I Just Don't Trust The County

That was the sentiment of at least one Lenoir City Councilman at Monday's council meeting. The first item on the agenda was,

(1) Consideration of City Council adopting resolution authorizing a joint venture to participate as a political subdivision in the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.

The vagueness of the agenda item would have made one think something was up and sure enough it was. To make a very long story short, this was a vote for the city to opt in on the plan to add Economic Development Agency's, Pat Phillips and Kathy Knight to the state retirement plan. To Brookshire's chagrin, the motion died for lack of a second. LC council seemed to be fine with leaving Pat and Kathy out of the program.

The discussion was lead by councilman, Bobby Johnson Sr. Johnson stated that he didn't feel the city had been the cause of the problems surrounding the EDA's employees loss of their retirement and he just wasn't comfortable with the way EDA President, Pat Phillips had presented the matter at a recent workshop. Johnson said he told Phillips that the county was the ones who messed up and that he should go back the the county to get things straightened out to which Phillips stated that he really didn't want to do that.

The background on the issue is that some months ago, Phillips had decided he would retire from the EDA and take his state retirement. That's when he found out that he wasn't entitled to any retirement because he was not considered a county employee. Phillips had always maintained that the EDA was not a government agency and therefore was not required to adhere to certain state laws such as open records laws. Ultimately, the comptroller's office found that the EDA must in fact comply to state laws requiring open records and audits. this was about the time Phillips decided to retire.

The outcome of the city's failure to participate in the EDA retirement plan is yet undetermined. In his quest to get the resolution passed by council, Brookshire told council members that both the city of Loudon and the county had already agreed to to the plan. This however may not be the case.

Lenoir City officials may see this as a golden opportunity to get out from under the financial drain of the EDA. But it is a sad day for sure when a Lenoir City official can say he doesn't trust the county and many people agree with him.