Sullivan County

Settlement could come soon for former Sullivan County highway workers

Settlement could come soon for former Sullivan County Highway workers

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Some Sullivan County workers who were let go back in January could get their jobs back if a settlement is approved.

Sullivan County's attorney, Dan Street, has been working with the newly elected highway commissioner, Jim Belgeri. Now they have to get approval from the county commission to create two additional jobs at the highway department.

Seven Sullivan County Highway workers may be closer to a settlement after being fired in January. Sullivan County Commissioner Bryan Boyd says he's ready to put it behind them. "I was in favor, months ago, of settling," he said.

Boyd says one part of the possible settlement bothers him, and that's the part of adding two additional jobs to the highway commission. "We have forbidden all other departments from creating positions that have wanted to, so that would set a bad precedent," he said.

Boyd says adding new jobs could come at a cost for the county. "Probably dip a little more into the fund balance. I'm sure it wouldn't cause a tax increase because we already passed the tax rate," he said.

Sullivan County attorney Dan Street says he and the newly elected highway commissioner Jim Belgeri have been working together to come up with a solution. "He said that he would like to put three of the plaintiffs back to work as soon as September 2, when he takes office," says Street.

Currently there is only one opening at the highway department. "There's not enough positions at the highway department that are open to bring these three employees back to work, and so the county commission has to check off on opening a few positions," adds Street.

Street says one of the workers quit and he will be able to apply for jobs just like everyone else. The other workers will have priority when positions open up.

We found out the terms of the settlement would give all the workers who were let go some money. "The one that quit obviously is getting the least, because we feel like he quit and he has the weakest claim of all of them. But everybody's going to get something," says Street.

The timing is another question Boyd has because the newly elected commissioners will take office next week. "What if we vote for something and approve something that incoming commissioners don't like, and next week they take office?" he said.

We're told the commission is going to vote on the issue Thursday at the county commission meeting.

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