Golf employees' hearing will be held in August

Friday, June 3, 2011

Three former employees of the golf course at Henry Horton State Park are scheduled for hearings at the park next month.

Former Course Manager Kerry Blanton and workers Rusty Jones and Jim Limbaugh were dismissed last year by Jim Fyke who was the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation under Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The men were dismissed after a long investigation, including a detailed audit. Among the better-known allegations are that golfers were allowed to play free, or at reduced charges, and that sometimes golf carts were made available at no charge.

"The appeal case is scheduled for Aug. 24-26 at the park," TDEC spokeswoman Meg Lockhart said Wednesday. "The administrative law judge is Tom Stovall and the attorneys representing all three grievants are Worrick Robinson and Joanna Gordon," lawyers with offices in Nashville.

"No decision will be issued right after the hearing," Lockhart said. "Following what is called a 'Step 5 grievance,' a transcript will be ordered and each party will then submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of the law.

"The Administrative Judge will then render a decision based on the evidence presented," TDEC's spokeswoman explained.

Blanton, Jones and Jim Limbaugh exhausted their administrative appeals in TDEC and filed grievances, thereby challenging Fyke's decision. The Tennessee Secretary of State's office includes administrative law judges who preside over grievance hearings.