An update on the Department of Justice complaint as it relates to the situation that is alleged to have occurred at the county’s recycling center is creeping forward, commissioners were told Monday. No action was requested on the county attorney’s report but commissioners did approve all committee recommendations.
County Attorney Phillip Burnett reported both sides have agreed on a mediator who will hear the complaint and decide the issue that has been pending for the past couple of years.
Burnett told commissioners he anticipates a hearing date in January and will be closed to the public. Burnett said this is the latest action as he tries “to get this settled” on behalf of the county.
While no specifics were mentioned, former solid waste director Michael Harvel was indicted in February 2019 on two counts of assault, one count of official misconduct and one count of sexual battery.
Harvel was first placed on administrative leave with pay and in March 2019, he was dismissed from his position following an investigation on a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint had been filed by a former subordinate at the solid waste department.
The Department of Justice then stepped in and filed a civil proceedings on behalf of the complaining party and that is what will be mediated in January.
The Criminal Court case is set on the deadline docket for Dec. 15 but Havel’s attorney, Kevin Bryant, has filed a motion to continue the case and is not expected to be opposed.
In other action, the following took place at the regular monthly meeting Monday:
•APPROVED recommendation of county committees for the purchase of 7.8 acres of property known as the Pelfrey property located at Hwy. 70 N. and Northside Dr., formerly the Alpha Equipment property, for the county road department. Also approved was the funding mechanism with that action taken in a separate motion.
Also APPROVED $550,000 for funding of the principal payment due this fiscal year and $94,950 for related costs of office equipment, other incidentals and storage coverings for sand and road salt.
•APPROVED on recommendation of the Budget Committee of the issuance of interest-bearing capital outlay notes not to exceed $1.5 million to fund county projects.
•APPROVED County Mayor Allen Foster’s appointment of Jeff Waldo to an unexpired term ending Jan. 19, 2023, to the Tri-County Industrial Development Board. This board has representatives from Cumberland, Morgan and Rhea counties.
•APPROVED recommendation of the Delinquent Tax Committee of the sale of two parcels of land on Sweetgum Dr. to Jerry and Kara Trentham, returning those lots to the tax rolls. Total sale was $670.10.
•APPROVED on recommendation of the Budget Committee to donate a K-9 kennel transport system from a decommissioned sheriff’s department vehicle to the Harriman Police Department. Value of the kennel was placed at less than $500.
•APPROVED on recommendation of the Budget Committee a $250 donation for courthouse holiday decorations from Downtown Crossville Inc. Appreciation was expressed to DCI.
•APPROVED on recommendation of the Budget Committee purchase of a truck and equipment for the vehicle in the amount of $65,905 for the solid waste department for use at recycling centers. Funding comes from the department’s fund balance.
•DISCUSSED the moving of the Comcast office from the Fairfield Glade area to Roane County and related issues of consumers filing service complaints. Comcast requested state oversight of its franchise agreement which had previously been held by the county, Burnett told commissioners.
He recommended persons who were not satisfied with service complaint responses to contact the Public Utilities Commission in light of the service provider’s change of oversight.
•APPROVED the following list of notaries. New: Nathan Andrew Clouse, Julie Nichole Davis, Katelnn Anne Graham, Travis Paul Harbert, Laura Mae Harden, Journey C. Houston, Bruce W. Lang and Miranda Michelle Sims. Renewals: Kathryn Louise Berman, Melisa Kaye Bryant, Barbara Ellen Clouse, Michelle Angela Findley, Cheryl Jean Heckler, Teresa Lynn Jenkins and Jennifer Eve Selby.