Commission Eyes Duncan’s Incentive Payments

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Knox County Commission is looking into incentive payments Trustee John Duncan III gave himself and some of his employees over the last two years for participating in a program most have yet to complete.
Duncan, son of U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., says problems with the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Services’ computer system are the reason for the problems. But some commissioners wonder why the members of the trustee’s office failed to finish the certified public administrator courses they were taking after Duncan and the employees received a combined $57,000 in bonuses.
Duncan’s explanation to the Knoxville News Sentinel has changed over time ( But he contends computer issues at UT were the main culprit, a statement UT and some commissioners contend isn’t true.
State law says bonuses should only go to those who attain certified public administrator designation.
“It’s really infuriated a lot of people,” Commissioner R. Larry Smith said. “There are people who want questions answered, and the taxpayers are pretty upset.”
Smith said this week he got “pressure” some elected officials who work in the City County Building to take the item off the commission’s agenda. He wouldn’t say where that pressure came from, but noted: “That’s not going to happen.”
Duncan paid the bonuses in 2010 and 2011. He sent a letter to the News Sentinel this week. In it, he said the 2010 incentive payments were made “under the assumption (that the employees) would be certified public administrators by the end of the fiscal year.”
“This proved to be impossible, as the program’s web courses were made unavailable for months due to UT computer system upgrades,” Duncan wrote. “The inability to complete the work was at no fault of the course participants, so a one-time payment was made to those who pursued the program with reasonable diligence.”
Duncan repeated the explanation in an interview Friday, but CTAS Executive Director Mike Garland said the website was disabled July through August — after the fiscal year ended.
Garland also said that to complete the program in 2011, officials needed to attend a three-day seminar, offered in April and May. No one in the Trustee’s Office attended it.

Leave a Reply