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Terminated Mt. Juliet worker rehired

Laurie Everett mtjulietnews@tds.net • Updated Jul 29, 2013 at 9:12 AM

A former Mt. Juliet city employee who was terminated in 2010 was rehired as the city's new public affairs director, the former employee confirmed Wednesday.

"I'm just very excited and ready for a new start," said Dennis Buchanan.

Buchanan was the city's parks director for several years. He was a part-time employee for six years and a full-time employee for 10 years.

He said he was hurt on the job in 2010 while setting up for the Mt. Juliet Star event. He had subsequent surgeries, was out of work and eventually let go, with city officials saying he was unable to perform his duties, according to Buchanan.

Recently, the city commission agreed to pay Buchanan $30,000 to settle the dispute, but Buchanan recently received a summary judgment, which indicated he should pursue proceedings on the matter, he said.

An executive meeting at City Hall on Tuesday night resulted in Buchanan regaining employment with the city.

"I just want to move forward," said Buchanan. “I'm excited. I would not call it a settlement; I would call it an agreement."

He said he filed the summary judgment.

"We met in the middle," he said.

He said he will get full benefits, and whatever settlement money would mostly go toward lawyer fees. A call to Buchanan’s lawyer, Tara Swafford, was not immediately returned.

City Manager Kenneth Martin also confirmed Buchanan's hire on Wednesday night. He said it would be soon.

"I'm excited and looking forward to it," said Martin. "It's a win-win situation. I've worked with Dennis many years."

Martin said he could discuss details of the hire and referred to city attorney Gino Marchetti.

A call to Marchetti was not immediately returned.

"I welcome this," said Martin. "I think it is a chapter behind us and a move forward. Things in the past get smaller and smaller."

He said Buchanan's duties would include resource development, public functions, working in-depth with the public, among other things.

A call to Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty was not returned. Vice Mayor James Maness was also unavailable for comment.

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