District Attorney General Jared Effler appeared before the Campbell County Commission at Monday’s workshop to request the county’s help in preserving the District Drug Task Force, which Effler described as “merely surviving from pay period to pay period.”  Effler asked for a non-recurring one time donation from the county of $25,000 to help meet the ongoing operating costs of the task force, and also asked the commission to pass a resolution that would allow proceeds from sale of property through drug forfeitures to automatically go to the drug task force to fund its expenses.

Recent state laws have tightened up policies on sale of seized property and current policy requires that money received through forfeiture sales must go to the counties rather than the task force, Effler explained. The county commission can vote to allow the sale proceeds to automatically go to the task force.

Commissioners were also treated to complaints that seem to reveal a disturbing level of turmoil within the Sanitation Department, as two Sanitation employees brought their concerns to the public forum. The first employee, a truck driver, complained that the department has experienced too many turnovers in a short time.

He also charged that he had been told by “a person in management that if Mayor E. L. Morton is re-elected, I and another employee will be fired.” He continued to complain about nepotism and favoritism within the Sanitation Department and asked Morton if he was “going to be a mayor for all, not just a select few.”

Another employee, mechanic Emmanuel Tipton, complained that he had been the victim of false accusations by commissioners Scott Stanfield and Ralph Davis.

Tipton protested that he was accused of working on a private vehicle on company time instead of answering a service call on a county vehicle enroute to the Scott County landfill. Tipton claimed he was doing the work on the private vehicle only during his break period.

“This is not the first time I’ve had defamatory statements about me by Commissioner Davis, Tipton added. “Only two people complain about my job and these informants are not telling the truth.”

Marie Ayers observed that even if Tipton was working on the private vehicle during a break, he was using county facilities and tools and the county could be held liable. Finance Director Jeff Marlow noted that he had, upon request, submitted a fraud report to the Comptroller’s Office as required by law.

Stanfield then asked County Attorney Joe Coker if he sees any liability for the county, with Coker replying that he had already sent a decision on the matter as an email attachment. Morton finally ended the back and forth discussion by promising to take care of his responsibility and “see what the Comptroller decides.”

With personnel in the Sanitation Department apparently at each other’s throats, commissioners quickly moved to other matters, but the level of controversy remained high. Another citizen, a resident of Ivydell, complained about ATV riders trespassing on his property and vandalizing nearby church property. He asked that the ATV trail be closed, but that would cause complications with both the City of LaFollette and TWRA, since the trail in question provides access to several Royal Blue area ATV trails.

Another speaker, Janice Partin, returned with her previous complaint about a neighbor’s unchecked sewage problem. Partin claimed she had complained to health inspector Alan Wilson but no action was taken. However, after further discussion, a court date had been set to hear her complaint and then re-scheduled to August 14.

She promised that if nothing is done, she would be back to the commission next month, although commissioners were at a loss about their power to do anything to resolve the matter, other than referring her to the proper authorities.

The commission did get a chance to deal with a few matters that did not involve complaints from angry citizens and employees. Those included a budget amendment to fund a raise in pay for Sheriff’s Department deputies, jail guards and school resource officers. The 75 cent per hour raise will cost $140,000 but will be provided through additional state dollars for housing state prisoners in the jail.

The commission will also vote next week on a recommendation from the personnel committee to change the status of the commission secretary, Amanda Grodeman, from temporary to a permanent part-time employee with a $2.00 per hour increase in her wages.

Commissioners will also vote on a plan to replace the windows in the main courtroom as well as the Clerk & Masters office with bullet-proof safety windows. The $30,000 project will be paid for with a 90-10 grant and cost the county only $3,000.

The commission will also vote on school budget amendments that will include a $1,488,000 energy efficiency program to replace all school lighting with LED lights. The cost of the program, which will be paid with a bond issue, will be covered by an annual energy cost savings of $111,000 and the new lighting’s life expectancy is expected to exceed the note payoff by at least eight years, Finance Director Jeff Marlow explained.

“Fluorescent bulbs won’t be around in another 20 years,” Rusty Orick observed. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/14/2018-6AM)