Warren County Commissioner Kenneth Rogers wants to reduce the number of members on the county commission. Rogers made a motion before the county Policy and Personnel committee stating, “effective Sept. 1 2014, that we reduce the county commission from 24 to 13 with one commissioner per district and one that can run at large, who would serve as the chairperson for the court. The commissioner’s salary would be doubled, with the chairperson making $10,000 annually. Commissioners would no longer receive committee reimbursements in addition to their regular salary.”
Commissioner Charles Morgan said, “I think you need to leave the numbers alone. I won’t even run again if the numbers go down below 24. We would have to be on more committees and we already spend a huge amount of time here. The less people you have means the less ideas would be thrown out there and it would also be an opportunity for people to jump on a bandwagon together. It would not be fair to the constituents.”
Commissioner Wayne Copeland said, “I don’t think three people on a committee would work good. I’m worried about if someone lays out. You wouldn’t have a majority vote. I think five-member committees work good. Going from 24 to 12 would be a drastic change.”
Rogers said, “Look at Hamilton County which includes Chattanooga. They only have nine commissioners.”
Commissioner George Smartt motioned amending the original motion by removing the last line from the proposal and Copeland seconded it.
“I will motion we vote on this if you take out the last sentence. I think we should still get reimbursed for committee meetings,” said Smartt.
“You would be making twice what you make now,” said Rogers.
Copeland said, “We get paid $25 per meeting. They always take two to three hours of time. We don’t have 15-minute meetings and I think our time is worth something. We would have to serve on more committees and would have to double-up our time.”
Rogers did, however, agree to striking the last sentence from his motion.
The vote to take out the last sentence passed 3 to 2 with Rogers and Morgan voting no.
Copeland motioned to amend the original wording to, “if the committee salaries are doubled, the pay for commissioners attending committee meetings should be doubled from $25 to $50.” Smartt seconded the amended version.
The motion with the second amendment failed 2-3. Copeland and Smartt voted yes with Ken Martin, Morgan and Rogers voting no.
Finally, the motion was voted on stating, “effective Sept. 1, 2014, to reduce the county commission from 24 people to 13 commissioners, one per district, with one being at large, to serve as committees chairperson. The commissioners’ salary would double and the chairperson would make $10,000 annually.”
The vote failed 2-3 with Rogers and Smartt voting yes and Copeland, Martin and Morgan voting no.
Copeland said, “Seriously, if you change the date to 2018, you might be able to pass this. Commissioners are not going to vote themselves out of job.”
Rogers replied, “I think it needs to be done or I wouldn’t have brought it up.”
Rogers also said that he is having a lawyer look over his motion and he plans on bringing the motion before the full court anyway.
“You, as a commissioner, can bring before the full court whatever you want to,” said Smartt.