Sheriff’s Resignation Highlights County Commission Topics

The Fentress County Commission met Monday, April 17 in regular monthly session and took action on a number of items of business in a rather routine, 40-minute meeting.

With all members present, the meeting was  called to order by Fentress County Executive J. Michael Cross, the presentation of the Colors by the Clarkrange High School JROTC Color Guard, the Pledge to the Flag was led by 1st District Commissioner Justin Miller, and opening prayer by Steve Boutelle.

Fentress Co. Executive J. Michael Cross opened the meeting with the following statement:

“Our county is going through a difficult time right now.  We have received a letter from Sheriff Cravens proffering his resignation effective April 28 that was received last Friday.

At the present time, (County Attorney) Leslie (Clark) Ledbetter, her office and myself have been in contact with CTAS (County Technical Assistance Service) researching Tennessee Code Annotated to explore all the options available for us at this time.  We do intend to follow the letter of the law and follow the TCA, which puts the chain of command within the Sheriff’s office.  In that chain of command, Chief Deputy Gary Ledbetter, from the moment any of this started happening, has been temporarily discharging the duties of sheriff, and will continue to do so until the county commission fills this vacancy

“Under Tennessee Code Annotated, once the the resignation is effective, which will be April 28, it requires that the County Commission  name a replacement within 120 days.  I don’t expect us to take that long, but we will be very deliberate, we will consider every possibility, and everything we do will be for the betterment of this county.

“I am calling a special called meeting on Monday, May 1 at 6:00 p.m. here in the courtroom–there will be no work session– and this will be to discuss the protocol on how to proceed to accept the resignation and how to start the process of finding and naming a replacement to finish out the term of Sheriff Cravens.”

“That’s all, by law, that we are permitted to do at this time,” he concluded.

Next, the Commission approved the notary list and the minutes of the March 20, 2017 meeting.

Volunteer firefighters from four local Fire Units who had completed the State of Tennessee Live Burn Classes were recognized.

They included Ethan Tompkins, Stanley Hull and Christopher Garrett from the Armathwaite Department; Stacy Cooper, Matt Harris, Larry Cooper, Andy Wills, Chris Cooper and Josh Young from the Allardt Fire Department; Keith Garrett and Jason Koger of the Mt. Helen Fire Department; and Brittany Edwards, Brent Edwards, Daniel Scott and Bryan Edwards from the Clarkrange Fire Department.

Fentress County Trustee Wanda Tompkins then presented her annual report on the 2015 taxes, reporting that her office had collected $6,019,566.09 of the total adjusted taxes for 2015 which totaled $6,098,456.24, leaving only $78,890.15 in delinquent taxes for 2015.

Reportedly, this is the highest percentage  ever (98.71%) of tax collections.

On a unanimous vote, the commission approved the report and relieved Trustee Tompkins of any further responsibility.

These delinquent taxes will now be turned over to the Fentress Co. Circuit Court Clerk for collection.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.