Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Heidi Arlene White, a criminal investigator, was fired Tuesday after Madison County deputies arrested her on a charge of public intoxication early Sunday morning, reports the Jackson Sun. A passerby called the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, reporting a car off the road on U.S. 45 East near Medina in Madison County, and the passerby got the impression the car’s occupants were under the influence, said Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork.
The Sheriff’s Office responded to the call about 12:30 a.m.
White fell as she got out of the car, Woolfork said.
White was taken to Madison County Jail and later released on a $200 bond.
Kristin Helm, the TBI public information officer in Nashville, said White was a probationary employee who started with the TBI in January 2011 and she was fired after an internal investigation of the incident. The probationary period for new employees is two years.
Two decades and two opinions later, Knox County Public Defender Mark Stephens is firing his brother-in-law, reports the News Sentinel. “I’ve already notified (investigator) Mike (Stone) that, unfortunately, he’s got to go,” Stephens said Tuesday. “To be called in one day and told you can’t work here anymore after 20 years — in this job market?”
Stephens said he was forced to fire Stone, an investigator assigned to the Public Defender’s Office’s DUI division, after the state Attorney General’s Office opined in a June 7 decision that Stephens’ employment of his brother-in-law violated Tennessee’s Nepotism Act, which was passed in 1980 and bars family members from working in the same agency if one of them has a “direct of line supervision” over the other.
Stephens hired Stone two decades ago after garnering an opinion from Andy Hardin, who was then the executive director of the Tennessee Public Defender’s Conference, that it was OK so long as Stephens had no direct supervisory control over Stone.
Stephens said he wanted to hire Stone primarily because he, unlike Stephens and his staff of white attorneys, was black and generally more accepted in the inner city from which many of Stephens’ clients hailed.
MT. JULIET, Tenn. (AP) — Mt. Juliet officials have fired a city worker and accepted the resignations of four others accused of sending sexually explicit messages.
The Lebanon Democrat reported the five were found to have used city computers and cell phones to “sext” each other on city time.
Interim City Manager Kenneth Martin said on Thursday that had the four who resigned not done so, they would have been fired. Those involved included a police sergeant, the assistant public works director, a project manager, a tax clerk and a purchasing clerk.
Martin said people make mistakes, but those involved must be held accountable. Mayor Ed Hagerty earlier called the allegations “appalling and disgusting.” Hagerty said on Monday he would try to defund the workers’ positions because they demonstrated the jobs were unnecessary.
Newly appointed Knox County Finance Director Burton Webb was fired Friday after officials discovered the former developer had been indicted on a theft charge in Kentucky with a warrant issued for his arrest.
From the News Sentinel report: “I spoke with Burton and we discussed the issue and the fact that it was bigger than either one of us realized at the time he was hired, and he will no longer be employed by Knox County,” Mayor Tim Burchett said. “He remains a friend, and I hope he can work through these issues quickly.”
A grand jury in Washington County, Ky., indicted Webb in late February for theft by failure to make required disposition of property over $10,000. According to the indictment, Webb received the money in late November but didn’t use it for its intended purposes.
Burchett hired Webb on March 26 to replace John Troyer as finance director.
The mayor said Friday he didn’t know Webb was under indictment at the time in Kentucky.
Washington County resident and businessman Will Singleton said Friday he hired Webb last fall to build a $147,000 log cabin. He said he paid Webb between $22,000 and $26,000 to provide and install the home’s windows and doors. Webb, he said, never delivered and instead used the money to pay another construction crew for “tongue and groove” work.
Webb, of Athens, Tenn., owned Tennessee Log and Timber Homes before shutting it down early this year.
There were only two foulups in Davidson County voting on Super Tuesday, reports the City Paper, but one was bad enough to get a poll worker fired. (Voter Al) Wilkinson, a 45-year-old landscape architect, said he showed up on Election Day, March 6, at his assigned polling location, the Northside Church of Christ on Old Hickory Boulevard. He had forgotten his wallet, however, which contained his driver’s license.
“I was in a hurry,” Wilkinson said.
According to Wilkinson, the poll worker advised him to go to the Davidson County Election Commission office on Second Avenue the next day where he could show his ID and cast a ballot there.
But that wasn’t the correct protocol.
Under Tennessee’s new photo ID voting law, voters lacking a proper ID are to first vote provisional paper ballots. They then have two business days after the election to go to the election office to present a valid photo ID.
