In a statement Wednesday afternoon, County Commission Chair Larsen Jay said, "I commend Mayor Jacobs for quickly initiating an independent investigation into this matter. © 2020 www.knoxnews.com. “In the interest of transparency, I believe a thorough and speedy investigation is vital," Jacobs said. Jacobs did not say the nature of the investigation, but said auditing firm Pugh CPA was brought in to further evaluate the situation. While Hair had some experience in politics — working for Bob Corker’s Senate campaign in 2005-06 and AIPAC in Washington, D.C. — he had most recently worked as vice president of business development for Tennessee State Bank. "I was aware they had recently purchased carts for both Recreation and to use at the Festival of Lights to allow constituents that were unable to walk the paths, the ability to ride," he said. Mission Statement. Hair’s brother, Brad, also serves as the mayor’s. Hair’s brother, Brad, also serves as the mayor’s executive assistant. To get White's pay above his subordinate's salary, Hair authorized the July 2019 bonus on top of the 2% raise given to all county employees, according to payroll documents secured by Knox News through a public records request. "We'll see what comes of it.". Hair was hand-picked by Jacobs to serve as chief of staff after he ran Jacobs’ out-of-nowhere successful 2018 campaign. If you enjoy Tyler's coverage, support strong local journalism by subscribing. James currently serves as director of parks. His explanation last week for his suspension was oddly timed. He worked in Washington, D.C., for a year as a “leadership engagement coordinator” with AIPAC, the powerful Israeli lobbying group. Share your thoughts in the subscribers-only conversation group. White was also a vice president at Tennessee State Bank at the same time. I encourage all parties involved to cooperate with the Comptroller’s investigation regardless of employment status.”. “Ethics are not ambiguous, and it is important that Knox County be above reproach,” he said. He said the auditing firm Pugh CPA was brought in to further evaluate the situation, but declined to comment further. While specific details are still being uncovered, I trust this investigation will be handled in a timely and transparent manner. Once it is complete, he said, the mayor will sit down with media members and discuss the findings. "My priority continues to be the business of Knox County.”. The two had been suspended with pay last week as the county launched an investigation into allegations that they had misused public resources. When Jacobs' office announced the suspensions Wednesday, the statement said there would be no further  comment until the county's investigation was over. support strong local journalism by subscribing, Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. Hair and White were placed on administrative leave on Tuesday. Donila confirmed that Dwight Van de Vate, the county’s community development director and a longtime county employee, is for the moment helping out in the mayor’s office to handle some of Hair’s administrative and managerial duties. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced Hair's resignation Monday morning, along with the firing of Parks and Recreation Director Paul White, who had been hired by Hair. Jacobs' office couldn't say why White's bonuses were handled the way they were, instead referring Knox News to Hair, who resigned Sunday after admitting last week he had borrowed a golf cart from Parks and Recreation for his wife to use after she broke her foot earlier this year. Both bonuses were approved by Chief of Staff Bryan Hair, who had also hired White, a former coworker at Tennessee State Bank, at an annual salary of $115,823. Jacobs declined Wednesday to say what was under investigation. Instead of adjusting the department’s salary budget, a one-time bonus is issued instead. But when the director is the one receiving the bonus, there is no additional approval, Harris told Knox News. The departures this week of two top officials in Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs' administration over the misuse of county equipment revealed an unusual bonus system that gives the chief of staff unilateral power to pay bonuses to department heads. "I'm looking forward to getting back to work.". Hair is one of the highest-paid county employees. "This was not only a mistake on my part, but a lapse in judgment," he continued. In November of 2017, Knox County voters reaffirmed their commitment to a robust parks and recreation … Hair is a graduate of Carson-Newman University who earned an MBA at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile. An MBA with a background in banking and politics, Hair served as Jacobs’ transition director and then was appointed as chief of staff when Jacobs took office. That never happened. Hair has been Jacobs’ right-hand adviser since the professional wrestler’s grassroots campaign in 2018, which somewhat unexpectedly landed him in the county mayor’s office. He also previously worked at Tennessee State Bank, according to his LinkedIn page. Meanwhile, Finance Director and Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Caldwell planned to ask  for a meeting with the State Comptroller’s Office, though he made no statement about why or whether it is related to the suspensions. borrowed a golf cart from Parks and Recreation, support strong local journalism by subscribing, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. There’s nothing more important than earning and maintaining the public’s trust. All rights reserved. