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More pile in on EMA cuts

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By Damon Lawrence

Roane County Executive Ron Woody isn’t the only official in favor of salary reductions in the emergency management department.

Eight county commissioners are as well.

Their votes at Monday night’s special-called meeting were just enough to carry Woody’s recommendation that director
Howie Rose and assistant director Scott Stout have their salaries reduced by 9 percent.

Woody announced the reduction in pay on Sept. 1, which was the day he took office.

However, since then he was informed of a state law governing emergency management agencies.

The law states that the director’s annual salary shall be fixed by the governing body of the county.

Rose’s salary had been $49,316.

“You all may have never voted to fix the salary directly, but it was implied through the adoption of budgets,” Woody told commissioners. “It’s one of those things that’s been going on forever and ever, you may not even knew you had voted on it, just like I didn’t know that you all were the one that were supposed to vote on it.”

Commissioners Copper Bacon, Ron Berry, Benny East, Nick Forrester, Jerry Goddard, Steve Kelley, Stanley Moore and George Nelson voted in favor of the salary reductions.

Commissioners James Brummett, Ray Cantrell, Bobby Collier, Randy Ellis, Carolyn Granger, Chris Johnson and Fred Tedder voted against it.

Woody said the money saved with the salary reductions will allow the county to pay Jack Jinks to oversee emergency management on a part-time basis.

Tedder asked Woody if Jinks was smarter than Rose and Stout.

Woody said Jinks used to be a captain with the Knoxville Police Department, who now works part time with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

“We had to make a change in direction,” Woody said. “We were either going to redo the whole department and restructure it or try to salvage what we had. This allows us to try to salvage it.”