Jewell resigns as WEMA director

Wilson County Emergency Management Agency Director John Jewell resigned Friday following a disciplinary committee review of his involvement in a wreck in June.
Aug 2, 2013
Wilson County Emergency Management Agency Director John Jewell

 

Wilson County Emergency Management Agency Director John Jewell resigned Friday following a disciplinary committee review of his involvement in a wreck in June.

Jewell said he would stay with the agency he has directed for the past five and a half years for about 30 more days.

“After a review of my recent accident near Watertown on June 26 by the disciplinary committee, meetings with Mayor Randall Hutto and political pressures, I have chosen to resign,” Jewell said in his resignation letter. “The past five and a half years I have had the pleasure of being at the agency have been challenging, exciting and rewarding.”

Hutto said he learned of the resignation Friday morning through an inter-agency email he received that included the information.

“That’s all I have,” Hutto said. “I don’t have a letter of resignation on my desk.”

Hutto said a disciplinary committee meeting was planned Friday at 1 p.m. to discuss Jewell’s case, but was modified given the circumstances. He said the meeting, closed on conditions to discuss personnel matters, could include plans to replace Jewell.

“It’s up to [Hutto] if I will serve any longer than [30 days],” Jewelll said Friday. “I will be a part of the day-to-day operations until I leave.”

Jewell said he became the target of a disciplinary committee investigation following a four-vehicle wreck near Watertown where he was rear-ended.  

“We have a disciplinary committee here at the agency,” Jewell said. “In the event I am involved, the mayor sits in on my behalf.”

But this isn’t the first time Jewell has had issues with accidents. He said he’s had three wrecks during his five and a half years as director and one was in a parking lot.  

In May 2011, Jewell was placed on administrative leave without pay after he was involved in a minor accident and charged by Lebanon police with "failure to exercise due care."

At the time, Officer Wayne Howard said Jewell was backing up to give a vehicle pulling a trailer more room to negotiate a turn at Spring and South Cumberland streets and didn't see a car behind him on his right.

Jewell's pickup truck struck the car and caused minor damage. No one was injured.   

Jewell said at the time any WEMA employee who is in an accident in a county vehicle is given a breath test and faces a WEMA disciplinary hearing.

Hutto said at the time such cases usually result in a 10-day suspension without pay and would include any administrative leave days already served.

On Friday, Jewell said he didn’t have any immediate plans following his stint as director.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I do not have any immediate plans for another job at this time. I didn’t wear a cape, but I had a good time.

“I have lived at Watertown all of my life. It is my intention to continue to live in the community where I have lived all my life.”

Jewell was appointed WEMA director in 2008, replacing Jerry McFarland.

He formerly served as chief of Watertown Fire and Rescue. He is a graduate of Cumberland Junior College and earned a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

 

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