Local News Articles

City Grants Certificate of Compliance for Second Liquor Store

July 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen
James E. Bradshaw
Fire Chief Charlie Parker (left) promotes Firefighter Kevin Adcock (center) to Lieutenant. Pictured with Mayor Jimmy Poss

The city's second applicant for a license to open a retail liquor store in Smithville has passed his first test.

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Thursday night voted to issue James E. Bradshaw of Potts Camp Road, Smithville a certificate of compliance, which signifies that he has met all the city's ordinance requirements to make application to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the agency which has the sole authority to grant a liquor license.

The vote was four in favor. Alderman Shawn Jacobs passed.

Bradshaw plans to open a liquor store 725 South Congress Boulevard at the location of the former Mexican Restaurant in the Food Lion shopping center under the name "Center Hill Wine and Spirits, LLC". James E. Pendergrass of Jefferson Road is to serve as the manager of the business. Bradshaw is a former owner/manager of Pates Ford Marina.

According to City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson, the proposed location for the liquor store meets the minimum distance requirement from the nearest place of public gathering. "Mr. Phillip Gotro (Gotro Surveying Services) conducted a survey on July 7 showing 588.9 feet from the front door of the proposed business to the closest door of the DeKalb County Community Complex so it exceeds the 400 foot (requirement)," he said.

Regulations under the city's liquor ordinance also require the applicant (Bradshaw) to be subject to a criminal background check."We did a TBI background check on Mr. Bradshaw. Northing came back as far as the background check," said Hendrixson.

"As far as the city ordinances, he (Bradshaw) meets all of them. He meets the 1,500 minimum square foot requirement. The building is 2,200 square feet. He has been a resident of DeKalb County for more than two years. He is going to keep a minimum inventory of $175,000, more than the city minimum requirement of $150,000," said Hendrixson.

Bradshaw must now send his approved Certificate of Compliance to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission as part of the state requirements in qualifying for a liquor license.

Meanwhile, the city's first liquor store applicant has apparently been approved for a license by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

During a meeting on June 23 in Nashville, the TABC staff recommended conditional approval for applicant Jimmy Edward Smith, sole proprietor of Smithville Discount Wine & Spirits at 413 East Broad Street, Smithville, subject to a TABC Inspection, Acknowledgement of TABC Rules/Regulations, and a License Fee.

In other business Thursday night, the aldermen approved Fire Chief Charlie Parker's promotion of firefighter Kevin Adcock to the rank of Lieutenant. "I am proud to announce that on June 29 I promoted Kevin Adcock to the officer's position of Lieutenant of the fire department. Lieutenant Adcock met all the requirements set forth by our department. We have changed this year to doing a performance based officer's position. He has met the requirements so pursuant to city rules we need to get approval from the board. I am recommending to the board to approve Lieutenant Adcock to this officer's position," said Chief Parker.

The aldermen also approved the mayor's reappointment of Walter Burton to the Smithville Electric System Board to another four year term expiring in 2019.

It appears the mayor and aldermen will not provide space at city hall for judicial commissioners to write warrants, except for those sought by the Smithville Police Department.

During the regular monthly meeting of the county commission in June, County Mayor Tim Stribling announced that Sheriff Patrick Ray has given notice that he will no longer provide office space or supplies and equipment for the judicial commissioners at the jail as of July 31.

While the county is considering other location options, Fifth district commissioner Anita Puckett made a motion that a letter be sent to the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen asking for them to provide space at city hall for use by judicial commissioners including the supplies and copier they need. The reason for making the request of the city is because the county funds all salaries of judicial commissioners who write warrants for the public and all law enforcement agencies including the Smithville Police Department. The motion was approved on an 11-0-1 vote. Seventh district member Kevin Robinson, who is employed by the city, passed.

Although the issue was not on the agenda for Thursday night's regular monthly meeting of the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen, it was brought up by Alderman Josh Miller. "I didn't know if we have the room (for the judicial commissioners)," said Miller.

"We've got the room for our officers and our warrant writers," answered Mayor Jimmy Poss.

""Our facilities are used for city matters," said City Administrator Hendrixson.

