A Question of Trust
We're moving in the Right Direction
By: Pat Hunter
October 29, 2008
At the Oct. 20th Loudon County Budget Committee meeting, School Director Wayne Honeycutt and Business Manager Bennie Sims went before the committee to discuss numerous budget amendments and transfers. This is the same meeting where procedures to handle school budget amendments were also approved by the Budget Committee even though this matter was not on the agenda or first discussed with the School Board or Commissioners. Now, most school budget amendments will go directly to the Mayor and Finance Director for approval. If you believe in accountability and transparency and in an open democratic process with public discussion, you too should be concerned. Click to see New Procedure Approved by Budget Committee.
Budget Chairman, Mayor Doyle Arp gave pause to reflect about better times ahead. New Director Wayne Honeycutt replaces former School Director Edward Headlee, who retired at the end of June 30, 2008. Mayor Arp and Director Honeycutt have struck a good working relationship and Arp wanted everyone to know about that. Arp spoke about the stormy relationship between him and former school officials.
Here are a just a few of Mayor Arp's comments, this is not a verbatim transcript but just general comments and discussion. Budget Chairman, Mayor Arp started to explain to School Director Wayne Honeycutt and Budget Committee, “of course the paper ain't here but it will get there anyway.” Arp commented, what happened a long time ago was that the school board would ask for X amount of dollars and then shift it here. And then, next that you know they were sliding stuff around and it wasn’t in the original budget. But that’s the way they operated so it became a head butting contest between the two bodies. And it just made life miserable for everybody because no body had any confidence in the other side. It was just a dog eat dog. We have certainly moved past that, replied School Director Wayne Honeycutt. Well, I think that we are past that remarked Mayor Arp. It’s irritating said Honeycutt to Arp. It’s elementary, type stuff. That’s how we got to where we’re at. I’ve been here through the whole dog fights. You couldn’t …nobody trusted nobody…We’re above that and we’re headed in the right direction, I think.
Director Honeycutt has made few changes to his Central Office staff since Headlee’s retirement while the practice of monthly budget amendments continues! But what has changed, is how Mayor Arp views his working relationship with new School Director Wayne Honeycutt, things are now moving in the “right direction.”