You Want What?
Whether he's thumbing his nose at Loudon County residents or helping fat cat developers side step local regulations, Loudon County Planner, Russ Newman, has been and continues to be a thorn in the county's side.
Newman who has been the county planner for seven or eight years now has managed to screw up most everything he puts his hands on including his own department. Through reckless and irresponsible spending, Newman finally broke his own departments budget. Lenoir City officials who had also been a part of Newman's planning services dumped him earlier this year.
For all his failures, County Mayor Doyle Arp rewarded Newman with a new post and title. He is now in charge of county planning, codes enforcement and zoning enforcement. After the planning office went broke Arp combined planning, codes enforcement and zoning and put Newman in charge. But that's not the real story.
The real story is in Newman's new budget he is asking to continue to draw the same outrageous salary he was being paid before the planning department went broke. Newman currently makes more than $67,000.00. That's more than a number of our elected officials. With the loss both Lenoir City and Loudon's planning work, Newman's work load has been reduced by at least seventy-five percent. Additionally, Newman is not certified as a codes enforcement/inspector.
So, Newman essentially does nothing, or is not qualified for the job he now has but he feels he needs a 2% raise to his 67k salary. Fortunately, it doesn't appear that most commissioners share Newman's high opinion of his value to the county. At last weeks commission budget meeting, several commissioners suggested reducing Newman's salary to be in line with other county department heads. If that passes, that would reduce Newman's salary down to around $53,000.00.
The final decision will be made when commission meets on October 12th to finalize the county's budget.
County planners salary questioned
Mary E. Hinds News Herald
One issue before the commission is deciding on an appropriate salary for County Planner Russ Newman to receive for overseeing two offices combined into one and the number of employees needed to run the operations. In a effort to cut costs earlier in June the county commission voted to combine the Planning and Community Development Agency and the Loudon County Building Inspector's Office into the Office of Planning and Codes Enforcement.
Commissioner Don Miller said Blair does a "fantastic job," works too many hours and has the "biggest job in the county after the mayor."