Marshall County budget director Brooks resigned

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

By Karen Hall

Editor

Catherine Brooks is no longer Marshall County's budget director.

Her letter of resignation was presented to budget committee members at their meeting Thursday evening.

This followed a meeting between Brooks and Commission Chairman Nathan Johnson concerning problems associated with closing on the Solid Waste building.

"As a result of that meeting, I was given her resignation," said Johnson. "I wish her the best in her future endeavors. It's going to be better in the long run."

Johnson stressed that nothing illegal was done, and the county always had the money to buy the building, it was just in the wrong account.

With advice from the state comptroller's office, the auditor, and the county financial advisor Steve Bates, the money was moved to the correct account in time to complete the sale.

"Things could have been corrected in February," said Johnson. "But it wasn't done."

At the budget committee meeting Thursday, business was completed as usual, with members unanimously approving a first draft of the county's 2014-2015 budget.

Then Brooks said, "Thank you all for your support, encouragement and help in the last year. It's been difficult, but I appreciate your help in getting me through it."

Johnson read her letter of resignation to committee members.

Brooks will be paid through June 30, in accordance with her contract, but her last day in office was Thursday.

Johnson made a point of telling budget office staff members who also attended the meeting that their positions were not in danger, and handed the running of the office over to assistant director Heidi McElhaney.

"All the girls are very willing to work together, and to work with the next budget director," said Johnson.

Doug Bodary and Robin Roberts of the University of Tennessee's County Technical Advisory Service will be asked to help with hiring another budget director, Johnson said.

"We'll get two or three (candidates) for you to choose from," he told budget committee members.

"Everything from here on is upbeat," Johnson said. "Negativity is strongly discouraged, because anything negative doesn't help Marshall County. Let's move forward and go on.

"We will find someone who is qualified in county government," he added. "It's a positive for her she can move on and do something better."

Brooks was hired as assistant budget director in January 2012. County commissioners, former budget director Freda Terry, and Bodary ranked three applicants, with Brooks narrowly the winner, and Terry reportedly made the final choice.

The budget for 2013-2014 was the first one Brooks worked on by herself for the county.