Commission Agrees To Settle Lawsuit


Huntsville, TN (2009-09-21) The Scott County Commission has ratified a settlement in a lawsuit brought against the County by a former Scott County lawman.

On the recommendation of County Attorney John Beaty, the Scott County Commission Monday night ratified a settlement agreement to mitigate a lawsuit brought by former Scott County Chief Detective Don Laxton, who had filed a Chancery Court lawsuit against the county seeking $34,300 in lost wages. In his cause, Laxton purported that the County had failed to adequately compensate him for overtime, compensatory time and vacation time during his tenure at the Sheriff’s Department, 1994-2001.  In the settlement, the County agreed to pay $20,000 to Laxton, a measure that passed on a vote of 9-3, with Commissioners Willie Boyatt, Jeff Watson and Clyde Zachary casting dissenting votes.  Citing a conflict, Commissioner Leonard Bertram passed on the vote, and Commissioner Ernest Phillips was absent.

Monday night’s settlement was the second in as many months.  In August, the County agreed to settle a lawsuit with Oneida Farms.  In that case, Ernest Billingsley, owner of Oneida Farms, claimed the county had breached a 1989 contract regarding usage of his property adjacent to the old county-owned landfill in the Helenwood community.  In the settlement agreement, the County paid $125,000 in damages and must purchase land near the old landfill for future access and monitoring purposes.

In other business Monday night, the Commission:

·        Resolved the final outstanding audit finding from the 2008 State audit by changing the entry of a $198,363 loan to the Public Utility Fund to a contribution. This resolution passed by a vote of 9-4, with Commissioners Ron Blevins, Alan Reed, Paul C. Strunk, and Watson casting the dissenting votes. Strunk had asked that language be included in the resolution to compel the Fund to reimburse the County when funds were available, but the wording was not included in the final vote;

·        Accepted a bid from W & O Construction of $296,380 for a sewer line extension in the Capital Hill, Airport Road and Helenwood Detour Road areas. Other bidders were Jack Southard Company, LLC at $334,420, Boyatt Brothers Excavating at $380,385, and Ironwood Construction Engineering, LLC at $380,990;

·        Accepted a bid from GK Rogers Construction LLC in the amount of $210,169.90 for work at the industrial park at the Airport, which is being funded through an ARC grant. Other bidders were Sharp Contracting, Inc. $249,500, and Boyatt Brothers Excavating at $345,030;

·        Using funds gained from a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, accepted a bid to purchase two 2010 Dodge Chargers with V6 engines at a price of $21,466.36 each. Sheriff Anthony Lay noted the grant would be enough to equip at least one of the vehicles, while older equipment could be found within the fleet to equip the other; and

·        Reelected County Mayor Rick Keeton as Chairman of the Board, and elected Commissioner Paul Strunk as Chairman Pro-Tem.