been in office.  We’ve done some great things for the city, and hopefully we can help you all in the future.”  

 

Afterward, it was approved to seek additional help for codes enforcement office.  

 

 

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12-17-08