"We've got ours covered here. We want our warrants wrote back here (city hall). We've got a confined place and we take care of city business," said Mayor Poss.

No motion was offered or vote taken on granting or denying the county's request.

State Tourism Commissioner Visits Smithville

July 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Jack Barton, County Commissioner and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree & Crafts Festival; Lee Curtis, Director of Program Development and Legislative Liaison; Ruth Dyal, Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Tourism Association; Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Commissioner Kevin Triplett of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; County Mayor Tim Stribling; State Senator Mae Beavers; State Representative Mark Pody; and Rob Sherrill,

After only ten weeks on the job, Tennessee's new Tourism Commissioner is traveling across the state on a listening tour learning how the department can better serve communities.

Commissioner Kevin Triplett was in Smithville Wednesday afternoon to meet with local government, business, and community leaders at the county complex.

"It's exciting. It's an honor to be in this role. It's been about ten weeks and I've been on the road around the state more than I have been in Nashville but I'm okay with that because we have a tremendous amount of assets here in the State of Tennessee and you get more excited when you see them first hand. The fun thing about it is educating other people and promoting what we have here. It is like mining for gold. We have gold all over the state when it comes to tourism. It's just a matter of exposing people to that," he said.

"Tourism is the second biggest industry in the State of Tennessee at $17 billion a year and it goes hand in hand with economic development. It is a great time in the State of Tennessee. More than two thirds of our counties were up last year in tourism dollars. Our top counties all broke records. It is a phenomenal time. Visitors are coming from all over," said Commissioner Triplett.

To better serve tourists, steps are being taken to upgrade technology at the state's welcome centers. "We've spent a lot of time in my ten weeks doing research on who are our visitors? Where are they coming from? The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development runs the welcome centers around the state. TDOT maintains the outside and we manage the inside. And to a large extent, the very first persons that many of these visitors ever talk to in the State of Tennessee are our workers in the welcome centers. We average between 12 and 13 million people a year coming through those welcome centers and it may be closer to 15 million (considering multiplying factors). But it wasn't until three weeks ago that we were collecting information on those visitors. We now have Wi-Fi at all our welcome centers. We're capturing information from our guests. We have surveys. We're asking them who they are, where they are coming from, where they are going, if we can contact them later, and did they enjoy their trip here?. Not only do we want them to come to Tennessee but we want them to come back and if there is anything that makes them answer the question we don't think we'll come back, we want to know why. We want to fix that," said Commissioner Triplett.

"We're doing things strategically with our website, Facebook, instagram and all these other social media channels now. The technology is so broad. Who are our users? What are they looking for? And what do they want during their time in Tennessee? Two things we try to do in the department is get people to Tennessee and inspire them to enjoy their time here," he said.

"We are a service department. We want to serve you (communities). You are our customers, our partners. You are the people on the ground. The people at our welcome centers are our front lines. When people come to the welcome centers they (employees) are the front line of Tennessee for information and perception is given or taken from those visits to the welcome centers. It's the same thing with our partners out in the field. It's you who are out there dealing with the customers and visitors. Our guests. We want to know how we can serve you," said Commissioner Triplett.

Triplett, 49, is the former vice president of public affairs for Bristol Motor Speedway. Prior to joining BMS in 2005, he worked in various roles for NASCAR, ultimately serving as managing director of business operations, guiding the operation and administration of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series. He has twice been named one of NASCAR’s “25 Most Influential” by The Charlotte Observer.

From 1992 until 1994, Triplett represented General Motors Parts (GM Goodwrench and AC Delco) in NASCAR, specifically Richard Childress Racing and Ken Schrader Racing and their drivers, including Dale Earnhardt. Prior to his NASCAR tenure, he covered sports for the Bristol Herald Courier and The Gaston Gazette in North Carolina.

He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University and has served on the boards of a number of community organizations including Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rotary Club of Bristol, ETSU at Bristol Advisory Council, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Also a farmer, Triplett is a member of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association.

Triplett and his wife, Jill, live in Bristol with their two children, Lucas and Sarah Grace.

