JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Five new county commissioners had their first taste of the next four years on Tuesday night at a special called meeting. Watch the full meeting HERE on demand from WLAF.
The subject of the meeting was the much-criticized Environmental Services Department, which is still struggling with mounds of piled up garbage, machinery breakdowns and personnel shortages. Sanitation Director Bill Rutherford asked to address the commission before it began asking questions.
Rutherford praised his staff for their hard work, pointed out that his department is still waiting on a third compactor to help catch up on the backlog of garbage and for necessary repairs to be made on a front end loader that was damaged in a fire, Rutherford adding that the fire may have been “intentionally set.”
He hopes to have the overflowing garbage cleared up within two weeks as necessary equipment is available and pointed out that the department is short-staffed, due in part to low wages.
Over half of the commissioners took turns asking questions and airing complaints, but not before a new Sanitation Committee was selected. Newcomers David Adkins and Dewayne Kitts joined Charles Baird, Michael Douglas and Dewayne Baird to form the new committee, which was unanimously approved by the full commission.
The commission also voted unanimously to reinstall Johnny Bruce as commission chairman, while electing Rusty Orick as vice chair. Scott Kitts offered a motion to name new Mayor Jack Lynch as vice chairman, but Lynch declined before Michal Douglas nominated Orick.
Michael Douglas asked about the possibility of making more runs from Towe String to the Scott County landfill, but Rutherford explained that the two trucks are limited to two loads daily, due primarily to a shortage of drivers. He added that finding additional drivers is hampered by low pay while the department’s overtime budget is nearly exhausted.
Orick emphasized that Rutherford answers to the commission, not his employees, while Sue Nance asked why Rutherford had not yet found someone to serve as assistant director. “I was told not to hire an assistant director until after the election,” Rutherford said.
Finally, Orick suggested some changes in the chain of command. Kitts tried to end the debate but his motion was voted down, 14-1. Orick then proposed a three-person committee to supervise Rutherford, consisting of Mayor Jack Lynch, Commission chairman Johnny Bruce and whoever the new sanitation committee selects as committee chair.
Zachary Marlow objected, explaining a point of order and making a motion to table Orick’s motion. Several commissioners said they could not hear Marlow’s explanation. Marlow repeated his motion to table, with Kitts seconding the motion. Marlow and Kitts, however, found no support and the motion to table failed 13-2.
After Bruce called for a vote on Orick’s motion, Orick announced that he would rescind the motion and hold it until next week’s commission workshop. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 09/08/2022-6AM)