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School board files lawsuit

By Eddie West

Staff Writer

Establishment of the county’s newly formed Department of Finance has resulted in a lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the county’s school board which is at odds with county commissioners over the October approval of the Financial Management Act of 1981 which establishes a county Department of Finance and creates a county director of finance.

Action by the county commission also required the establishment of a Financial Management Committee to set regulations and oversee the county’s Department of Finance, as well as hire a county director of finance.

With the creation of the new department and appointment of a financial director, school board members basically feel the county is attempting to control how money is spent within the school system’s budget.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges during the process of establishing the new system of financial operations, on multiple occasions, commissioners violated the Tennessee Open Meetings Act.

The Tennessee Open Meeting Act is state law requiring public notifications of meetings, as well as sets laws prohibiting multiple government representatives  from meeting to discuss legislative issues and policies outside of public meetings.

Filed on Friday, November 17, in Smith County Chancery Court, the lawsuit notes, “The commission has no authority to alter the (school) budget in any way under the laws of the state of Tennessee”.

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