Loudon County Commission will decide next week if a salary supplement is needed for road superintendent and sheriff.
The move comes after commission rescinded a supplement of $4,915 in the sheriff’s and road superintendent’s salaries in the current fiscal year budget. State law requires the county mayor to make an additional 5% more than the second-highest fee office holder.
“The last seven years it’s been in discussion since I’ve been in office the highway superintendent and the sheriff’s salaries have been equal,” Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw, county mayor, said. “Of course, by state law I’m required to have a 5% higher (salary) than the next constitutional officer. It’s been discussed in the past, I know the last seven years anyway, of one of the reasons the sheriff was a supervisor of the workhouse. That came with a stipend, and then road superintendent as road inspector so that came with that so that kind of balanced things out. This year the workhouse was removed from the sheriff’s salary as well as the road inspector from the highway department.”
Commission nixed the jail workhouse designation in October. Commissioner Van Shaver shared with commissioners at a September workshop that a resolution was passed by commission Feb. 5, 1979.
Loudon County budget committee members agreed Aug. 16 to send it to full commission for review.
Loudon County Road Superintendent Eddie Simpson, who’s received the additional payment for 12 years, wasn’t aware of the supplement removal until mid-August.
According to a county resolution signed by former county commission chairman Roy Bledsoe, the county road superintendent also served as a county road inspector “for the purpose of reviewing, inspecting and recommending the acceptance of new roads into the county public road system and to monitor the construction of new roads proposed for acceptance by the county to ensure compliance with regulations as outlined in the Loudon County Subdivision Manual.”
“Their theory in taking that $5,000 off this year is because the salary increased because of the census,” Simpson said. “Our salaries all increased, everybody’s salary, because it went from 49,000 to 55,000 people in the county, so everybody’s salary changed according to state rules by $9,000.”
Simpson said the removal is more about the principle than money.
“I thought that was kind of dirty that they would do that, and I’m looking for the future, it’s got nothing to do with my wage,” Simpson said. “I’m serious when I say that. The $5,000 don’t do anything for me. It was just the principle of the whole thing. And it’s the future folks, the person who’s going to be taking my job, whoever that might be when I leave here, that his salary will be less than my salary was for 12 years, that was the only reason that. I just think or the people coming up behind us they need to remain and not be below.”
Simpson and Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider are retiring after their term expires Aug. 31, 2022.
“I guess it was the principle because I didn’t know about that. Nobody shared that with me prior to (the vote),” Guider said. “I didn’t know about that resolution until (Aug. 16). I would have been fine if, ‘Hey, sheriff, this is what we’re doing.’ But that never was done. ... The mayor is in a predicament, too, because he doesn’t want to seem like he’s (asking) because it affects his salary. So they talked about it a little at the budget meeting and said, ‘Well, we might be able to do it,’ because it does affect our retirement money, mine and Eddie’s. They call it the ‘High-5,’ your last five years is what they base your retirement on. Now I don’t know what that is, how much that would affect my final retirement, and I told them there at the end of the budget meeting, I said, ‘I’m good. Whatever you all decide, I’m good. It doesn’t matter’.”
If commission approves the changes, Loudon County Budget Director Tracy Blair said the three positions could impact the budget by $17,000-$18,000.
Commission will meet Tuesday at the Loudon County Courthouse Annex.