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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Two quit development board seats

Friday, July 9, 2010

Two members of Lewisburg's Industrial Development Board resigned during the panel's meeting Tuesday in City Hall where dismissal of the town's economic developer was a hot topic.

"I'd like to know if there were reprimands or warnings before this," now-former IDB member Jackie Abernathy asked city leaders at the monthly meeting when City Manager Eddie Fuller responded to the question about Terry Wallace with a legalistic answer he felt obliged to use.

"The city is an at-will employer and Tennessee is a right-to-work state," Fuller said. No reason must be provided under state law.

Ultimately, Abernathy and IDB member Tommy Harris quit. While their reasons may be on what the board does, the timing seemed linked to Wallace.

Four officials with the City Council have said there was a lack of support for Wallace's continued employment. Economic developers aren't hired by the council, so Fuller was responsible for the dismissal. Wallace was allowed to resign. He didn't.

"It's very difficult to understand why with an economy like this," Abernathy said.

Recalling discussion among councilmen, Abernathy said it seems some want "somebody right out of college for $30,000."

Wallace's salary was $66,000.

"I think that's totally inappropriate and I think it's age discrimination," she said.

IDB Chairman Eddie Wiles turned discussion to Wallace's monthly report delivered on paper. It reviewed his contacts with industrial prospects. Many of his reports were reproductions of e-mails he sent and received.

Tony Beyer, a local businessman, retired banker and a member of the 13-county Workforce Development Board, generally described a client's needs and what it offers in terms of prospective employment and wage rates.

As for Wallace's dismissal, he said the timing is not particularly good.

"Is there a plan?" Beyer asked. "Who do we talk to? Who answers the phone?"

Economic recovery may be long and slow, he said.

"Are we going to be dead in the water?"

Wiles referred to the IDB's attorney, his $500 monthly salary and the city manager's responsibilities.

Not stated, though, is the city manager's announced intention to retire in the fall.

"Are we going to be as efficient as we were?" Wiles continued. "No way."

Assistant economic developer Lisa Jackson is using the cell phone Wallace had, and Greg Lowe, the city's codes officer who's another assistant economic developer, can be called as well as Fuller and Mike Wiles, the executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board, according to Eddie Wiles.

Speaking up for Wallace, Harris said Wallace "kept me informed" about an international deal that seems to be bearing fruit.

Other aspects of Wallace's report were discussed and then Abernathy quit.

"In the last year or so, I don't think the IDB has been effective..." she said. "I'm not happy with the direction. We're not doing what we were doing. We worked so hard to get proposals ... and we're not doing it any more."

"I'm resigning, too," Harris said. "I don't like the bull (feathers.)"

Two people seated closer to Harris later said he put a $5 bill on the meeting table, apparently to pay for his plate of the catered lunch of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans.

As Harris left, Abernathy said the board "is not active like it was."

Beyer had commented, "Before you jump off a bridge, be sure you know how deep the water is."


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Im glad to hear Tomm Harris has nothing to do with this We need to clear out all the dirt from the city cancel I will campain for anyone that runs against any seated member, thats a promise

-- Posted by jrabbit on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 8:00 PM

"I'd like to know if there were repremends or warnings before this" was asked by Former IDB member Jakie Abernathy.

Is a 20% unemployment rate, and being 1st or second on the State unemployment list month after month warning enough? Did Jakie Abernathy not take note of the number (thousands) of job losses we have endured?

Abernathy and IDB member Tommy Harris quit.

That still leaves Greg Lowe as an assistant economic developer, can we judge his economic prowness in the same light as his job as city codes officer?

Abernathy said it was very difficult to understand (Wallaces Dismisal?) with an economy like this;

If Abernathy did not understand the importance of our need for jobs; I'm not sure Abernathy was qualified to be in that position in the first place.

Speaking of qualifications...Choosing to place someone without a degree or major life experience in industrial/economic developement to head the IDB seems to reek of good ol boy politics.

On the subject of age discrimination - I don't think anyone cares about age. If someone was 102 years old but making economic progress, I'm sure we would still want to keep them regardless of age.