(PICTURED ABOVE: Jack Barton, County Commissioner and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree & Crafts Festival; Lee Curtis, Director of Program Development and Legislative Liaison; Ruth Dyal, Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Tourism Association; Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Commissioner Kevin Triplett of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; County Mayor Tim Stribling; State Senator Mae Beavers; State Representative Mark Pody; and Rob Sherrill, Special Projects Manager of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.)

Union Vote Scheduled at Star Manufacturing

July 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Union Vote Scheduled at Star Manufacturing

According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) website, a union vote is set for later this month at Star Manufacturing.

(Click link below)


The NLRB web site showed that UNITED STEEL, PAPER AND FORESTRY, RUBBER, MANUFACTURING, ENERGY, ALLIED INDUSTRIAL AND SERVICE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION filed a petition for representation on July 1 and an election has been set for July 23 at Star locations in Smithville and Cookeville.

According to the NLRB website, the voting unit includes all full-time and regular part-time production employees, maintenance employees, cell leaders, quality control employees, and shipping employees employed by Star Manufacturing International Inc., at 265 Hobson Street, Smithville, Tennessee and shipping employees employed at 1722 West Broad Street, Cookeville, Tennessee, but excluding all other employees, office clerical employees, professional employees, guards and supervisors.

Two Finalists Remain for Director of Schools

July 8, 2015
Dwayne Page
Patrick Cripps
Gina Arnold

The number of candidates for Director of Schools is now down to two.

WJLE has learned that Michael James Steele of Spring Hill, Executive Principal for Stratford STEM High School has withdrawn his name from consideration. That leaves two finalists for the Board of Education to consider for the job, DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps and Supervisor of Special Education Gina Arnold. Seven persons had applied or sent resumes for consideration but the board narrowed the list down to just three names before Steele withdrew.

The school board will have a workshop on Thursday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m. followed by the regular monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. to establish the length of the contract and other terms including the starting base salary of $85,000.

Another workshop is planned for Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m. apparently for the purpose of developing a set of questions to ask Cripps and Arnold during interviews with them on Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The School Board will then meet in a special session on Thursday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. to name a new director.

Bomb Threat False Alarm at Hospital

July 8, 2015
Dwayne Page and Shan Burklow
State Bomb and Arson Team Member Suits Up to Check Suspicious Package (Photo by Kim Johnson)
Firefighter (right) stands by as case (left) is opened (Kim Johnson Photo)

A suspicious package found in front of the Medical Specialty Office building near DeKalb Community Hospital Wednesday morning turned out to be a brief case containing personal belongings of the owner. But when it was found, the building was evacuated and the hospital perimeter placed on lockdown for several hours as a precaution until the briefcase could be examined.

The following is a media release to WJLE issued by the hospital:

"At approximately 11:15 AM today a suspicious package was reported in front of the doctors building on the DeKalb Community Hospital campus in Smithville, TN. A code orange bomb threat was then issued for the entire hospital facility and a perimeter lockdown immediately took effect. Incident commander Brandon Donnell was quoted as saying, "We had a quick response from the police, fire department, sheriffs department, State Bomb and Arson, bomb dogs from Lebanon, local TMA, THP, EMS, TEMA, 9-1-1, as well as the hospital staff and administration who train and prepare often for this type of crisis."

The DeKalb Community Hospital campus maintained the perimeter on lockdown until all communicating parties deemed the threat was no longer an issue. At approximately 2:00pm, the code orange bomb threat was changed to an all clear.

The Lebanon EMS was on the scene with additional support. "From our viewpoint, when we came on the scene, the evacuation procedure was spot on for a code orange (bomb threat), "said a representative for Lebanon Emergency Services Unit, "I was impressed to see your (DeKalb) emergency, fire, police, and all involved were all working so well together and were on the same page. That's always a great sign. I was very impressed."

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker agreed, "I appreciate everyone working together to do a great job," said Parker, "We were relieved that the threat was not real, but it is good (for the future) to see how efficiently everyone responded."

"It is our priority to ensure the safety of our patients and we take every precaution necessary to that end," said Hospital CEO Sue Conley, "Our staff is well-trained and reacted quickly to this potential threat, and I am further impressed by the response of our emergency community."

