Promised Pay Cut Doesn’t Make Commission Agenda

Members of the Loudon County Tea Party are calling on Loudon County Commission to make good on a promise to discuss cutting their pay in half, reports the News Sentinel.
The issue should have been on Monday’s commission budget workshop agenda, according to Wayne Schnell, a leader of the Cross-County Tea Party group.
“We are concerned that this issue is being swept under the carpet and will not be addressed,” he said.
When the commission’s budget committee recommended in May that commissioners take a pay cut to help balance the 2012-13 budget, most commissioners seemed to agree it was a good idea.
The committee proposed that yearly pay for commissioners be cut from $8,000 to $4,000.
“I thought that it was appropriate because we were asking other departments to make sacrifices,” said Commissioner Sharon Yarborough.
At the June commission meeting, Commissioner Don Miller provided data showing that Loudon commissioners are the fifth highest paid among Tennessee counties.
When it came time to vote on the budget amendments, however, the pay cut wasn’t included.
After a lengthy discussion, the commission voted to table the issue until the next budget committee meeting.
Schnell said he expected to see the item on Monday’s workshop agenda.
“Was this issue settled behind closed doors?” he said.
After Monday’s meeting, Yarborough said she had asked for the pay cut proposal to be put on the agenda. She later learned that other commissioners, as yet unidentified, asked that the issue not be on the agenda, she said.
Among their concerns was the fact that not all commissioners would be at the workshop. Commissioners Bob Franke and Austin Shaver were absent.
If some commissioners decided privately to remove the item from the agenda it would in effect be deliberating on the issue and a violation of the state’s open meetings act, according to Loudon County activist Pat Hunter.
“Agreeing in private not to discuss an issue is like voting against,” she said.

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