published Friday, May 9th, 2014

Grundy County boils with talk about firings, dismissals

  • photo
    Grundy County Sheriff Brent Myers
    Photo by Dick Cook

Word of firings started getting out on Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday primaries in Grundy County, Tenn.

Grundy County residents contacted the Chattanooga Times Free Press by phone and through social media on Wednesday and Thursday with concerns that resource officers had been fired from county schools and employees with the highway department had been fired, all over their voting in Tuesday's Democratic primary election.

Incumbent Sheriff Brent Myers lost Tuesday to challenger Clint Shrum, who advances to the August county general election.

Myers said Thursday afternoon that rumors really began to fly over a meeting held with school resource officers and sheriff's staff Thursday morning.

"This morning we had a meeting here at 10 o'clock and by 10:20 they were done," Myers said. "It was a confidence-building meeting. I told them I want them to keep doing the same job they had been doing."

Myers said the resource officer at one of the county's elementary schools was confronted Monday about a problem unrelated to the primaries and voluntarily quit his job.

That post now has a new SRO, and the county's seven schools are fully staffed with officers, Myers said.

At the county's Highway Department, incumbent Highway Superintendent Hubert "Turkey" Hargis -- who won his primary race on Tuesday and has no rival in the August general election -- said three employees were fired Wednesday for avoiding work assignments.

"They went in and clocked in and went back out there and sat in the parking lot," Hargis said. "I waited in the office for an hour and a half waiting on them to come in from the parking lot."

Hargis said other employees got their assignments for the day and went to work, but he told the trio in the parking lot to "go on home."

"I hated to do it. I don't like to fire people, it hurts me to the bone," he said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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