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced Monday morning that his chief of staff, Bryan Hair, had resigned and Paul White, the county’s senior director of parks and recreation, had been fired as investigations continue into possible unethical behavior. He then moved back to Tennessee in 2007 and went into banking, working for several area lending companies until ending up at Tennessee State Bank, where he was a vice president and commercial banker. UPDATED 6:30 p.m. 10/14/20 with statement from County Commission Chair Larsen Jay. In the interest of transparency, I believe a thorough and speedy investigation is vital. Bryan Hair, chief of staff to Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and one of the highest-paid employees in county government, has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation, along with Paul White, the county’s senior director of Parks and Recreation. "I'm glad they're taking action and being transparent with it," he said. "I was aware they had recently purchased carts for both Recreation and to use at the Festival of Lights to allow constituents that were unable to walk the paths, the ability to ride," he said. He makes sure the money is available, but the finance director does not have the authority to deny the request, county spokesperson Abbey Harris said. Hair was handpicked by Jacobs to serve as chief of staff after he ran Jacobs’ out-of-nowhere successful 2018 mayoral campaign. The investigation is expected to take up to several weeks. Troy is originally from Franklin, Tennessee where he earned various accolades throughout his adolescence. All County officials found to have acted inappropriately should be held accountable. She is dedicated to doing the right thing and helping all the programs succeed. Former Parks and Recreation Director Paul White, whose firing was announced Monday, was paid two bonuses since he was hired — a $4,200 bonus in 2019 and a $5,000 bonus in 2020. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has accepted Chief of Staff Bryan Hair’s resignation and dismissed Senior Director of Parks and Recreation Paul White. "I'm looking forward to getting back to work.". Formerly known as a Tennessee Titan fullback. The investigation is being conducted by the county's external auditors. My priority continues to be the business of Knox County.”. Knox County chief of staff and Parks and Rec director placed on paid leave during investigation, support strong local journalism by subscribing, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Jacobs did not say why they were under investigation, with the statement specifying only that the mayor was “made aware of potential wrongdoing.” The accounting firm Pugh CPAs, the county’s external auditor, is conducting the inquiry. If you enjoy Tyler's coverage, support strong local journalism by subscribing. She wanted to be able to get around their West Knox County neighborhood and a new golf cart would help. All rights reserved. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ chief of staff Bryan Hair and senior director of parks and recreation Paul White were placed administrative … Thanks to Knox County voters passing a modest parks and trails levy in 2008, new parks and programs and much progress has been made on developing the Heart of Ohio Trail. Knox County chief of staff says he was suspended over borrowed golf cart owned by county. Hair told Knox News before he resigned the investigation was related to his family's personal use of a county-owned golf cart to ferry his wife around after she broke her foot earlier this year. In his resignation letter — sent Sunday night and obtained by Knox News through a public records request — Hair apologized to Jacobs for the “incident involving a golf cart” because it has been disruptive to county government and the mayor personally. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced Monday morning that his chief of staff, Bryan Hair, had resigned and Paul White, the county’s senior director of parks and recreation, had been fired as investigations continue into possible unethical behavior. Additionally, White was set to get a $5,000 bonus in July this year but asked if it could be paid out early. Home / Parks & Recreation. Jacobs also announced additional leadership changes. It is rare but not unheard of for the county to approve one-time bonuses for employees. Hair and Parks and Recreation Director Paul White were suspended with pay Wednesday by County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who said the two would not be working while the matter was under investigation. ... More:Knox County chief of staff and Parks and Rec director … White is a former co-worker of Hair’s at Tennessee State Bank and was brought in by Jacobs as senior parks director. Once the investigation is complete, county spokesman Mike Donila said, the mayor will sit down with news organizations and discuss the findings.

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