Last evening, three dozen Knox Sheriff’s employees, ninety eight percent of them in uniform with guns and cuffs exposed standing in the back of the City County Building Main Assembly Room. They were there for their CEO, Sheriff Tom Spangler to pitch and sell a 30% pay increase. Of the 11 Commissioners aka decision makers three of them chose to remain silent, they were at Large Seat 10, Carson Dailey and Richie Beeler. Now, Dr. Dasha Lundy also remained silent but I suspect that was because the Sheriff nor one of his KCSO brass darkened the door of the Commission meeting for three months as Dr. Lundy’s requested their presence to address the McAlister Deli incident. here one post.
First, Sheriff played a video of Corrections Officer Lee being being assaulted by an inmate. An assault that lasted longer than it should have for his colleagues to enter the pod to render him aid and apprehend the assaulter. The inmates ultimately restrained the assaulter.
Second, Sherif played audio from an October 1991 ambush attack of Officers James Carson and Mattie Baird. I am told by a former Commissioner that it was the same recording played to the County Commission when Commission passed the last property tax increase.
Sheriff Spangler says it will only take a 7 cent property tax to fund a 30% pay increase. Obviously, that amount is in dispute by others. What everyone does agree on is a property tax would begin at 7 cents and would max out at about 15 cents. Mayor Jacobs was elected in close Republican primary in 2018, with two opponents. Jacobs promised no tax increase. Mayor Jacobs was re-elected in 2022 with the same promise.
Need I remind you of President George Herbert Walker Bush 1988 pledge, “read my lips, no new taxes” and the result of his 1992 re-election defeat? Yes, we are accustomed to individuals like Governor Don Sundquist being elected in 1994 and after re-election in 1998 proposing a new tax, which did not happen after much protest.
What is the end game?
A 30% pay increase, seems like a long shot.
A costly salary suit to force a 30% pay increase, results in property tax increase or lost county services like trash collection centers, libraries and/or Senior Centers?
A loss this year by this Commission in the 30% pay increase request, potentially fueling 7 Knox County Commission Back the Blue candidates for the March and August 2024 Knox County elections which pledge the pay increases in future county budgets?
Who knows? It is just random thoughts that become questions. Only time will reveal the answers. I’ve been doing this almost 19 years, I will be here for the answer whenever it comes to harvest.
There will be a Commission meeting this Monday May 22 and another June 5 Public Hearing with a budget vote after that June 5th hearing to pass the budget. So, Knox County Budget 2.0 and Knox County Budget 3.0 are forthcoming.