County moves forward to hire financial director

By Julie Fann

Star staff

The Carter County Commission yesterday voted to adopt the County Financial Management Act of 1981 as a guideline for developing the new position of financial director. Members of an investigative committee reported positive results from their visit to McMinn and Monroe counties. Both counties adopted the 1981 act and have found it beneficial.
   Until now, County Executive Truman Clark has performed the role of both administrator and financial director, making his job considerably difficult. Now that his retirement is approaching, the commission believes it would be best to separate the two positions.
   "It sure would have made my job a lot easier," Clark said as he considered what his job would have been like if a financial director had worked beside him.
   At its last meeting, the commission considered using either the 1957 Financial Management Act or the 1981 Act. Although both Acts share many similarities, the 1981 Act includes the County Superintendent of Schools and the County Road Supervisor as separate key advisors to the financial director. According to commission members, this approach makes the system run smoother.
   The real key though, they say, is to hire a financial director who is knowledgeable. The salary for a county financial director would start from $30,000-$50,000 a year. The next step in the hiring process is to develop a committee of seven members to create policies surrounding the position, and a job description. The County School Superintendent and the County Executive will be two members on the committee. Before its June meeting, the commission will choose four other members.
   Commissioners struggled over a request to join the city in possibly tearing down what was once Carter County Memorial Hospital, full of asbestos and an environmental hazard. Wayne Graybeal, current owner of the building, owes approximately $400,000 in unpaid property taxes. As a result, the structure will be sold in a tax sale this summer, and, if not bought, returned to the city. County Commissioners are concerned about costs to the county for a joint project, and agreed to study the problem more and discuss it again in May.
   The decision was also made to sell 7.9 acres of lndustrial Park land to an unnamed industry at $5,600 an acre. The industry plans to build a 30,000 square foot building it says will eventually house 100-plus employees.
   Commissioners decided there was no need to approve the addition of a hiking and biking trail along Hwy. 91 since it has already been adopted by the state at the request of Rep. Ralph Cole. The state agreed to add the trail when it approved construction of the Northern Connector, a five-lane highway that will expand Hwy. 91.
   The Carter County Commission also donated $5,000 toward the construction of the Veteran's War Memorial, which will be built to honor those soldiers who died in all wars since WWI, and approved the re-zoning of 340 acres of property, presented by Planning Commissioner Chris Schuettler.