Sheriff Tim Guider had a surprise waiting when he walked Monday evening into the Loudon County Courthouse Annex for the Loudon County Commission meeting.
State Reps. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, and Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, had a proclamation honoring Guider’s three decades of service as sheriff.
With tears in his eyes, Guider thanked those in attendance, including family, friends and coworkers.
“I can’t thank y’all enough,” Guider said. “I’ve been blessed, very blessed with my family, my staff, citizens of Loudon County, especially to be blessed to have the support of the whole county for many years. Loudon County’s been good to me, been very good to me. Thank you.”
Guider in September announced he would not seek reelection once his term ends in 2022.
Keeping the brief ceremony a surprise was a challenge, Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw, county mayor, said.
“We intended to do it the night we did Dr. Bud’s (Guider) proclamation. We were going to do both at the same time,” Bradshaw said. “Chief Deputy (Jimmy) Davis and, of course, Rep. Russell and Rep. Calfee and Lt. Gov. (Randy) McNally had some hand in it, too, but Chief Davis was really instrumental in helping to get it together. We kept it a good secret and I’m amazed it still kept a secret this long. It was interesting. Long time coming. This was a man that’s given 30 years of his life, and I was a member of that team some 30 years ago, which tells my age, too.”
Bradshaw said he considered Monday a possible “kickoff event” for Guider.
“Just the 30 years being the milestone and over the next two years the county intends to honor him multiple times,” Bradshaw said. “We’ve got several events down the road that are going to come up. He knows about some but not all, and so we’re excited to honor a great man who’s served Loudon County well.”
Guider and Bradshaw were also presented with a Colonel Aide de Camp, which is given to Tennessee residents for “outstanding achievement.”
“Just to see everything that’s went on over the last little bit, with all the COVID and courthouse, new jail and everything else, to be on that radar to me is certainly a very high honor,” Bradshaw said. “Actually, it’s a big deal for me as well because my dad was actually a colonel under the Winfield Dunn governor regime.”
After discussion and a couple of amendments, commissioners voted 9-1 to implement a COVID leave policy for employees. Commissioner Bill Satterfield opposed.
The decision comes after the Families First Coronavirus Response Act expired Dec. 31.
“First of all I think it shows good faith on the part of the county government that we’re going to take care of these folks. Secondly, I don’t think six months is long enough,” Satterfield said.
Satterfield and Commissioner Gary Whitfield also motioned and seconded, respectively, for employees to be covered during their five-day quarantine. That vote passed 10-0.
“If an employee is exposed, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) regulations require that they wait five days before they can get a COVID test,” Whitfield said. “Once they receive that COVID test and if they test negative, they can go back to work. If they test positive, the policy would have kicked in anyway. I just want them covered for that five days.”
According to the policy, employees are granted a maximum of up to two weeks of COVID leave.
Whitfield said employee paychecks were a driving force in his decision.
“It was important to have that in place for employees that can’t afford to miss that extra five days of paycheck,” Whitfield said. “That could be the difference in buying your groceries or paying your utility bill nowadays. My thoughts were that employees would come on to work and expose a whole lot more employees here instead of risking the financial responsibilities he had at home.”
In other news, Loudon County Commission:
• Passed a resolution opposing out-of-county COVID regulations. Commissioners signed the resolution to send to Knox County Board of Health, Knox County Commission, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, state Reps. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, and Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and Gov. Bill Lee.
• Renewed Bill Hart and Mike Waller to the construction board of adjustment and appeals.
• Passed a proclamation honoring Feb. 7-14 as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.
• Passed a resolution honoring the late Ronnie Roberts.
• Accepted John Watkins’ retirement from the Loudon County Solid Waste Disposal Commission and added Terry Small.
• Authorized amendments to County General Fund 101, Public Libraries Fund 115, General Purpose School Fund 141, School Federal Projects Fund 142 and General Capital Projects Fund 172.
• Approved application and acceptance of the no-match Emergency Management Performance Grant for homeland security.