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County, city await fates of state bills

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:16 PM

Several different pieces of legislation affecting the area are making their way through the Tennessee General Assembly.

“There’s three bills happening concerning Wilson County or Lebanon,” said Rep. Mark Pody.

The first, Pody said, passed on the floor Wednesday, and affects department heads of the city of Lebanon.

The bill, Senate Bill 2608 and House Bill 2513, states that it “designates certain positions as ‘department heads’; authorizes the city council to discipline or terminate for cause department heads by majority vote instead of two-thirds vote; requires the city judge to be appointed by the mayor and approved by majority vote of the city council; permits city council to eliminate any department head for budgetary reasons; deletes the authorization to elect the city judge if an ordinance empowers the city judge to have general session powers; establishes disciplinary proceedings against the department heads and disciplinary appeals process; authorizes mayor and city council to issue verbal or written reprimands against any department head with no right to appeal; authorizes the mayor to hire the chief of police and chief of fire by designating such positions as department heads.”

Pody said that though this bill passed on the floor, it still has two more steps to go. It must be placed on the Senate consent calendar and the Governor must sign it into law.

According to Pody, another bill affecting Wilson County is one that authorizes the county to charge a $1 fee in addition to any regular ticket price at events at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. It also would allow a $1 fee for parking there. Proceeds from the $1 fees would then be used exclusively to fund the construction and operation of a proposed Expo Center.

Pody said it would next be opened up to the Local Government Committee to hear.

“We requested an Attorney General opinion on this asking whether or not it even needs to come through the legislature or whether the county has the authority to just do it,” Pody said. 

He said they were now waiting on the opinion, but if he doesn’t receive it in time he would be running the bill.

Finally, a bill that was just filed Wednesday could possibly increase the number of members of the Wilson County School Board of Education from five to seven, subject to local approval.

Pody said he hoped to have the first reading of this bill on the floor sometime this week and in a committee next week.

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