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Woody tackles first meeting

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By Damon Lawrence

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District 2 Commissioner Randy Ellis said that’s how much money his employer — Ed Financial Services — handles in student loans.

“I’m highly qualified,” Ellis said, about serving on the Roane County Budget Committee.

Ellis, a debt management supervisor with Ed Financial, will get the chance because he was one of four commissioners appointed to serve on the budget committee.

Other commissioners joining him on the committee are Bobby Collier, Jerry Goddard and Ron Berry.

Ellis and Goddard will be new to the budget committee.

New County Executive Ron Woody recommended those four at Monday’s commission meeting. They were approved unanimously.  

James Brummett was the unanimous choice for chairman of the commission. Chris Johnson was the unanimous choice for chairman pro tempore.

“I was flattered, and I’m glad to do it,” Brummett said.

The budget committee is powerful in that it charts the financial course for the county.   

District 2 will have two representatives in Ellis and Goddard.

“I’d have to say that’s an asset for District 2,” Ellis said.

Woody spoke about several topics during his address to the county commission.

He said he would like to have the county’s budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year approved during a special-called meeting on Oct. 4.

The county still doesn’t have a certified tax rate, he said.

A week before he took office, Woody said there was some raises granted for employees in the purchasing and accounting departments.

Woody said he cut those.

“I had to be the bad guy and pass out checks without those raises granted,” he said. “ ... I was kind of disappointed raises were granted that I had to axe, but they were granted the last week of August.” Woody replaced Mike Farmer, whose last day was Aug. 31.

Roane County is still without a budget director. The former director, Alva Moore, retired before Woody took office.

“Hopefully we’ll have that position filled by Oct. 1,” Woody said.

In other pressing matters, Woody said the ambulance department has financial problems that could soon become dire.

“We have some issues we have got to address there, because if we’re losing $100,000 a month, obviously it doesn’t take long and we’re out of business there,” he said.  

Berry asked if the problems could be fixed by next month.

“I’m not sure,” Woody responded. “We’re working to that end. I really think if we cannot get something solved by the end of October, we’re going to have to look at some serious restructuring.”