Image Credit: Hamilton County Mayor’s Office / Facebook, HamiltonCountyTN / YouTube
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
The battle rages between Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp and the Hamilton County Commission regarding the mayor’s attempt to fire County Attorney Rheubin Taylor and the Commission’s consideration of a civil service system for the county government.
On Monday, Mayor Wamp attempted to veto four of the County Commission’s resolutions:
• A resolution to protect the county attorney’s office
• A resolution to guarantee the continuation of all government contracts and operations
• A resolution that would establish a civil service system for employees of the county government
• A resolution that would establish a moratorium on the firing of any employees until the county has put a civil service system into effect
The Commission, however, overruled those vetoes on Wednesday.
After learning from attorney Dee Hobbs that the county government was already set up on a kind of civil service system, they opted to rescind the two resolutions related to that.
The Commission did not back down on their support of Taylor.
Commission Vice Chairman Joe Graham noted that he was under the impression that the county attorney was “half the county mayor’s and half ours.” He did raise the possibility of having Taylor work for the Commission while Wamp hired his own attorney.
Graham went on to say of Taylor, “He is an honorable man. I would trust him with my wife and my billfold.”
Taylor filed a lawsuit against Wamp in Chancery Court, stating that Wamp was trying to fire him even though Taylor has a four-year contract that was approved by the previous County Commission. Wamp says that the contract was no longer in effect.
Taylor also alleges in his lawsuit that Wamp authorized for his computer to be seized from the county attorney’s office. He states that there were a number of documents stored on the device that are subject to attorney-client privilege.
Finally, Taylor says that Wamp instructed that Taylor’s employee benefits, including health insurance benefits, be stopped as of October 31. Taylor states that this could be harmful to his family because his wife has a heart condition and requires health care.
Wamp continued to defend his decision, stating, “I would not have made the decision I did (to fire the county attorney) if I was not certain I would win in court.”
Chancellor Jeff Atherton has issued a temporary restraining order to keep Mr. Taylor in his position until the matter is resolved. Taylor is being represented by former Circuit Court Judge Neil Thomas III.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com