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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Smallwood files an appeal
Former Cocke County Fire Chief William Smallwood has filed an appeal to the February dismissal of his federal lawsuit against Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger and the county. The appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was filed Thursday by Smallwood's attorney Thomas C. Jessee. In March 2017, Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger announced that she had terminated Smallwood The mayor pointed to alleged incidents of sexual harassment, workplace violence and harassment at the Fire Department and she charged that the chief "refused all remedial action", resulting in his termination. Mayor Ottinger and members of the fire department, which she supervises, have had an ongoing conflict, culminating more recently in the firing of Fire Captain/County Commissioner Clayton "Skip" Ellison. The termination came after Ellison was indicted by a Cocke County Grand Jury which had heard testimony from Emergency Management Director Kevin Benton, who charged Ellison with stalking. The conflicts between firefighters, the County Legislative Body(CLB) and Mayor Ottinger have escalated since the CLB voted in June, 2016, to appoint a civil service board to oversee the fire department's operations. The mayor says the board is illegal suggesting there is no provision in state law for such a board. In his ruling dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Curtis Collier held that in Tennessee, local governments may exercise only those powers granted them by the state legislature. "In fact, the Cocke County Commission did precisely what the Tennessee General Assembly expressly forbade it from doing when it voted to create the civil service board(CSB). Because Tennessee law expressly prohibits local governments from establishing systems of classified service, the Court finds the CSB was improperly formed and therefore null."

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

  • Dowell arrest
  • Dollywood is open

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • Jobless numbers
  • Chestnut tree giveaway
  • TVA campgrounds are open
  • Executions delayed
  • Early voting coming up

    Thursday, March 15, 2018

  • Cocke County High "Walk-In"
  • Work for TennCare
  • Tennessee tax burden
  • Food for Peace program revanp
  • Great American Cleanup events

    Wednesday, March 14, 2018

  • Chuck Mason arrest
  • Cate case
  • Newport contributes to the Friends animal shelter
  • Broadway infrastructure project
  • O'Brien tools are missing

    Tuesday, March 13, 2018

  • SRO discussions
  • Medical marijuana on CLB agenda
  • Pending legislation to hold down healthcare costs
  • Goodwin being sought on AWOL charges
  • Fraud alert

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