WaterBoard7.15

The property behind the County Administration Building is intended to be the future site of a $1.2 million facility for the Water Department.

Trousdale County’s Water Board now has a vacancy after the resignation of chairman Craig Moreland.

Moreland’s resignation comes amid questions about work his company, Tennessee Trucking, was doing on the Water Department’s new building. But all parties have stated there is no wrongdoing on anyone’s part, while acknowledging that things might have appeared differently.

Water Department General Manager Tommy McFarland said the contractor, Phoenix Commercial Builders, had subcontracted various parts of the project. Tennessee Trucking has been removing dirt from the site, which is currently being prepped for construction.

“He was just doing prep work, removing topsoil and getting the ground ready for construction,” McFarland said. “There’s a primary contractor and (Craig) probably bid on what he did, but it was not with us.”

Moreland said he had in fact been considering stepping down from the Water Board for some time, as the demands on his time are becoming harder to juggle.

“My original intent wasn’t to avoid any conflict of interest, because I knew there was no conflict to begin with,” Moreland said. “(Phoenix) called me up looking to hire somebody local. I knew what it could look like in the eyes of the public if they didn’t know the whole story…

“Everything’s getting too busy for me and it’s become a major burden. It was something I’d been looking into before this came about, so it was time.”

County Mayor Stephen Chambers acknowledged the appearance of a conflict of interest in an email to The Vidette, saying, “He and I spoke a couple of weeks ago and I advised him to contact the County Attorney.”

Branden Bellar, who serves as Trousdale’s county attorney, told The Vidette he had reviewed the situation at the request of the mayor and Moreland and found nothing to suggest any problem.

Chamber added that Moreland notified him on Aug. 30 of his intention to resign from the Water Board, and then submitted a formal letter on Aug. 31.

Chambers said he hopes to be able to submit a replacement to the County Commission for its approval at its Sept. 27 meeting. The Water Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 28 and would be presided over by vice chair Heather Bay until a new chairman is named.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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