County May Have to Borrow Money to Operate Without Tax Hike (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

July 8, 2015
Dwayne Page

Without a property tax increase the county is facing the possibility of having to borrow money to operate at some point during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Steve Bates, the county's financial advisor, delivered the news during an all-committees meeting of the county commission Tuesday night at the courthouse.

It was the first time the county commission had met in a work session since the budget committee made its recommendation last Tuesday night, June 30 for passage of the proposed $41 million spending plan with a sixteen cent increase in the county property tax rate. If approved the rate would go from $1.62 to $1.78 per $100 of assessed value.

"If we don't increase the revenue this year then more than likely you're going to start having to borrow money in order to just meet payroll. That is not a position that DeKalb County has ever been in and doesn't want to be in," Bates told the commission.

Wayne Cantrell, Fourth District Commissioner and Chairman of the Budget Committee urged his fellow commissioners to support the recommendation for the tax hike. " I figured this thing up on a $100,000 house which is the average home in DeKalb County. It will raise it (tax bill) three dollars per month if we pass this sixteen cent (increase). This will be enough to get us through all our terms on here and probably even further. People are going to rag you about raising taxes, sure. But they're going to rag you a lot more if you go back in the community and say we've had to borrow money to run the county on. If we don't pass the sixteen cent (increase) and do eight or nine or ten cents instead we'll be right back up here next year doing it again. And nobody wants to be nickeled and dimed to death on this tax rate. So we're going to have to do something (raise taxes). Either that or we're going to look like idiots borrowing money to run the county government on," said Cantrell.

According to Bates, the county's budget woes are due to a stagnant economy in recent years in which revenues have been down while the cost of government has increased. Extra added costs due to the Affordable HealthCare Act (ObamaCare) and lower than anticipated receipts from the ambulance service are also factors.

"This budget is approximately a $41 million budget. For the last couple of years the county has been going into cash (fund balance/reserves) in the general fund. Some of the biggest factors was loss of interest income. There was a time when the county Trustee was earning 3% on the county's money. Now they're (county) earning .4%. That is just like having a tax cut. Then when the financial crisis happened (property) assessed values went down in the county which is also like having a tax cut. It's just gotten to where with the Affordable Health Care Act coming on (etc) it was just time to do something and this was the year it had to happen," said Bates.

"There is not really anything in this budget document that stands out any different than it was last year. Last year the county approved a budget going into cash by almost $800,000. We don't think the county went into cash that much. The books aren't closed yet but we do feel like we probably went into cash. We went with another company to do the billing for the ambulance service. Those receipts were down dramatically this year. We did not collect what we had budgeted so we know we went into cash we just don't know how much yet until the books are closed. But we're pretty confident that we went into cash by at least $250,000," Bates continued.

According to Bates, the county maintains an excellent bond credit rating and with increased revenues from a property tax hike, the general fund should stabilize. "The county is currently rated A1 by Moody's. That's a great credit rating and that's really where you want to be."

"The budget committee believes the tax levy ($1.78 per $100 of assessed value) is sufficient to get you by and stabilize the general fund. It gives a couple of other funds a little bit of growth money. We want to make sure we meet our maintenance of effort for schools. The county is doing that. Looking forward as the 2003 school refunding bond pays off in 2019 there will be some money left in that local purpose fund where you can absorb some school debt instead of letting them (schools) pay their pro rata share of that energy loan that they have just done, for the three million dollars that they have just borrowed. There is some things we can do to help schools along going forward," said Bates.

"Really the only uncertainty going forward right now is solid waste. We know that the transfer station will be coming on and you will be shipping some waste out of the county. We know there is going to be some transition. We don't know how much we'll be able to save by doing that. We do think there will be some. We just don't know how much yet. But until that gets on line we'll either have to use some of the money from the capital projects fund to help close the landfill or to issue a one and a half million dollar note or bond, which the county adopted a reimbursement resolution, because we want to make sure we have enough cash remaining in that solid waste fund so that it cash flows on a monthly basis," Bates said.

