|That's how Mayor Matt Brookshire summed up the nearly
hour long meeting of the personal committee meeting Monday. The main
subject of the meeting was to discuss what council would pay the new
treasurer/recorder after the November election. The charter states that
the council will set the compensation for the treasurer/recorder. There
has been speculation that some wanted to cut the pay. Bobby Johnson Jr.
was the only candidate to qualify for the position and will assume the
position shortly after the election.
possibilities for the pay scale were discussed with most members of the
committee agreeing that the pay should be the same range as other city
department heads. It was noted that at the time of her retirement former
treasurer/recorder, Debbie Cook's pay was at $63,411.00 and current
interim treasurer/recorder receives approximately $50,000.00.
Much of the meeting was taken with discussions about
who will be in charge of the city court clerk position. Earlier this
year, based on erroneous information provided by city judge, Terry Vann,
the council gave the judge control of the city court clerk position.
However the charter clearly gives the treasurer/recorder jurisdiction as
the city court clerk. Lenoir City attorney, Shannon Littleton suggested
the city could ask for an opinion from the state's attorney general for
clarification on who should control the city court clerk position.
The committee decided to wait till they receive the
AG's opinion to hold the next meeting to decide on a recommendation on
the pay for the treasurer/recorder.
By the way, the meeting was moved to the council room
to accommodate all those in attendance.
Lenoir City seeks counsel
Opinion wanted on how to handle potential conflict
By Hugh G. Willett, knoxnews.com
LENOIR CITY - The Lenoir City Council will seek an
outside legal opinion on how to handle a potential conflict between an
appointed court clerk and soon-to-be-elected clerk/treasurer/recorder
Bobby Johnson Jr.
City attorney Shannon Littleton on Monday recommended to the City
Council personnel committee that it seek an opinion from either the
state attorney general or a judgment from chancery court to help decide
if a state law giving a local judge the right to appoint his own clerk
overrules the city charter.
Johnson, who is running unopposed for the position of
clerk/treasurer/recorder on the November ballot, has said repeatedly
that he intends to assume all the duties of the office as specified in
the city charter.
A majority of voters rejected a charter change on the August ballot that
would have made the position of treasurer/recorder appointed by City
Council instead of elected.
The city charter also states that the treasurer/recorder shall be clerk
of courts. An interim recorder/treasurer has been filling the position
since longtime Clerk/Recorder/Treasurer Debbie Cook resigned in April
Johnson, who works for the city's parks and recreation department, said
he is also looking to be paid the same as Cook and be able to transfer
his current city benefits and pension plan.
"What the voters told me is to go by what the charter says and that's
what I'm going to do," Johnson said.
The current court clerk was appointed by Lenoir City Judge Terry Vann
earlier this year in what some considered a violation of the city
Vann cited the Municipal Court Reform Act of 2004, which states that
notwithstanding any law or provision to the contrary, the city judge
shall appoint a clerk of courts.
The committee was addressing the question of pay for the
treasurer/recorder when Councilman Douglas "Buddy" Hines asked whether
the position would include clerk of courts.
Littleton at first said he was confident that the reform act provided
the necessary authorization for Judge Vann's appointment of his own
clerk. But after repeated questions from Hines, Littleton said it might
be better to get an outside legal opinion.
"The voters elected me to the same position they elected Debbie Cook.
I've been out talking to the voters, they're tired of having things
shoved down their throats," Johnson said.