Citizens for Better Government
Blount County Tennessee
Hatcher Costs Blount County Another $50,000 – Mayor & Party Silent
The chaos that reigns in Circuit Court Clerk, Tom Hatcher’s office has cost Blount County another $50,000 and the county is not even trying to recover the money.
The latest episode involves Hatcher’s son Dustin, who worked for his father as a Blount County Magistrate. Blount County is paying $50,000 in damages to a minor to settle a lawsuit brought against Hatcher. According to the lawsuit and press reports, Hatcher coerced the underage girl to his office in the Blount County Justice Center and committed a “non-consensual sexual assault”.
When the news broke, Mayor Cunningham again tried to minimize the damage Hatcher continues to wreak on county citizens and his administration, saying: “I don't think there would be any liability on Blount County". Apparently, when the Mayor saw the gory details he changed his tune, because just over a month later he has paid out $50,000 of taxpayer money to silence this latest embarrassment to his administration. Unfortunately, Mayor Cunningham said nothing about Blount County filing suit seeking to recover the $50,000 from Hatcher. After all it was Hatcher that committed the heinous act – not the taxpayers.
The Circuit Court Clerk has certainly repeatedly demonstrated a complete lack of concern for the taxpayers of Blount County. He spent freely on perks for himself as Blount County taxpayers were enduring a double digit tax increase. He used County funds to buy a bogus college diploma. He ignored any reasonable nepotism policy by hiring his son to work for him. (His wife also works for Blount County.) He obviously failed to properly train and supervise his son.
These problems again demonstrate the desperate need for countywide policies particularly on nepotism and sexual harassment. When we called for such policies several months ago, Mayor Cunningham said we were: “dead wrong”. If he and the Bount County Commission had acted, the citizens of Blount County would not have had to pick up another $50,000 bill. We certainly would hope that the Mayor and the Commission will act now to put some basic policies in place.
Most reputable organizations would long ago have given the Circuit Court Clerk his walking papers. Yet, Mayor Cunningham has not even uttered a public word critical of his political crony. Isn’t it time for the Mayor and the Republican Party of Blount County to start setting some ethical standards for their members?