Warren County Executive Jimmy Haley does not have sole authority to hire department heads because county legislative body approval is required.
The Warren County Commission took corrective action Monday night when it amended the agenda and unanimously confirmed Haley’s previous selections for Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center director and Warren County Sanitation Department director.
According to Tennessee Code Annotated, the county executive can appoint department heads. However, those selections must be presented to the county legislative body for confirmation. Commission members may then express their views fully and freely and shall vote for, or against, confirmation.
Haley did not seek commission approval for hiring Sherri Bradley as Animal Control director in August, nor the selection of Josh Roberts as Sanitation Department director in February.
“This was the second and third correction of actions taken by the county executive that were not in line with TCA,” said commission chair Blaine Wilcher, who stepped down from that seat in order to present measures before the commission to approve the selections of Bradley and Roberts.
The first action to correct was in relation to a bond issue acquisition of 15 tasers from States Distributors to be used by correctional officers. Haley approved the $18,575 purchase in early 2019 without committee or commission approval. Payment for the purchase came from $12.5 million previously borrowed for jail and school improvements.
Haley, who stated he was under the belief he had the authority to authorize the purchase, added that the purchase was out of protection for correctional officers working at an understaffed jail.
Commissioners corrected that violation when they approved an appropriations resolution for the $12.5 million. That resolution allowed the borrowed money to be spent by Haley, as directed by the commission.
When it comes to hiring department heads, Tennessee Code Annotated does provide Haley with sole authority to interview prospective applicants by stating “the county body shall not seek or interview such prospective employees prior to their appointment.”
If commissioners vote against confirmation, the county executive must offer another individual for consideration.