Headlee Stays, Hemelright Stays
All Boards And Committees Abolished


To call Thursday's Loudon County Board Of Education meeting, contentious would be putting it mildly. Rumors had been circulating for days that both, director of schools, Edward Headlee and maintenance coordinator, Dave Hemelright were going to be dismissed in one fashion or the other. Fireworks starting almost immediately when board member, Scott Newman, citing a host of concerns with Hemelright's performance over the last four years, made a motion to eliminate Hemelright's position. The motion was seconded by Freddie Gene Walker. Several members commented on the motion before the vote was taken. The vote was 4 yeas and 6 nays. Voting to eliminate were Newman, Walker, Leroy Tate and Bill Marcus. Voting to keep were June Klinstiver, Steve Heralson, Nancy Pauly, Larry Bass, Larry Proaps and Bobby Johnson.

After the vote, Walker stated that the actions of Hemelright had made Loudon County a "laughingstock." Hemelright has been under immense fire by some who felt he was responsible for mishandling the life safety improvements at Loudon High School and other issues.

The next hot issue to come to the floor, was a motion by board member, Bill Marcus, to buy out the remainder of Headlee's contract. With little discussion and a little arguing, chairman Johnson called for the vote. Voting to buy out were, Newman, Klinstiver, Marcus and Walker. Voting not to buy out were, Johnson, Hearlson, Pauly, Bass, Proaps and Tate. Motion failed. Like Hemelright, Headlee is also considered by some board members to be a part of the problems plaguing the school system. Headlee is slated to retire in June 08.

The August Grand Jury has asked that lagging remodeling activities at LHS be investigated. District Attorney, Russ Johnson was in attendance at the meeting but gave no report.

Maybe the biggest bomb shell of the night was when newly appointed board chairman, Bobby Johnson Jr., announced that he had abolished all boards and committees including the director search committee. He stated that he felt that the entire board should handle all matters as a board. This brought immediate reaction from one board member Walker that they, the board, could over rule his decision. Johnson stated, "yes you can." Johnson had spent much of the night refereeing arguments between board members , once telling them to grow up. In closing, Johnson gave the board members packets that he said contained information pertaining to the board's duties and actions and once again admonished the board. This brought an a reaction from Scott Newman stating that differences of opinion does not constitute back biting. The meeting adjourned.

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