No, and they should be dismissed if they do.
27% (4 votes)
No, and they should reimburse the County if they do.
40% (6 votes)
Maybe...It depends on whether the vehicle is considered "compensation" under their contract and reported as income to the IRS.
7% (1 vote)
Yes, if it is clearly stated in the vehicle use policy of that department (and reported to the IRS)
27% (4 votes)
Sure, why not? Aren't they entitled to all the privileges of power?
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 15
Topics:

Vehicle Use Policy

OK, this is one of those topics that should be black and white and yet it is always shaded by grey. I am posting because I can not decide on the vote ballot which it should be. If the vehicle is used just before or just after duty related driving and the use does not add to the wear and tear or mileage on the vehicle, then I can not see the harm. Now, on the other hand, a truck used by say Animal Control that is not on duty on the week-ends, were to be seen driving a few miles from the animal control officer's home with boards loaded on it, on the week-end that he is building a deck at his house...You see, I am really struggling with this vote.

Wylamena

This is not a test

And you are thinking about it a lot more than our leaders have. Good for you...Bad on them!

I think a case can be made for all but the last option, which is apparently the option our County officials have picked.

The problem as it stands now, is that there IS NO vehicle policy and that has already led to what several citizens see as abuse of county vehicles. Photos were even published in the Roane County News paper. When I asked about this, i was told that there was only one instance of a vehicle being appropriated for personal use, but I am aware of several photos of the vehicle in question that would indicate otherwise.

I think the offender should reimburse the County for the inappropriate use and the money should be given to Ruby King, who was kicked out of her house so we could build a county jail.

It's easier to judge the driver without all the facts...

There are a number of county employees who, by nature of their job, need to take county vehicles with them many of the places they go. There are several details of the issue raised about the Building Inspector that were never reported in the paper, nor were they inquired about by the paper in all its great investigative reporting!

1) About the picture that was taken that got the "great scandal" started in the RCN: The individual had driven to the ballpark to watch his son play after a late county business call in deep east Roane county. His job ended in a location that had him 15 minutes from where his son was to play ball. Had he driven his county truck back home (in Rockwood) he would have put much more wear and tear on it than he did by driving to the ballgame just a few minutes away in Knox county. Nobody asked about that, however. The presumption of guilt was what drove the situation. That and an apparent personal vendetta, about which I'll comment later.

2) So the RCN runs the article and a letter to the editor, and follows up with an editorial, praising the man for such courage to stand up to the big evil corrupt county government. How fortunate are we to have such a stalwart investigative arm as the RCN. But WAIT! Did the RCN ask for any details before weighing in about this issue. Nah. Why bother, right? County government has to be wrong, and besides, we can seem like the big Knoxville media if we work to bring county government down! Wow - we have a chance to play like the big boys! HOWEVER: If they had asked (and if ANYBODY had asked), they would have found out that Roane County employees who have the use of county care because of being on call and various reasons PAY INCOME TAX ON THE GASOLINE THAT IS PUMPED INTO THOSE CARE. They're not just getting a freebie. It is accounted as income to them. That's not quite the evil that some would apparently be delighted to make it out to be. But the RCN, who has some obligation to present things fairly, somehow failed to ask a question about that.

3) The fellow whose great burden of civic responsibility started this whole deal has begun stalking this county employee, following him in the grocery store, watching his every move, hoping to find dirt.

4) This whole affair, because it was carried off in a half-informed, prejudicial manner, has got honest, hard working county employees really thinking twice about how the people for whom they work are treating them. They don't object to being honest. They don't object to accountability. But they do object to people assuming the worst, declaring guilt prior to a trial of any sort, and not even asking a question to find out details that could be exculpatory. With the kind of attitude many people are manifesting toward county employees, it makes it harder and harder to put their hearts into a job they feel sure they're only going to be maligned for, or for which they'll be subject to assumptions of corruption just because they work for the county.

To answer the unasked question, NO - I am not a county employee.

But I care about honesty, all the facts, and fairness rather than half-truths and assumption of guilt.

The "offender" isn't making a bunch of money off this gasoline in question, and is, in fact, paying tax on it as personal income. He does his job, and he owes the county nothing more.

Ruby King is a separate issue, and she was given all sorts of notice that the purchase had happened, that the county would be building a jail, etc. How far does one have to have one's head in the sand to not know that was coming? C'mon. Get real.

