This will be my final Gossip and Lies column for a while. (It’s hard to beat that talking squirrel.)
Larry Van Guilder, former colleague from the old newspaper, has joined our team. I am thrilled.
Larry has a light-hearted writing touch and his background in business and accounting makes him a great fit to cover local government and the planning commission.
I’ll continue with my personal blog on Mondays and may throw in random political thoughts. But Larry’s the guy on Thursdays going forward. He will write a leader profile and a political column.
Now, here’s what I was working on for today’s column until I got swamped with mailers and websites and advertisers and staff:
Q: Who took the county’s voluntary retirement incentive last year?
Q: What did it cost?
Q: How many of those who left were replaced?
Q: How much did Knox County save?
Q: Is it true that some of the folks who left have already returned as contract workers? At what rate of pay?
I barely scraped the surface of this story. I got the “exhaustive list” List of Employees – VWRP of those who left, including from the Sheriff’s Office and all fee offices. But none of the numbers. This kind of reporting requires some hanging around time at the City County Building. Asking “but why?” sometimes leads to great stories. Not that I’m telling Larry what to do or anything … But why do a buyout if not to save money?
Q: Will Brad Anders resign from Knox County Commission when he starts his new job as director of E-911? And does the new job mean Anders, who finished second (by 23 votes) to Glenn Jacobs in last year’s primary, won’t run for county mayor in 2022?
Q: Knox County Schools just promoted Thomas Watson, principal at Carter Middle School, as supervisor of secondary education, a job held by John Bartlett who was sent to Farragut High as principal just days before school started. Watson is being replaced at Carter Middle by Jack Owen, previously an assistant principal at Whittle Springs Middle School. There’s a pay increase for Watson and Owen; and we learned previously that neither Bartlett nor Ryan Siebe, former Farragut High principal who was switched into human resources at the central office, did not have a pay cut. Is this new math or did we just witness an expensive ripple effect to get Siebe out of Farragut?
Ah, so many questions, so little time. Have fun, Larry Van Guilder.