County to offer worker settlement
Jeremy Nash
Loudon County Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw will make a recommendation at the Loudon County Commission meeting in April to offer three juvenile center officers a settlement for years of unpaid overtime and comp time.

Bradshaw said he was willing to give officers Debbie Cansler, Chris Hill and Kevin Curbow, who currently serves as director for the Loudon County Juvenile Center, a total of $8,800. Cansler, Hill and Curbow would receive $3,800, $2,000 and $3,000, respectively.

All parties have agreed to accept the settlement pending approval from commissioners, Bradshaw said, noting that the money would likely come out of the general fund.
“Every impression that, I have, I believe to be true, is that when they worked over, were called out, anything after hours, any kind of overtime, they were not allowed to place it on their time sheet,” Bradshaw said a Monday commission workshop. “They were told to take 30 minutes extra at lunch and sometimes after.”
Both sides have been talking since December 2014, Bradshaw said. Each officer was interviewed separately, and Bradshaw said he determined their stories were true. The employees were supervised by former longtime director Rick Thomas.
Commissioner Van Shaver said he was not opposed to the settlement, but he was concerned about why no one reached out to Thomas to get his side of the story.
“I would have loved for somebody to have gotten his position on this,” Shaver said. “Yeah, I’ve asked for this for quite a while. Somebody needs — and it’s not my capacity just as a single commissioner to do that. I know Mr. Thomas very well and I would have thought the attorneys, the clerks, whoever’s doing all this work at some point in time somebody’s picking up the phone and call and say, ‘Hey, could we get your (thoughts)?’
“He might have said the heck with you, maybe he wouldn’t talk,” Shaver added. “Somebody should have reached out to him at least to hear his side of the story as to why he did what he did, because to be very honest, what we’re hearing is that they weren’t treated fairly in their pay and that may or may not be his position.”
During the workshop, Bradshaw said Loudon County Attorney Bob Bowman believed the case would be a “slam dunk” in favor of the plaintiff if taken to court. While the amount could have been a little less than what the county is offering the three individuals, Bradshaw said he was giving them a total he was “comfortable with.”
Phone records and time sheets were pulled by Bowman’s office. The amount given to the three will cover about three years worth of unpaid time, Bradshaw said.
“With the restrictions as far as the time on it ... I think this is pretty fair,” Bradshaw said. “By the time you take what the court allows as far as the time, then you get attorney fees out as well, I think this is more than they could probably take home if it went to court.”
Bradshaw said at no point did the three officers threaten a lawsuit, and all are currently employed. Former employees cannot come forward and make similar claims, he said.
“It seems reasonable; I didn’t do the research, Buddy did,” Commissioner Henry Cullen said. “I have to believe him. He’s thorough in what he does. If $8,800 makes it go away and we’re liable for much more if we went to court along with the attorney fees, I say settle it and let’s roll on.”