|At Monday's commission meeting, commissioners voted
to combine the Office Of Planning and the Building Inspector/Codes
Enforcement Office. Gross mismanagement of the planning office by
planner Russ Newman caused the office to go broke so now under county
mayor Doyle Arp's plan, Newman will be taking over both offices with no
reduction in pay. Newman would keep his $67,000.00 annual pay.
Now that the planning office will no longer be doing planning for Lenoir City or Loudon, Newman's planning responsibilities will be reduced by 75%. Newman also is not certified in codes enforcement or building codes, yet Arp proposes to leave his pay as is.
Some commissioners questioned the wisdom of Newman managing both offices given the failure of the planning office and also question his current pay scale. Commissioners voted to recommend to the budget committee to consider reducing Newman's pay to be comparable to other department heads which would be in the $50,000.00 range.
The budget committee is expected to return a recommendation on pay scales for Newman and other employees and which employees will be kept and which will be let go.
County Commission votes to create Office of Planning and Codes Enforcement
Mary E. Hinds News Herald
The county has pursued combining the offices since the economic downturn has cut building and development across the country and since Lenoir City opted to leave the interlocal agreement for planning throughout the county. The combined office will have a reduced staff and will be headed by County Planner Russ Newman. Building Commissioner Bill Cox recently gave the county his resignation to be effective this fall.
Maples noted other department heads are paid approximately $52,000 a year, while the head of the newly combined office of planning and codes enforcement would be paid $67,200. "How do we justify the difference?" Maples asked. "Why is it (the salary) more than elected officials?" questioned Commissioner Nancy Marcus, referring to elected department heads, not other officials like county commissioners.