Some County Commissioners Balk At Sheriff Hammond Getting $20,000 Raise For Taking Over Workhouse; Jail Closing Downtown In December

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Some County Commission members are balking at a request from Sheriff Jim Hammond for a pay increase of over $20,000 for taking over supervision of the old workhouse facility at Silverdale.

The commission is to vote next Wednesday on a resolution raising his pay from $143,335 to $163,930, along with associated benefits of FICA and TCRS (state retirement).

Sheriff Hammond said in a Zoom meeting with commissioners on Wednesday that he is now spending most of his time dealing with the added duties caused by CoreCivic exiting in December.

The sheriff also announced that the jail that has been downtown since the early days of the county will be closed in December and all prisoners shifted to Silverdale. He said it was found that 70 percent of CoreCivic employees do not qualify to work for the Sheriff's Office, and he said sheriff employees need to be moved from the jail on Walnut Street to Silverdale.

Grand juries have long complained about problems at the current jail that opened in 1976, while calling for it to be closed.

Sheriff Hammond said after CoreCivic said in July that it was preparing to leave, he named a transition team to work on the takeover.

He said he discovered "a myriad of problems out there."

One of those was fire safety issues brought to the commission in one resolution on Wednesday.

Sheriff Hammond said of the takeover, "We have dealt with a lot of obstacles and there are a lot of obstacles to go."

He noted that closing the downtown jail and the move of the whole operation to Silverdale is requiring coordination with the courts as well as the clerk offices.

One of the tasks is setting up a new booking center at Silverdale in the former Fox Trot sector.

Sheriff Hammond said of the raise, "I feel very strongly that this is something the commission ought to have my back on."

Coty Wamp, special counsel to the sheriff, argued for the raise, saying that Knox County and Davidson County gave their sheriffs higher pay for workhouse takeovers.

She said Sheriff Hammond currently makes the mandatory minimum set out by the Legislature.

Commissioner Warren Mackey spoke in favor, saying, "Why is it that we always want to go to the minimum pay?" 

Commissioner Tim Boyd said he did not agree with the argument that Hamilton County ought to follow the pattern of other of the Big 4 counties. He said, "They should be following the conservative lead of Hamilton County."

He noted that Sheriff Hammond was among constitutional officers who in July got a 3.5 increase from the state at a time when county employees got no increase due to COVID effects on the budget.

Commissioner Greg Martin said "the timing is bad" on the request, noting budget stresses due to the virus. 

Commissioner Katherlyn Geter said, "This gives me pause as to why you would bring this to us at a time like this." She said the county was already having trouble keeping lower-paid workers due to pay issues.

Sheriff Hammond said he is still weak from a recent bout with COVID in which he spent some time in the hospital. But he said he is "feeling stronger every day."

He said his wife Jeanie also got COVID and is in the hospital, but hopes to be released soon.

Sheriff Hammond is not planning to run for re-election in the 2022 races.

 

 

 

 


PHOTOS: 2020 EPB Holiday Windows

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Grand Jury No Bills And True Bills


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BALLARD, ANTHONY MONTREL 186 BLEDSOE TER CHATTANOOGA, 37405 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DISORDERLY CONDUCT ... (click for more)

Here are the No Bills and True Bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury: No Bills: 1 BENN, NATHANIEL OSAZE EVADING ARREST 11/11/2020 1 BOYD, JAMIUS MAURQUIS POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA ... (click for more)



Breaking News

PHOTOS: 2020 EPB Holiday Windows

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BALLARD, ANTHONY MONTREL 186 BLEDSOE TER CHATTANOOGA, 37405 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DISORDERLY CONDUCT --- BROBECK, ADAM JACKSON 1957 HARDWOOD LN SODDY DAISY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF PROBATION (THEFT OVER 10000) --- ... (click for more)

Opinion

County Employees Need A Bonus Too

A few weeks ago we learned that Sheriff Jim Hammond was asking for a second raise. Earlier this year Hamilton County employees were notified that "due to COVID-19" there would be no raises for employees of any kind this year. I guess Mr. Hammond didnt get that memo about no raises. Why is it that some employees will be getting a raise and others are not? That doesn't really ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful

For the life of me, I can’t remember when it started but back in the ‘70s, I began devoting my sports column on Thanksgiving Day to off-the-wall stuff of which I was truly and genuinely thankful. Back then I would go to from “76 reasons”, then “77 Reasons”, and then “78 reasons” with every new year. We climbed through 80’s, and the 90’s and it became a tradition. By then it had ... (click for more)

Sports

Dennis Norwood: Thankful For The Memories

Here it is Thanksgiving 2020 and time to reflect on those things for which I am most thankful. With the year we’ve had it has sometimes been tough to even think about giving thanks, but on reflection I believe we will all find people and events we should thank the Lord above for bringing our way. One thing I am grateful for this year are good memories that make me laugh. One ... (click for more)

Cakewalk: UTC Rolls By Lander In Season Opener

The big news from downtown Chattanooga Wednesday afternoon came from McKenzie Arena where a college basketball game was actually played. Yes, it was the season and home opener for the Chattanooga Mocs as they rolled past the Lander Bearcats by a 99-63 final. Bellarmine had been Chattanooga’s original season-opening opponent, but had to cancel because of Covid-19 issues. The ... (click for more)