Failing to cast a provisional ballot, Wilkinson was unable to vote.
Albert Tieche, the county’s elections administrator, said he dismissed the poll worker the day after the election. “That officer doesn’t need to work again,” he said.
In a second voter ID incident, Tieche said a poll worker mistakenly had an elderly voter who lacked a photo ID vote on a machine instead of cast provisional paper ballot.
“He should have voted a paper provisional ballot, which would have been counted by the provisional ballot counting board,” Tieche said.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper fired for driving past a fatal wreck lost his first bid to save his job Tuesday, reports Matt Lakin. Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons turned down Trooper Charles Van Morgan’s appeal, calling Morgan’s behavior “a poor representation” of the agency.
“We have a responsibility to serve the state of Tennessee with professionalism, honesty and integrity, and we will not tolerate the actions of those who fail to do so,” Gibbons said.
Morgan had worked for nine years for the state Department of Safety and drew an annual salary of $49,344. He lost his job after internal investigators determined he slowed down but didn’t stop when he drove by the Nov. 26 wreck on Andersonville Pike in North Knox County that killed Gordon Kyle Anito, 20.
Morgan had been chasing Anito after clocking him driving nearly 80 mph in a 40 mph zone on Emory Road just before 3:30 a.m. Tests for drugs and alcohol on Anito aren’t complete.
Video from Morgan’s cruiser showed he slowed to nearly 20 mph as he passed Anito’s 2005 Subaru Impreza, which had run off the road and hit a tree head-on. He told dispatchers he’d lost the car, drove another half-mile down the road and sat parked for nearly five minutes before he returned to a car in flames.
After more than 28 years at the helm and five days away from the start of early voting, the Washington County Election Commission voted 3-2 to fire Administrator of Elections Connie Sinks, reports the Johnson City Press. “I had no warning,” Sinks said by telephone Friday.
Exactly one week ago, Sinks fired one staff member and demoted another for sending a handwritten cover letter to three commission members in November asking that they use accompanying materials for a meeting that may or may not have occurred. An employee found the letter in a box of documents that were about to be shredded.
At that meeting, Sinks informed commissioners of her actions and blasted Chairwoman Janet Willis, and commissioners Jon Ruetz and Thomas Graham for being the recipients, or intended recipients of the letter without her knowledge and for not providing public notice of a meeting.
All three commissioners denied receiving the letter, a copy of which clearly shows them as the intended recipients. They also denied there was ever a meeting.
When she showed up Friday morning for a continuation of last week’s meeting, the same three people voted to fire her after Willis stood and read aloud a prepared statement that asked for a vote on Sinks’ termination.
“I had a feeling they were working behind my back,” Sinks said. “I felt like there would be retribution. Basically, they felt I had humiliated the commissioners for saying they hadn’t put out a public notice. Janet told me to take my pocketbook and leave my office keys and that they’d see that I got my personal items back. I went to my office and was out of there in about five minutes.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by former Sumner County Administrator of Elections Darlean McDougal, reports the Tennessean. Investigators are looking into allegations that McDougal destroyed documents and took items from the election office, said TBI public information officer Kristin Helm.
Sumner County District Attorney Ray Whitley requested the investigation after members of the Sumner County Election Commission asked for the probe.
On Nov. 15, the election commission voted to replace McDougal, a 39-year employee. They appointed Lori Atchley, a Hendersonville Realtor and construction business owner, as the new election administrator. Atchley’s appointment became effective immediately after the vote and Election Commission Chairman Art McClellan directed McDougal to clean out personal items from her office.
Election commission members said that no one from the board accompanied McDougal to clear out her personal belongings.
Despite a room full of supporters and her nearly four decades of experience, members of the Sumner County Election Commission voted 3-2 on Tuesday to replace Darlean McDougal with Hendersonville Realtor and construction business owner Lori Atchley as administrator of elections, the Tennessean reports. Atchley is a 20-year resident of Sumner County and treasurer of the Sumner County Republican Party.
Atchley, who also serves on the Hendersonville Regional Planning Commission, told election commission members she would bring a fresh perspective to the county office.
“I am willing to learn and I know I will have to be trained, but I have always been available 24/7 and will continue to do so,” Atchley said. “(I will) provide a tight office and ensure that Sumner County will have an election office of utmost integrity.”
The vote to replace McDougal, who has worked in the Sumner County elections office for 39 years, was made by three Republican members voting to appoint Atchley and two Democratic members voting for McDougal.