We are presently mainly concerned about obtaining employers and a qualified Industrial Recruiter ; not development of our workforce (required but not our top priority at this time).

Is it a duty of the 13 county Workforce Developement Board to be our advisor on hiring an Industrial recruiter or is their job workforce development?

Mr. Beyer - We know how deep the water is -

It's about 20% shallower than it should be!

Mr.Fuller is not retired. Let him advertize and hire a qualified individual; It's his job.

We can remove a new non-producer as easily as we removed Mr. Wallace.

As far as I am concerned, this is one of the best things that could have happened to us.

It shows that we are learning and willing to change.

Good old boy ways in politics won't pay the bills!

A recession is when your neighbor dosen't have a job.

A depression is when you don't have a job!

-- Posted by CommonCentz on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 8:20 PM

Mr. Harris and Mrs. Abernathy demonstrated sublime integrity in the decision to disassociate themselves from the band of thieves that have hijacked our town. Mr. Wallace may not have produced the desired results, but who is to say that anyone could have done more under the same circumstances. Not to be trite but,things are tough all over.

As for Fuller's impending retirement; "Come on Fall"

As for the two "assistant economic developers" who remain; What qualifications are either of these two individuals possessed of which recommended them for employment in the first place? Where is the appraisal of their performance?

The current iteration of the city council has taken unprecedented interest in usurping the human resources role of the city manager. Why not adhere to the role defined for the council by the city charter. There seems to be one boisterous bad actor who is determined to insinuate himself into all facets of local life. I agree with jrabbit, it is time for him to go.

-- Posted by V.Veritas on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 10:46 PM

Mr. Harris and Mrs. Abernathy demonstrated sublime integrity in the decision to disassociate themselves from the band of thieves that have hijacked our town. Mr. Wallace may not have produced the desired results, but who is to say that anyone could have done more under the same circumstances. Not to be trite but,things are tough all over.

As for Fuller's impending retirement; "Come on Fall"

As for the two "assistant economic developers" who remain; What qualifications are either of these two individuals possessed of which recommended them for employment in the first place? Where is the appraisal of their performance?

The current iteration of the city council has taken unprecedented interest in usurping the human resources role of the city manager. Why not adhere to the role defined for the council by the city charter. There seems to be one boisterous bad actor who is determined to insinuate himself into all facets of local life. I agree with jrabbit, it is time for him to go.

-- Posted by V.Veritas on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 10:47 PM

Mr. Harris and Mrs. Abernathy demonstrated sublime integrity in the decision to disassociate themselves from the band of thieves that have hijacked our town. Mr. Wallace may not have produced the desired results, but who is to say that anyone could have done more under the same circumstances. Not to be trite but,things are tough all over.

As for Fuller's impending retirement; "Come on Fall"

As for the two "assistant economic developers" who remain; What qualifications are either of these two individuals possessed of which recommended them for employment in the first place? Where is the appraisal of their performance?

The current iteration of the city council has taken unprecedented interest in usurping the human resources role of the city manager. Why not adhere to the role defined for the council by the city charter. There seems to be one boisterous bad actor who is determined to insinuate himself into all facets of local life. I agree with jrabbit, it is time for him to go.

-- Posted by V.Veritas on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 10:47 PM

Mr. Harris and Mrs. Abernathy demonstrated sublime integrity in the decision to disassociate themselves from the band of thieves that have hijacked our town. Mr. Wallace may not have produced the desired results, but who is to say that anyone could have done more under the same circumstances. Not to be trite but,things are tough all over.

As for Fuller's impending retirement; "Come on Fall"

As for the two "assistant economic developers" who remain; What qualifications are either of these two individuals possessed of which recommended them for employment in the first place? Where is the appraisal of their performance?

The current iteration of the city council has taken unprecedented interest in usurping the human resources role of the city manager. Why not adhere to the role defined for the council by the city charter. There seems to be one boisterous bad actor who is determined to insinuate himself into all facets of local life. I agree with j rabbit, it is time for him to go.

-- Posted by V.Veritas on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 10:49 PM


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