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

Alabama Parks Face An Uncertain Future, For Now All Parks Are Open To Enjoy

In the wake of the announcement to close five state parks and cut services and hours at other parks around the state, there have been many questions asked about the future of our state parks and what citizens can do to help. The best way to support the parks is to get out and visit them.  All of Alabama’s state parks are still open to guests and we hope citizens will get out ... (click for more)

Regulations As A Whole On Signal Mountain

A few years ago I was flying over Chattanooga on my way to Atlanta.  The sun had just come up and I enjoyed picking out Signal Mountain’s location, on Walden’s Ridge, in the morning light.  What was amazing was that I could not tell that a town existed under the tree canopy.  I hope that the same can be said 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.  During last ... (click for more)

2 Pedestrians Struck By CSX Train

Chattanooga Police responded on Thursday at 2 p.m. to 900 North Sanctuary Road  to an accident involving a CSX train and two pedestrians. Both victims were transported to a local hospital. Chattanooga Police are working with CSX police on the investigation.   Information will be updated as it becomes available. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with information ... (click for more)

Volkswagen US President Says Probe On To Find Out Who At VW Authorized "Defeat Devices"; VW Will Not Try To Certify 2016 Diesel Models

Volkswagen US President Michael Horn told a House committee on Wednesday that VW is conducting a thorough investigation to determine how "defeat devices" came to be placed on its emission devices. He said Volkswagen first admitted the massive deception in a meeting with EPA and California regulators on Sept. 3. Mr. Horn also said that Volkswagen will not try to certify 2016 ... (click for more)

Biro, Matthews Power Ooltewah To District 5-3A Volleyball Title

(Story has been updated with start time for Monday's Region 3-3A matches) CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Ooltewah grabbed the momentum. Unexpectedly lost it and then magically regained it at exactly the right time Wednesday in the District 5-3A volleyball tournament at Cleveland Middle School. Senior Alex Biro, named to the all-tournament team and most valuable player after the match, ... (click for more)

Vols Go Back To Basics In Hopes Of Slowing Bulldogs

  With Saturday's SEC showdown against Georgia now just three days away, Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones   and a select group of players spoke to the media early Wednesday afternoon: (Opening Statement) "To kind of give you an injury update on Wednesday, and a lot of this obviously will change by Saturday, but Stephen Griffin   did practice. ... (click for more)