Commission may hire attorney in pension board case

By Mike Steely
Knox County Commission Chairman Hugh Nystrom told The Focus Friday that he is introducing a discussion in Monday’s Work Session Agenda to consider hiring an outside attorney to represent the county in the pension board suit.
Judge John Weaver will hold a hearing November 28 to consider whether or not the county will pay attorney fees for the retirees mentioned in the lawsuit.  The “settlement” approved by the pension board and Mayor Glenn Jacobs indicates that the county will reimburse the retired deputies up to $5,000 each for their cost of an attorney, not to exceed $50,000 total.
The problem is that, currently, the law director has been cut from the case and no one is in place to represent the county.
If Judge Weaver approves the “settlement” will the pension board continue adding unused vacation days to a retiring deputy’s pension in violation of the 2007 referendum and the charter? Commissioner Charles Busler has placed an item on the agenda to discuss these retirement calculations within the sheriff’s department retirement plan.
There’s a possibility that Judge Weaver could hand down an opinion that the proposed settlement is in violation of the Knox County Charter, as the law director has contended. If so the pension board might need to file an appeal or come back with another “settlement” that would need to go through the mayor and commission again.

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