The proposed new rate breaks down as follows:
County General Fund: 94 cents (a 12 cent increase)
General Purpose Schools: 57 cents ( a 2 cent increase)
Debt Service: 12 cents
County Highway Department: 4 cents ( a 1 cent increase)
Capital Projects Fund: 11 cents ( a 1 cent increase)

The last time the county commission raised taxes was in 2011 when a ten cent hike was imposed with five cents of the increase going to schools and the other nickel to help fund the county general budget.

All five members of the budget committee last Tuesday, June 30 voted to recommend the new budget and tax rate for approval to the county commission. Members of the committee are Chairman Wayne Cantrell and Larry Summers, Jack Barton, Jimmy Midgett, and Jerry Adcock.

As required by law, a public notice will be published on Wednesday, July 15 in the newspaper. A public hearing will then be scheduled on Monday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m. followed by the regular monthly meeting of the county commission at which time the new budget and tax rate will be considered for passage. The meeting and public hearing will be held in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

Smithville Man Arrested in Williamson County

July 7, 2015
Michael Pierre Rose

A Smithville man who resisted arrest and escaped deputies on State Route 840 in Williamson County Monday morning has been arrested and charged with resisting arrest, escape and criminal impersonation.

According to the Tennessean, 31 year old Michael Pierre Rose fled officers around 11:15 a.m. after being pulled over for a traffic violation near Triune, said Sharon Puckett, public information administrator for the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.

Several deputies, a helicopter and canine searched for Rose until he was found around 3:30 p.m. near Highway 96 and Hawkins Lane in Triune, according to a Williamson County Sheriff's Office news release.

Rose is being held on a $9,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Williamson County court at 1 p.m. July 16.

City Answers Caplinger Lawsuit

July 7, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mark E. McGrady
Vester Parsley

One month after being sued over the termination of Randy Caplinger as Chief of Police, the City of Smithville has filed an answer in DeKalb County Circuit Court.

In the answer, Filed Monday, July 6, city attorney Vester Parsley and Nashville lawyer Mark E. McGrady of Farrar & Bates, LLP claim that Caplinger was validly suspended and terminated by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and that he is not entitled to back pay from the City.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Caplinger, Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox are asking for a declaratory judgment "to construe the charter for the City of Smithville and to determine which provision controls and governs the number of votes required by the Board of Aldermen to ratify or confirm the mayor's decision to remove an employee of the city". Cripps and Cox are also urging the court to find that the Board of Aldermen violated a section of the charter by not convening a meeting to ratify the mayor's suspension of Caplinger without pay prior to the due process hearing. They are further asking that the court "hold and declare that Caplinger's suspension without pay effective March 13, 2015 is invalid, and hence, a nullity" and that Caplinger be allowed to "receive all accrued back pay from March 13, 2015 until the date of the hearing in this cause.

"We are seeking to have Chief Caplinger restored to his rightful position as chief. We are also asserting that he is entitled to receive all accrued back pay and every other benefit to which he would be entitled had this unlawful suspension and termination never occurred," Cripps told WJLE last month.

Attorneys for the city contend that the issues the court must determine are:

"Whether the mayor's decision to terminate Caplinger received the approval of the requisite (required) number of members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under the applicable provisions of the charter and ordinances of the City?"

"Whether the vote of a majority of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on May 8, 2015 in favor of the mayor's decision to terminate the employment of Caplinger was a valid ratification of the mayor's suspension of Caplinger's employment without pay effective March 13, 2015 under Section 3.08 of the City's charter?"

"If Caplinger's termination of employment was not approved by the requisite (required) majority of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under the applicable charter and ordinance provisions, whether Caplinger is entitled to back pay from the City since March 13, 2015?".

After a seven hour due process hearing Friday, May 8 the aldermen voted 3-2 to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Caplinger. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy voted in favor of the mayor's action. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller voted against it.

But the vote itself became an issue and is one of the key components of the lawsuit.

Cripps and Cox insist that the city's charter requires a two thirds majority vote (four out of five) to confirm a mayoral termination. And Aldermen Jacobs and Miller said at the due process hearing that they had spoken with a legal representative of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) who told them that according to the city's charter, four votes were required to approve the action of the mayor.

