Tim Wheeler filed suit against Shanks, an elected official, last month after she dismissed him. Wheeler is seeking to get his old job back, and he argues he's a Knox County employee.
Wheeler has no right to proceed under the county's personnel ordinance to appeal his termination because he's not a county worker, Shanks states in a response filed Friday to his Circuit Court lawsuit.
"It is averred that (Wheeler) was an employee of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court-Divisions I, II, and III, the General Sessions Court, Civil Division and the Juvenile Court for Knox County, Tenn.," Shanks' response states.
As a county employee, Wheeler would have the right to appeal termination under the county's personnel ordinance.
Shanks fired Wheeler on Friday, April 24, as he prepared to go on vacation.
She sent him a text two days before that said: "Go ahead and take off until your cruise. We've got it covered and OBVIOUSLY you need the rest."
He had worked under her since December 2001. His termination notice lists "office reorganization" as the reason he was let go.
Wheeler earned almost $82,000 annually.