No audit planned of Loudon assessor's office after death

By Hugh G. Willett

Loudon County has no plans to audit the assessor's office after this week's suicide of Property Assessor Chuck Jenkins, authorities said Thursday.

"We see no need to conduct an audit of the assessor's office," said Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron.

Loudon County Commission at an upcoming meeting will move to appoint a new assessor to fill the remainder of Jenkins' term, she said. In the meantime, Herron said she has full confidence in the experienced staff at the assessor's office.

"I want to assure all the citizens of Loudon County that the assessor's office will continue to function properly through this transition period," Herron said.

Jenkins, found dead in his home in Lenoir City on Monday, was appointed assessor in 2006 and elected in 2008.

A spokesman for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury said Thursday that any decision to audit the Loudon County office or any office would have to be based on the receipt of credible information that such an audit was needed. The manner of death of a public official would not necessarily be grounds for an audit, Blake Fontenay said.

"We would have to look at each set of circumstances," Fontenay said.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said Thursday that the TBI is not investigating Jenkins' death or the Loudon County Assessor's Office. Reports circulating that the TBI had removed items from Jenkins' office after his death are not correct, she said.