Article III of the Smithville City Charter regarding Organization and Personnel. Section 3.01, subsection (2) states that "All officers and employees of the city, except as otherwise specifically provided by ordinance, shall be appointed and removed by the Mayor but only with the approval of at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Council present voting upon the appointment or removal, and the employees shall be under the direction and control of the Mayor."

But during the due process hearing City Attorney Vester Parsley cited another section in the charter, which seems to conflict with Section 3.01 in that it allows for only " a majority of the board" to approve removal of employees by the mayor. Parsley recommended that the aldermen follow this section of the charter.

The section of the charter to which Parsley referred is Section 3.08 in Article III which states that "The appointment and promotion of employees of the city shall be on a basis of merit, considering technical knowledge and education required to perform satisfactorily the work, experience in the particular or similar line of work and administrative or supervisory qualifications. The Mayor, or the City Administrator, if established by the Board, may, with the approval of a majority of the Board, make appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, suspensions, and removal of all employees".

In the lawsuit, Cripps and Cox are asking the court to preserve both sections of the charter but to find that Section 3.01 (requiring a 2/3 super majority vote) controls because it is more specific than Section 3.08.

The city claims in its defense that the super majority requirement in Section 3.01 of the city charter to uphold the mayor's removal of an employee is not applicable when "otherwise specifically provided by ordinance".

Along that line, the city claims that the personnel policies adopted as an ordinance in March 2014 provides that the "mayor's termination decision will be reviewed by a review panel which will consist of the Mayor and City Council". And that "four of the six members of this review panel (including the mayor) approved the mayor's termination decision, supplying both a majority vote and two thirds vote in favor of termination".

The city goes on to argue that the new personnel policies require only that "the board" decide whether a termination is appropriate and that the board acts through a "majority" of its aldermen, who voted in favor of sustaining the mayor's decision to terminate Caplinger.

As for a legal representative of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) advising Aldermen Jacobs and Miller that according to the city's charter, four votes were required to approve the action of the mayor, the city denies that the MTAS official provided an opinion as to whether Section 3.01 of the city charter (providing for a super majority vote) controlled over the conflicting provisions in Section 3.08 of the city charter or the city's 2014 personnel ordinance.

According to attorneys for the city, Section 3.08 of the charter requires only a majority of the Board to approve the mayor's suspension or removal of all employees. Section 3.01(2) requires a two thirds majority vote of the "Council" to approve removals, but this section does not apply to suspensions. Smithville's governing body is made up of a Board of Mayor and Aldermen, not a "Council" and that Section 1.02(c) of the City charter defines the "Board" as including the mayor and five aldermen elected under the charter. This Section defines "Aldermen" and "Board Member" to include the Mayor. Therefore, a two-thirds vote of the "Council" can reasonably be construed to require the vote of a majority of the aldermen (three) plus the mayor, which would harmonize Section 3.01(2) of the charter in removals with Section 3.08 of the charter which applies to both suspensions and removals," according to the city.

"Section 3.08 of the charter permits a majority of the Board of Aldermen to approve a mayor's suspension of an employee. If Section 3.01 (2) (super majority vote) is the controlling provision for removal of an employee and it is construed to require that four of the five aldermen approve the removal of an employee, a majority of the aldermen and the mayor would be able to suspend an employee indefinitely but would not be able to terminate that employee," attorneys for the city continued.

"A super majority vote requirement is contrary to the principle of majority rule, and should not be enforced unless the super majority provision is unambiguous. The best argument "Caplinger" can make is that the charter is ambiguous, so the super majority provisions must give way to the majority rule provision".

"A majority of the aldermen at the conclusion of the May 8, 2015 hearing voted to uphold the mayor's decision to terminate "Caplinger", which vote was sufficient to uphold the mayor's decision to suspend "Caplinger" indefinitely effective on March 13, 2015."

The city also argues that Caplinger is not entitled to back pay because the personnel policy relating to such only applies if the board "determines the employee should be reinstated. A majority of the Board voted against Caplinger's reinstatement, so he is not entitled to receive any back pay".

