Richard Walls investigation sparks Sunshine Law complaint

Auditor Richard Walls investigation sparks Sunshine Law complaint

Posted:
The controversy surrounding the push to fire Knox County Internal Auditor Richard Walls has now spawned a Sunshine Law complaint. The controversy surrounding the push to fire Knox County Internal Auditor Richard Walls has now spawned a Sunshine Law complaint.
"Our evaluation of it is there is a question of whether there was some clarity in the actual topic being discussed. My opinion is it was satisfactory," said Law Director Armstrong. "Our evaluation of it is there is a question of whether there was some clarity in the actual topic being discussed. My opinion is it was satisfactory," said Law Director Armstrong.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The controversy surrounding the push to fire Knox County Internal Auditor Richard Walls has now spawned a Sunshine Law complaint, as commissioners discussed his retirement settlement.

Knox County Commission discussed Walls' retirement settlement at a work session Monday, but made no recommendation ahead of next week's meeting.

However, Walls, Commission Chair Tony Norman, and Law Director Richard "Bud" Armstrong have all signed off on the memorandum, which takes effect in two weeks.

The retirement agreement takes effect September 3 and will give Walls four months of severance pay as well as 18 months of insurance coverage.

This all comes after an initial recommendation by the audit committee to fire Walls because they say they were not satisfied with his work.

"There were the findings that the audit committee thought needed to be discussed by the commission," said Commissioner Dave Wright.

Wright is on the audit committee, along with commissioners Amy Broyles and Ed Shouse. After a presentation from Audit Chair Dr. Joe Carcello, all three voted to recommend terminating Walls.

However, the recommendation to fire Walls was instead replaced by an early retirement settlement prepared by the law department.  

"I asked David Buck if it was possible to work with Richard to come to an agreement, early retirement agreement, so he wouldn't have to end his career this way," said Commissioner Amy Broyles.

Questions are now being raised over two meetings held by the Audit Committee when  discussing Walls' future as internal auditor.

A citizen complaint led to a letter to the audit chairman from the state comptroller, saying it appears a violation of the sunshine law may have occurred.

Law Director Bud Armstrong says he sees no violation.

"Our evaluation of it is there is a question of whether there was some clarity in the actual topic being discussed. My opinion is it was satisfactory," said Armstrong.

There were questions raised by commissioners that went unanswered Monday over how Audit Chairman Dr. Joe Carcello came to his decision to recommend Walls' termination.

Commissioner and Audit Committee member Amy Broyles said those questions could be answered by Dr. Carcello at next weeks meeting when commission will vote on the retirement settlement.

Dr. Carcello did not return calls from 6 News.

The retirement settlement is all pending a vote by county commission next week.

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