Sisk responds to questions about comp time pay in Knox trustee's office

Sisk responds to questions about comp time pay in Knox trustee's office

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Fred Sisk served as chief deputy in the trustee's office before becoming trustee. Fred Sisk served as chief deputy in the trustee's office before becoming trustee.

By HARLOW SUMERFORD
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The Knox County Trustee's office is being investigated by the Tennessee Bereau of Investigation, but Trustee Fred Sisk said emphatically he does not believe he is the focus of that investigation.

"No, no, no. There was something that went on in the office that wasn't right and we are working to get the matter resolved," he said. "You have got to remember I identified it, took it to the law director, took it to the district attorney."

While all of that may be true, Sisk served as chief deputy in the trustee's office before becoming trustee. During that time he was paid for comp time.

Records show Sisk was paid more than $18,000 for comp time in 2006.

Sisk says he accumulated that time over a number of years. "Number one, I didn't pay that. That was the former office holder."

Sisk does admit he received the payments. However, Sisk says he did not ask to be paid for comp time, but the policy of the office allowed it.

The personnel plan's policy on overtime reads, "The decision as to whether to grant compensatory time or overtime pay rests within the discretion of the trustee."

Prior to when Sisk took office, that discretion rested with former trustee Mike Lowe, who worked in the office more than 30 years.

Sisk says he is eliminating the comp time policy and will now require employees to take time off instead of being paid for extra hours.

The investigation into the trustee's office seems to have damaged the relationship between Lowe and Sisk. Sisk says the two have not spoken in months.

"Sometimes you have to make the decisions that are, maybe, unpleasant, but have to be done because they are the right thing to do. Thats what we have done," says Sisk.

6 News spoke with Mike Lowe's attorney, Greg Isaacs, about Sisk's remarks. In regards to the policy in place during Mike Lowe's time as trustee, Isaacs confirms that comp time was allowed.

"This was a written policy of the office of the Knox County trustee, not a policy of Mike Lowe individually," Isaacs said. "It is also significant to note, the Knox County personnel policy is a mirror image of the Knox County trustee's policy."

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