Legal Extortion

At last weeks county commission meeting, the commission voted unanimously to send a resolution to our state legislators asking them to see if they could do anything to change the law that allows certain elected officials to sue the tax payers for unreasonable pay increases and staffing.
Whereas the Loudon County Commission is responsible for the financial management of the taxes it receives from the citizens of the county; and

Whereas the Loudon County mayor has been in the past and is currently cited into court to answer demands of a county fee officer for additional funds and employees based on sections of TCA 8-20-101; and

Whereas these salary suits brought by other elected officials of the county could have a negative effect on county government and put a financial burden on the tax payers of Loudon County; and  

Now, therefore, the County Commission meeting in session on February 2nd, 2015 request that state legislators eliminate or modify existing legislation or pass new legislation that could remove this financial burden from the Loudon County tax payers.  

The law that allows the "salary suits" as their called was written back in 1921 when the financial management of county government was changed. I'm sure when the law was passed back in 1921, lawmakers never thought elected officials would use it as legal extortion against tax payers. Unfortunately, that's what it has turned into.

For the third time in as many terms in office Lisa Niles has done just that. She even told the budget committee it would be a lot cheaper to give her what she wanted rather than go to court.

Less than a month after being re-elected last August by the voters of Loudon County, Circuit/General Sessions Court Clerk Lisa Niles, filed a law suit against those very same voters.

Niles is demanding nearly a quarter million dollars more for her department budgets. This would include 6 new full time employees additional part time positions and additional raises for all 17 staff members. The previous commission had already given Ms. Niles an additional $165,000.00 for her budgets for fiscal year 2014-2015 bringing her combined budgets to nearly $900,000.00. 

Adding insult to injury to the tax payers, Ms. Niles has hired a lawyer to take her case to court so of course the county had to hire a lawyer to answer the suit and the tax payers have to pay the legal bills of both lawyers and the tab on both is running.

I have no idea if our state law makers can or will do anything to fix this crazy, out of date law but it sure would benefit the tax payers if they could. Time will tell.