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School board, county coments on hearing; county labels board’s lawsuit ‘meritless’

By Eddie West

Staff Writer

A temporary restraining order hearing related to the board of education’s chancery court lawsuit filed against the county took place on December 1 before Judge C.K. Smith in Trousdale County.

The board of education lawsuit was filed in November in connection with the county’s adoption of the Financial Management System (Act) of 1981 which will require all financial transactions to take place within a centralized county finance department.

In the latest development, both the county board of education and county mayor’s office have released statements concerning the hearing. 

The latest statement was released Friday morning by the board of education and reads as follows: “Director Barry H. Smith and the Smith County Board of Education are pleased that the Court agreed with the Board of Education that an open meetings act violation likely occurred depriving the parents, taxpayers, and Board of Education employees the opportunity to know the facts and ramifications of what was being done behind closed doors. The granting of an injunction preventing the County from moving forward with the new taxpayer funded position of finance director is the first step to allow voters and taxpayers to have input on this important decision. This injunction would also give the commissioners the opportunity to do the right thing and present this issue to the taxpayers and voters by referendum as allowed by law instead of county government forcing it upon the citizens.”

On Monday of last week, the following was released by the county mayor’s office through County Attorney Jeremy Hassler’s office.

The county’s statement reads as follows: “We are pleased that Chancellor Smith allowed us to move forward with the December 14th meeting of the Financial Management Committee created as part of the implementation of the Financial Management Act of 1981. We believe that attorneys Danny Rader and Jeremy Hassler presented a firm case that no wrongdoing was done by the Smith County Commission and that the Commission acted well within their rights to vote to implement the 1981 Act at its October 9th meeting. This suit is a waste of taxpayer dollars and the need to defend the commission for doing the job that the people of Smith County elected them to do will create more unnecessary spending. We look forward to this being behind us soon and moving forward with the plan to bring more transparency, efficiency and effectiveness to Smith County Government.”

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