RB

Thanks for joining us, RB

We look forward to adding your thoughts to the discourse here.

Some quick thoughts on your comment:

Ruby King had a lease agreement. It was violated and the County had a hand in that. All the County had to do was buy it out, or actually, the landlord is probably obligated to do so in this case. I do not believe the County condemned the property and even had it done so, Roane County is obligated to obey the law. What good is giving Ruby King notice that the County is going to violate a citizens rights do?

This is a simple thing. The County and the Landlord should simply obey the law. I believe Mr. Largen's Column in today's paper actually agrees with me on this. I'm not a lawyer but I support a few. I do agree with Mr. Largen in that Ms. King should get a lawyer and approach both the County and her former landlord for restitution which seems owed to her. It won't be that much but would mean a lot to a single mom.

The problem with the vehicle use is all together different. In fact, according to the people I asked, there are several photos of the aforementioned vehicle at several different ballgames in several different locations.

Now...I don't have any axe to grind with anybody except for those who are supposed to manage the county's money and resources. To not have an official vehicle policy on personal use is nothing short of absurd in today's world. The County faces liability issues that go far beyond this particular case.

Let me give you a purely speculative hypothetical situation...

Suppose a County employee is using a County vehicle to drive to a bar. Your aforementioned excuses would still stand in this case. Now suppose the employee has a bit too much to drink and no City policeman is around to drive the employee home and the employee gets in the vehicle and drives off. Suppose and accident happens. In the absence of an official policy, I would believe the County would face serious litigation and liability.

Do you see where I'm coming from?

Thanks again for joining us at RoaneViews. I named it RoaneView(S) because it is a home for more ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints than just mine and I hope you will feel free to offer yours anytime.

Peace

Glad to be here, WhitesCreek

Thanks for the welcome.

I didn't mean to say or imply I'm against there being appropriate policies for the use of county vehicles. There are some, that are probably appropriate, but they are unwritten. So, that is the same as there being none. For example, the policy that those who use county vehicles like that have to pay taxes on the money that is counted to them as personal income. That's the way they do it, but I don't believe it's written. Probably should be. I know of counties (Blount for one) that are considered "progressive" that don't even have THAT extent of a policy about use of county vehicles (and they have LOTS more county vehicles in use by employees than we do).

That doesn't excuse it - two wrongs don't make a right. But by the same idea that two wrongs don't make a right, the stalking of the Building Inspector by this individual who is made out by the RCN to be some kind of hero isn't right because the Building Inspector may have used his vehicle inappropriately, at least in the view of some. Of course, without a policy, who's to say, as long as he didn't violate a law. So, again, you won't find me in the camp saying there shouldn't be policies.

BUT what I will say about those policies is they need to be realistic and reasonable - NOT based on a knee-jerk reaction that treats county employees as if they're all out to screw the county. Just call the slate clean, develop reasonable and realistic policies, make sure everybody knows what is expected of them, make sure everybody knows the disciplinary process if they violate the policies deliberately, and go from there.

What some folks don't realize is that grouse as taxpayers will about what the county employees make, none of 'em make what they would make exercising similar responsibilities working in the private sector. Most of 'em work there because they WANT to and they WANT to do a job for the county. So folks who devise policies need to do so with the right attitude. And the right attitude is not one that causes the employees to feel that they can't be trusted, that they are expected to do something wrong, and that they aren't respected and appreciated for their service.

That's my story - so far - and I'm stickin to it! L-)

RB

RB...

I think you're off base labelling a concerned citizen a "stalker." The news article paints a very different picture of two parents at their children's games, one driving his own vehicle and one showing up time after time in a County car.

A written policy with oversight would save problems all around.

What we've had from the County officials is inadequate to this point. The proper response might have been something like...

"Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Let me look into it and see what the circumstances are and if there is something inappropriate, I will deal with it acoording to policy. If there is no firm policy, then I will work on producing one that protects the County's interests."

I've been off base before...

But when that concerned citizen, who has already made his point and gained attention, continues to follow said employee, to the point of following him through aisles at the grocery store, etc, it does seem that it at least approached stalking.

I have absolutely NO quarrel whatever with your last paragraph. That would have been the wise response!

RB

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