Raises For EDA?

As unbelievable as it may seem, Economic Development Director, Pat Phillips and his assistant Kathy Knight, are asking for hefty raises for the upcoming fiscal year. And even more amazing is that the Economic Development Agency Board Of Directors, Chairman Doyle Arp, will recommend the raises to the City of Loudon, Lenoir City and Loudon County who fund the agency.

The board will recommend to the three governments that Phillips receive a three percent raise and an additional $2,000.00 per year. The board will recommend that Knight receive a three percent raise and an additional $3,500.00 per year. (Source News Herald)

Phillips' current annual salary is $78,786.00. If the raises are passed, it would bring Phillips salary to $83,150.00 making him the second highest paid county employee with a higher salary than any elected official other than Judge William Russell. Knight's current salary is $47,272.00. The recommended raise would take Knight's salary to $52,190.00.

The Loudon County Economic Development Agency, or  EDA, as it is known, is a joint venture between Loudon County, the City of Loudon and Lenoir City. Their alleged mission is to assist commercial and industrial development in the cities and county. The EDA is governed by a Board Of Directors. Loudon County pays the lion's share of funding of the EDA to the tune of approximately $135,000.00 per year with the city of Loudon kicking in nearly $30,000.00 and Lenoir City contributing another $25,000.00 or so.

At least some in the local governments have questioned the continued funding of the EDA citing the lack of any noticeable achievements by the agency for many years. Just a couple of years ago, Lenoir City was on the verge of eliminating all their funding to the EDA and some on the Loudon City Council have expressed a desire to eliminate funding for the agency.

It is unimaginable that while county residents are staring down the barrel of a property tax increase and county employees are again faced with a possible change to their health insurance that County Mayor, Doyle Arp and his board of directors could conceivably  recommend such outrageous pay increases for an agency that produces so little for city or county residents.