Jarrell grievance dismissed by merit board

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer


A grievance filed by Knox County Sheriff’s Office employee Lisa Jarrell was dismissed by the KCSO Merit System Board of Directors Wednesday. She had filed a multi-count complaint over being transferred from the KCSO Human Resources office to the Corrections Department.

Jarrell’s grievance was accepted by the former merit council and the KCSO said it should never have been heard because it was filed beyond the deadline and the employee did not lose any salary.

The brief hearing opened and ended when Jarrell was asked if she would grant a waiver and release her medical records. She said she was not comfortable in releasing her medical information and declined.  Chairman Christopher Manning asked Deputy Law Director Myers Morton for advice. Morton said that not releasing the medical data meant the merit board could not discuss her records or proceed.

The board proceeded to a vote to dismiss her grievance with Manning, Kenny Boatman, Clarence Vaughn, Lindsey Willis and John Marshall voting to do so. Vice Chairman John Valliant voted “No” and Jim Wright Jr. abstained.

Morton said the dismissal by the board does not end Jarrell’s legal rights to appeal to a court.

“Ms. Jarrell’s grievance or complaint has never been clear and certain.  So far, she never articulated how she was somehow mistreated, and she did not ask for any remedy.  Of the voluminous papers she filed, she included her medical records and referenced medical matters. Before and up until yesterday’s hearing, she declined to sign a HIPAA consent form allowing the Board (and the Sheriff) to discuss or disclose her medical records and medical matters at a public hearing,” Morton told The Focus.

“I advised the Board there could be risk discussing her health matters publicly without her written consent to do so,” he said.

The board also heard Paula Taylor speak about realigning the merit system office and splitting some duties of an office manager among other employees. She said an advertisement for an entry-level employee will be posted.

Outgoing board member Jim Wright Jr. was honored for his service at Wednesday’s meeting. He has served on the board since 2016. Wright’s position is on the Knox County Commission agenda and applicants have been sought.