County commissioners agreed Monday night to adopt new guidelines that they hope will streamline decision-making and shorten workshops and meetings by shifting more of the discussion and debate to committees.  WATCH HERE.

Under the new guidelines, all matters brought before the commission by members of the public, as well as matters brought up by commissioners themselves, will be referred to the appropriate committee for discussion and must be approved by a majority of the committee before coming back to the full commission for passage.

One section was amended from requiring three votes for passage out of committee to requiring a majority of the committee present, as long as a quorum is met. That would allow a committee decision if only three of five members attended.

Each non-statutory committee contains five commissioners, one from each district, and meetings can be called only by the chairperson. The Budget & Finance Committee will continue to consist of all fifteen commissioners, and several other statutory committees (membership set by state law) will contain fewer than five commissioners with other county officials or members of the general public taking the remaining seats.

Five committees, including Budget & Finance, Environmental, Emergency Management, the Beer Board and Planning Commission, will meet monthly as required by law.

The Financial Management Committee will meet as called by the Finance Director to review and approve bids, while the Recreation, Animal Control, Education and Building & Grounds Committees will meet at least four times a year, the quarterly meetings set for the first Tuesday of every third month.

The Jail, Airport, Waterline Extension and Insurance & Personnel Committees will only be required to meet twice a year unless called in special session by the chairman.

Some committees will be restricted to one meeting a year unless called into special session. Those “annual” committees include Agriculture, Industrial, Communications, Rules & Ethics, Ways & Means and Delinquent Tax committees.

Commissioners met before their regular scheduled meeting on Monday to review the proposed guidelines and gave final unanimous approval later at the regular meeting.

The regular meeting kicked off with newly-elected School Board Chairperson Crystal Creekmore showing commissioners the new plaques honoring late board member Mike Orick and promoting anti-bullying campaigns in county schools. One of the plaques is being placed in every school.

After approving budget amendments and routine reports, the commissioners also discussed the problem of ATV riders in the Ivydell community, where local residents have complained about trespassing, high speeds and vandalism by some riders.

The commission agreed to a plan to post speed limits and discussed whether constables could be utilized to enforce limits and “no trespassing” signs. Attorney Joe Coker pointed out that the commission had no power to force elected constables to enforce the restrictions but could request their help.

Ralph Davis asked that the Building & Grounds Committee schedule a meeting for October 8 at 6:30 p.m. to meet with an architect and go over plans for a new county office building in Jellico. He also asked to call a meeting of the Environmental/Sanitation Committee to begin advertising for a new Director to replace Walt Sutton, who plans to retire in January.

Mayor Morton reminded Davis that he is responsible for hiring a new director and the commission has the power only to approve or disapprove his selection.

After adjournment, the commissioners remained to select chairmen and vice chairmen for some of the committees. Davis was elected to continue as chair of the Environmental Committee and also to chair the Beer Board, while Rusty Orick was selected to chair the Industrial Committee.

Other committees will meet Tuesday (tonight), this coming Thursday and next Monday at 5:30 p.m. to elect chairpersons.    (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 09/18/2018-6AM)