One Council member votes against exploring pension for all Metro employees

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. –– It’s a big problem for Metro and one that costs Moore County quality employees, according to multiple department heads. On Monday night, all Metro Council members except one voted in favor of a resolution to allow the state to study expanding pension benefits to all Metro Moore County employees.

Pensions date back to 1974 in Moore County when the school system originally voted to extend state pension benefits to all full time employees. In 1982, county officials voted to provide pension benefits to all elected officials. Since then, it’s often been discussed by multiple departments like the Metro Sheriff’s Department, Highway Department, and EMS whose employee currently get excluded from pension benefits.

“We’re actively losing employees in my department due to this,” explained Metro Sheriff Tyler Hatfield. With former sheriff Mark Logan in the audience to support his successor, Hatfield went on to explain that the Metro Sheriff’s Department recently lost a 15 year employee to a surrounding county due to the county’s ability to pay more and offer retirement benefits.

During open discussion of the issue, Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis explained that Moore County is the only Middle Tennessee county to not extend retirement benefits to all employees.

“The only other county in the entire state that doesn’t offer them is Houston County and they don’t offer retirement to any county employee,” Mayor Lewis added.

The study will allow the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System to provide Metro Moore County with defined costs for funding current employees before they vote on whether to move forward with the plan to extend retirement to all employees.

“If we’re losing employees because of this, I think its a good idea to explore it,” said Metro Council member Bradley Dye.

“Let’s take care of the people who take care of us,” added Metro Council member Sunny Rae Moorehead.

The cost of the study is $1240 and that fee will be paid for with state grant money, according to Mayor Lewis.

At the roll call vote, all Metro Council members except Peggy Sue Blackburn voted in favor of moving forward with the study. Gordon Millsaps and Denning Harder were absent from the meeting. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}