WHO GOT IT RIGHT?
BY: PAT HUNTER
Did commissioners vote to reduce lofty $8,000 pay check?
When pivotal plays are challenged in sports, instant replay is used; observers examine the play and make a final ruling.
THE HUNTER REPORT has received numerous requests asking if commissioners voted to reduce their pay, and the outcome of the vote. Two news articles (News Sentinel and News Herald) were written with far different conclusions so who was right?
With two digital video camcorders at the Sept. 4, 2012 Loudon County Commission meeting, THE HUNTER REPORT was ready for the challenge.
After Instant Replay and careful review of the meeting videos, THE HUNTER REPORT confirms that Loudon County Commission voted 7 NO and 2 YEA. The motion to reduce commissioners pay from $8,000 to $4,000 Failed.
THE HUNTER REPORT gives a thumbs up to the Knoxville News Sentinel for sending a reporter to cover the story, and for getting the motion and vote correct.
THE GAME PLAY
CLICK TO SEE COMMISSION'S VOTE
STREAMING VIDEO - PLEASE ALLOW TIME FOR BUFFERING
At the Sept. 4th Commission meeting, Budget Director Tracy Blair read from the agenda, Consideration of a Reduction in Wages of the County Commissioners. Commission was to consider reducing wages from $8,000 to $4,000. Each commissioner is paid ten percent (10%) of the county mayor's salary ($80,000 est.). CLICK Commissioner Pay Survey 2010 xls CLICK Commission Pay Survey Comparison 2010 pdf
Chairman Roy Bledsoe asked for a recommendation. Commissioner Sharon Yarbrough responded, "Mr. Chair, I recommend that our county commissioner salary be cut in half". "I'll second then Mr. Chairman for the purposes of offering an amendment" said Commissioner Don Miller. He suggested setting the commissioners pay to 6% ($4,800) of the county mayor's salary ($80,000) to Yarbrough's original motion but hearing no second the amendment died.
Chairman Bledsoe asked for discussion on the main motion but no commissioner spoke. He asked the clerk to call roll: Earlena Maples - NO; Bob Franke - NO; Roy Bledsoe- NO: Harold Duff - NO; Sharon Yarbrough - AYE; Steve Harrelson - NO; Don Miller - AYE; Brian Jenkins - NO; and David Meers - NO. The motion failed with 7 No's and 2 Aye's.
On Instant Replay THE HUNTER REPORT cries foul. The camera could not locate the hometown (county beat) reporter at the Sept. 4th Commission meeting. The article gave the impression that commissioners took no action when in fact seven out of nine commissioners (one vacancy) voted not to cut their pay in half. Other than Commissioner Miller's lengthy remarks and Comm. Yarbrough's motion, no one else on commission spoke about the cut in pay.
Additionally when Comm. Yarbrough tried to put the commission's salaries on the July 23rd workshop agenda, some commissioners communicated that they did not wish to discuss the matter publicly and guess what, it wasn't placed on the workshop agenda for public discussion. Who made that decision behind closed doors? CLICK TO SEE Public Records Commissioner E-mails Yarbrough, Harrelson, Franke, Duff pdf
WHO GOT IT RIGHT?
No cuts for commissioner salaries
Author: Jeremy Styron
After months of wrangling about a possible reduction in the salary that
Loudon County commissioners pay themselves,
the board on Tuesday again
dispatched the issue when a motion for a decrease died without a second
Loudon commissioners vote against cutting their own pay
SOURCE: KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL
By Hugh G. Willett
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The Loudon County Commission on Tuesday voted 7-2 to reject a proposal that would have cut commissioners' pay almost in half.
The vote came several months after the commission's budget committee first recommended that commissioner pay be cut from about $8,000 to about $4,000 per year.
The committee recommendation followed data provided by Commissioner Don Miller that showed Loudon commissioners are paid about twice as much as any similar-sized county in the state.
Resident Richard Truitt pointed out that Loudon commissioners, who manage a roughly $60 million budget, are paid more than Davidson County commissioners, who manage a budget of $600 million.
"No one should have the ability to set their own salary," he said.
Tellico Village resident Pandora Vreeland thanked the commission for having the discussion and asked them to consider their position and pay against fair market value � to be determined by comparing commission pay to other commissioners in similar-sized counties, she said.
Commissioner Sharon Yarborough's motion to reduce commission pay by 50 percent was quickly seconded by Miller, who asked to amend the motion.
Miller told the commission that he keeps track of his time and estimated that he invests about 1,000 hours per year on commission business. At $8,000 per year, he figured the job worked out to paying about minimum wage.
"I don't think you could find someone in the private sector to do the job," he said.
Miller acknowledged that his research showed that the pay for commissioners of similar-sized counties would be about $4,000. He made a motion to reduce pay to about $4,800 per year, or 6 percent of the county mayor's salary. The commission had previously been paid based on 10 percent of the mayor's salary.
Chairman Roy Bledsoe's call for further discussion before a vote was met with silence from the rest of the board.
Miller and Yarborough voted for the cut. Commissioners Earlena Maples, Bob Franke, Steve Harrelson, Bledsoe, David Meers, Harold Duff and Brian Jenkins voted against.
Yarborough said she was disappointed in the vote and the fact that most of the commission did not engage in the discussion.
Loudon Tea Party leader Wayne Schnell said he was also disappointed that the commission did not discuss the issue.
Franke said he thought the issue was more complex than presented. Making comparisons between different counties did not take into account that Loudon has 10 commissioners; some counties have 20 commissioners.
"It's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison," he said.