JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The Campbell County Commission had a long night on Monday, forced to begin their workshop a half hour late due to the budget & finance session going overtime. A large number of law enforcement officers, attorneys, judicial clerks and children’s advocates sat through the whole meeting until General Sessions/Juvenile Judge William Jones was able to make his pitch for county financial support for a full-time Youth Services Officer (YSO) for Campbell County.
Judge Jones has made the request before, but this time he brought a crowd to emphasize the importance of his request and the commissioners seemed more receptive to the idea.
Campbell County has only one part-time YSO, Jones pointed out, serving a county with the number of delinquent cases ranging from 235 to 307 a year over the past three years. The YSO has authority to review juvenile defendants and determine if a case can be addressed outside of the courtroom, such as a minor offense that allows for community service, attending special classes or receiving counseling.
This alternative approach to many delinquent cases can prevent a juvenile from suffering the trauma and embarrassment of going before a courtroom, Jones explained. He pointed out that neighboring Anderson County, with about double the number of delinquent cases, has three full-time YSOs at annual salaries of $42,000.
He also pointed to Campbell County’s other neighbors, Claiborne, Scott and Union, that all have a full-time officer handling fewer or slightly above the number in Campbell County. Jones asked the commission to include a full time position in the upcoming 2023-24 fiscal year budget and in the interim, to find enough “stop gap” money to finish out the current fiscal year.
“I don’t have the authority to dismiss a case once it is referred to court, but a YSO can help save some young people from that public trauma,” Jones pointed out. He suggested a fair salary would cost the county around $32,000 annually, while currently only $20,000 is budgeted for the part time position. Chairman Johnny Bruce stated that he will contact the Finance Department and see if enough money can be found to fund the position for the remainder of the current fiscal year if the commission votes to approve the request.
Another time-consuming item on the workshop agenda was not a decision but an update from Commissioner and now Sanitation Director David Adkins about the status of the Towe String transfer station and other convenience centers since he took over. The commission demoted Bill Rutherford from the Director’ position last month after repeated failures to get the overflow of refuse under control.
“When I started on day one, everyone out there was working, but they were mowing the lawn while the house burns down,” Adkins explained. He rattled off a long list of equipment, ranging from trucks to tractors to excavators that were out of commission. “Today all are repaired or in the shop being repaired,” Adkins added. He continued to outline some changes that have been made and answered several questions before the commissioners moved on to other business.
Sitting through the entire workshop before finally having a chance to speak, retiring Veteran’s Service Officer Kelvin Walden thanked the commission for their support of the Veterans Office and pointed out that his last day will be December 31, 2022. Walden explained that he is having health issues and must focus on medical treatments. He then asked commissioners to consider increasing the hours of part-time assistant Michelle Ayers, using some of the money that the county will save from his Director’s salary until a new Director is hired.
The earlier budget meeting that ran long involved an additional budget amendment to appropriate $9,931 to widen Valley Street in Jacksboro as part of the construction project for the new Sheriff’s Department building. The original bid from Rogers Group did not include widening that street running past and being affected by the new drive-through. The Town of Jacksboro is asked to match the county’s appropriation for a total cost of $19,862. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/14/2022-6AM)