Farmer OK’d three raises in final days

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By Damon Lawrence

Former Roane County executive Mike Farmer allowed raises to be granted for three employees less than a week before he had to leave office in 2010.

Heather Stooksbury, who worked in purchasing, received a $3,200 raise.

Jacque Coleman, who also worked in purchasing, received a $1,000 raise.

“I have met with the county executive and he has authorized me to make the following adjustments in the purchasing budget with an effective date of Aug. 22, 2010,” purchasing agent Lynn Farnham said in an email to payroll clerk Linda Stooksbury.

“These are funds that were in the prior budget and covered under the continuing resolution.”

The email was sent on Aug. 25, 2010. Farmer’s last day in office was Aug. 31, 2010.

He had to leave because he was defeated in the election by Ron Woody.

Alva Moore, then director of accounts and budgets, sent Linda Stooksbury a letter on Aug. 25, 2010, authorizing a $3,000 increase for executive office employee Kathy Rogers.

Moore retired on Aug. 31, 2010.

“Their department supervisors presented the case to me that the employees listed below (Stooksbury, Coleman and Rogers) were underpaid for their respective jobs within the local market, and I approved the raises,” Farmer said Friday.

Woody took office on Sept. 1, 2010.

The raises didn’t go forward after he learned about them.

“They weren’t instituted because it was money he (Farmer) was spending as he was leaving office and it really wasn’t appropriate,” Woody said.

Farmer is running against Woody in this year’s race for county executive. Election Day is Aug. 7.

“To me, it was an unacceptable practice as someone leaves office to write everybody a check,” Woody said about the raises Farmer granted.