Sheriff Vs. Sergeants - And Response

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Tuesday, the Tennessee State Supreme Court ruled against the hard working sergeants of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. The case was simple: can the sheriff give a new sergeant a higher salary than senior sergeants doing the same job? The question was about fairness.  

The Civil Service Board stated all sergeants, with good evaluations and doing the same job classifications, should be paid the same. Certainly, a new sergeant shouldn't be making more than senior sergeants who had been honorably serving. The State Supreme Court disagreed. 

As we all know, our court system isn't perfect and from time to time gets it wrong. With all due respect to the State Supreme Court this is one of those times.

I have three criteria for my decisions to meet. One, is the decision legal? If its not legal than everything stops immediately. Two, is it ethical? Everything that is legal is not always ethical. Integrity and ethics is what makes a persons reputation and legacy. One unethical decision, even if its legal, can ruin a persons legacy. Thirdly, is it fair? According to the State Supreme Court the sheriff has the legal authority to establish pay discrepancies. In this case a new sergeant was given a higher salary than senior sergeants that had good evaluations and were serving honorably. This may have been legal but was it fair? No

The Sheriff's Office morale is at a pitiful low. A wide disconnect exists from the top leadership to the brave deputies and their supervisors protecting our neighborhoods. Deputies and their supervisors do the hard job of putting criminals in jail and protecting our streets and schools. They deserve better than being sued by their own sheriff. The sheriff that saw no problem giving $16,000 in raises to each of his top four administers and his secretary. He had no problem telling some in the Sheriff's Office that nepotism rules prohibit hiring family members. Yet, he hired his son at $35 an hour to build and maintain a website. However, over four people worked in the Sheriff's Office IT Department and could've accomplished that task.

Fairness, something to think about in the coming months. 

Chris Harvey 

* * * 

Integrity, leadership and fairness are all qualities required to run any business and the Sheriff’s Office is no exception. 

The fact that there is disparity in pay with the sergeants is only scratching the surface of the problems causing low moral within the Sheriff’s Office. Overworked, underpaid and shorthanded in almost every division of the Sheriff’s Office has become a standard. 

The County Commission has reduced benefits for all Hamilton County employees including reduction of insurance benefits, pay raises and now is talking about eliminating the longevity pay. Now, we cannot blame the sheriff for these cuts, but where is the voice standing up for the employees? Why is it that instead of arguing that benefits are a key to keeping employees the sheriff was silent? Maybe the argument was raised behind closed doors, but the rank and file doubt it.  

Years ago it was always stated that while the pay may not be great the benefits are great. Not anymore, folks. Employees have left to go to better paying jobs with better benefits and that has become an ever increasing theme. 

It has become evident that it is more important to hire friends and family and those who have contributed to the “cause” than to take care of current employees. 

Several years back the current Sheriff John Cupp didn’t think that anyone could beat him in the election, but along came a fellow by the name of Billy Long who beat him. That is a bad memory for everyone, but it is clear that anyone can be beat in an election. 

I want to see the leadership, integrity and fairness returned to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and I don’t really care who does it. 

Mike Cox
Chattanooga


Shocked By Chief Robert Simpson's Replacement

After reading the article in today's TFP paper about the replacement of Chief Robert Simpson, I was shocked.  I  have had the privilege of knowing Chief Simpson for 25 years.  He is honest and a hard worker.  Reading the list of improvements made for the police department and the city's benefits from his hard work, I wonder what does the city want? We always ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Hit Dog Hollers

There is a country expression a fellow might use when he knows there will be a backlash and when it comes, “It’s a hit dog that hollers” the older men will say. Boy, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander didn’t let the sun shine on his hind leg before he wailed as the USDA’s new rules to curb the soring of Tennessee Walkers became public. Crafty ol’ Lamar, of course, said he was against ... (click for more)

Walker Charged With Sunday Night Murder Of Girlfriend In LaFayette

A 29-year-old Walker County man has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, also 29. Sheriff Steve Wilson said David Ryan Walker was charged in the slaying of Candace Ann Hankins. He said she was killed inside a house on Wheeler Road in LaFayette and her body was found in woods behind the house. The sheriff said Walker called relatives to express remorse about the killing. ... (click for more)

Man With Gun Runs From Police At Hamilton Place Mall; Pushes Shoppers Out Of The Way

A man who was found to be armed with a handgun was chased by police early Saturday afternoon. He pushed shoppers out of the way during the pursuit, which included racing down an escalator.   Erwin J. Rogers, 22, of 6111 Nottingham Dr., is facing multiple charges.    Around 1:50 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers working at the Hamilton Place Mall ... (click for more)

Warren Replaces Martinez As Vols Secondary Coach

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --  The Tennessee football program announced Monday that Charlton Warren  has agreed to terms to become the defensive backs coach for the Vols. Warren served as defensive backs coach at North Carolina the last two seasons and also has spent time on the Nebraska and Air Force coaching staffs. Willie Martinez  will not be returning after ... (click for more)

McCallie's Robert Riddle Commits to Mercer University

McCallie School all-state quarterback Robert Riddle has committed today to attend Mercer University next season to play football for the Bears. Riddle led the Big Blue to a 7-5 record this past season, including a 42-7 victory against arch rival Baylor. On the season, he threw for   3,008 yards and 25 touchdowns and also ran for six scores. The Lookout Mountain resident ... (click for more)