Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Addressing some of the county rumors

The Deathstar is a disturbingly good incubator for rumors, and most come from the county's side.

I suppose, though, they're easy to start when all you have to do is log into the computer in your mama's basement and start clicking.

So let's address a few:

A lot of people immediately assumed that Bud Armstrong was going to make a ton of changes to the law director's office when he took over in September. The hysteria reached a high point in April when he asked then-director Joe Jarrettto hire David Buuck to serve as chief deputy law director. (Jarret, who has always been a straight shooter, by the way had nothing but nice things to say about Buuck.)

Throughout the campaign, though, Bud made it clear that he wasn't planning any major personnel changes. Yet, people still perpetuate the rumor that he has hired Knox County Republican Chairman Ray Jenkins and Phyllis Severance, the GOP party's vice chair who has worked as a volunteer or staff member in many Republican campaigns, including Gov. Bill Haslam's two years ago.

Jenkins has said a number of times that he doesn't plan on working in the office. And Severance has told the Sentinel's Georgiana Vines pretty much the same thing. Further, Buuck has said there are no major changes scheduled. (Oh yeah, and there's no records in the human resource department that reflect any new hires.)

Next: a bunch of county department heads received raises, and so, too, did a number of top ranking folks in the Sheriff's Office. This one gets a big fat zero next to it. County department heads aren't getting raises. Finance Director Chris Caldwell obviously got a boost, but that's because he was promoted. Kind of makes sense. (If you want to call that a "raise," then fine. Whatever.)

Regarding the Sheriff's Office: Ashley Haynes, the department's grant manager, resigned in late June to go raise her newborn. She made $61,600 at the time. Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones opted not to fill her position. Instead, he gave her duties to Allison Rogers, his finance director. He also gave Rogers about an $11,000 increase and changed her job title. Jones said the rest of the money was divvied up among other employees with most of going to a number of secretaries who were making less than $26,000.

The Man with the Badge says the increases are within his budget, and, quite frankly, I don't think he really cares what you think about the increases. (Over the years, he's also eliminated a number of top ranking jobs and created deputy positions with the left over money.)

On a side note, Rogers now makes $106,200. Compare that to Caldwell's $120,900 or Jim York over at the city who makes about $120,300.

Soooo, let's get to the Trustee's Office, which could make for a blog entry all its own. (I'm sure some knucklehead will say I'm burying it down here in the blog. Whatever.)

For months now, folks have been chirping about whether a few of the top ranking tax collectors would resign, get indicted or take a job in Washington D.C. (I'm not kidding on that last one.) And, man, it got crazy in the last month of August. People were swearing it would happen on a Monday. Then a Tuesday. No, a Thursday. Wait, it's gonna be on Friday.

In the meantime, John Duncan III is hanging out in Tampa at the Republican National Convention, with no plans whatsoever to come back to town that weekend just to turn in his walking papers.

The rumor pool then turned toward Oct. 1. But, as the rogue noted "October 1 came and left."

By the way, I've talked to a lot of the major parties involved and there's no deal in place for him to leave. At least right now. And there may never be. Just because there's an investigation doesn't mean anything will happen.

As far as the rest of Duncan's office goes, there's been some other names that folks have tagged with his. Not really worth mentioning. The names change with each new tale.

There also was the rumor that if Duncan left, then his right-hand-guy Josh Burnett would take over and clean house. Josh also apparently had a "hit list" and was ready to act. Yeah, that's not true, either, although they did let one person go. Hardly a hit list.

In the meantime, others have speculated on a number of names who would replace Duncan if he left. A lot of people are drooling over the salary, prestige, the whatever.

Most of those rumors are actually true.


Ray H Jenkins said...

I appreciate the attempt at rumor control. Unfortunately, people with no brains or conscience will continue to create controversy where none exists.


Brian Paone said...

Of course they will, Ray. Otherwise we won't have the institution of politics and you wouldn't have a job.

So you're grateful, then, for the rumor mill running amok, yes?