Attorneys for the city are asking the court to enter a declaratory judgment finding that the mayor's decision to terminate Caplinger received the requisite (required) approval of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under the applicable provisions of the charter and ordinances of the City; that the court find that the vote of a majority of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on May 8, 2015 in favor of the mayor's decision to terminate the employment of Caplinger was a valid ratification of the mayor's suspension of Caplinger's employment without pay effective March 13, 2015 under Section 3.08 of the City's charter; and that the court find that Caplinger is not entitled to either reinstatement as Chief of Police or the award of back pay".

New Trial Date Set in Lawsuit Against School Board and Former Director

July 7, 2015
Dwayne Page

A new trial date has been set in a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Board of Education and former Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

U.S. Magistrate Juliet Griffin has re-set the trial to September 20, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in Cookeville. The trial is expected to last no more than three days. The case had been set for trial October 20, 2015 but attorneys for both sides sought an extension in the discovery deadline.

In a motion filed April 10, attorneys for the plaintiff Bradley Hendrix and the Board and Director asked that the trial date be moved and that the discovery deadline be extended saying they needed more time to prepare for the case.

Andy L. Allman of Allman and Associates of Hendersonville is representing Hendrix while John D. Schwalb of Franklin is the attorney for the Board and former Director Willoughby.

In her order granting the continuance, Magistrate Griffin wrote that "The parties' motion to extend the discovery deadline and continue trial is granted and deadlines are extended as provided below".

"The deadline for the parties to file a joint mediation report is extended to September 1, 2015".

"The deadline for completion of all discovery is extended to September 29, 2015".

"Any discovery motions shall be filed by September 29, 2015".

"The parties will not use experts in this case".

"The deadline for the parties to file any dispositive motion is extended to October 27, 2015. Any response shall be filed within 28 days of the filing of the motion or by November 24, 2015, if the motion is filed on October 27, 2015. Any reply, if necessary, shall be filed within 14 days of the filing of the response or by December 8, 2015, if the response is filed on November 24, 2015."

"No other filings in support of or in opposition to any dispositive motion shall be made after December 8, 2015, except with the express permission of the Honorable Kevin H. Sharp, Chief Judge".

"In consultation with Chief Judge Sharp's office, the jury trial is rescheduled from October 20, 2015 to Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in the Cookeville Courthouse".

"The pretrial conference is rescheduled from October 5, 2015 to Monday, September 12, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. in Nashville."

Hendrix, a physical education teacher at Smithville Elementary School and a third district county commissioner, filed the lawsuit on May 29, 2014 in federal court.

In the lawsuit, Hendrix alleges that he has been "subjected to a continuous and ongoing pattern of harassment and retaliation for his votes as a county commissioner on matters pertaining to the school system", particularly his vote against purchasing land to build a new high school. According to the lawsuit, "On or about March 2011, the issue of the land purchase and school construction came before the county commission for approval. Hendrix voted against the measure. From that point on, Hendrix was subjected to harassment and retaliation by Mr. Willoughby in his employment".

Hendrix is suing the Board of Education and the former Director of Schools, both jointly and severally, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He also wants a jury to try the case.

Commissioner of Tourist Development Coming to DeKalb County

July 7, 2015
Commissioner of Tourist Development, Kevin Triplett

The public is invited to attend a ‘Meet and Greet’ to honor the newly appointed Commissioner of Tourist Development, Kevin Triplett. Commissioner Triplett will be visiting Smithville on Wednesday, July 8th at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium from 4 PM to 5:30 PM. After speaking, the commissioner will have a question and answer time. Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terrie Lynn Weaver, and State Representative Mark Pody will also be in attendance.

County Mayor Tim Stribling and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams urges all county and city leaders, business and community leaders, as well as the general public to attend this important and informative event. “This is a great opportunity to meet our new Commissioner of Tourist Development and to help him be aware of all that DeKalb County has to offer,” says Williams, “Currently, DeKalb County has the third highest tourism dollars in the Upper Cumberland region bringing approximately $39 million dollars to our county and around 4 million visitors annually.”

Everyone is invited for this rare opportunity of meeting and visiting with Commissioner Triplett on Wednesday, July 8th at the County Complex auditorium from 4 PM to 5:30 PM. For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at (615) 597-4163


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2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

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