Jellico employees upset they didn't get their paychecks, council

Jellico employees upset they didn't get their paychecks, council and mayor blame each other

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Jellico Mayor Les Stiers Jellico Mayor Les Stiers
By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter


CAMPBELL COUNTY (WATE) - City employees in Jellico are upset after not getting their weekly paychecks on Monday, because city council didn't approve them during its meeting last week.

Several of Jellico's 15 employees say they're frustrated that city council and the mayor can't seem to work together to pay the city's bills.

"I've got bills I was supposed to pay this week, so I don't know what' I'll do," said Jellico Fire Chief Mark Bell.

"I can't afford to go to work and not get paid," said Robert Rookard, a Jellico firefighter and dispatcher.

Aggravated, disgusted and discouraged are just some of the strong words city employees have for the people running the city.

"They need to get it together, start working together. We're the ones suffering," Bell said.

"It's getting to where the city of Jellico, the residents and the people that live in Jellico are not getting the services that they deserve," Rookard said.

The six council members didn't approve the payroll for this week because they say it went over the state-mandated weekly budget of $9,930. The state sent them a letter last week saying they won't approve any payroll budget over that amount. 

"It's not that the council doesn't want to pay the employees, we've just got to stick to what the state said $9,930," said Wanda Perkins, a city council member.

But Mayor Les Stiers disagrees and says the council needs to take more of a leadership role.

"Sometimes it may exceed the $9,930 a week. This council needs to vote to exceed that, not wait and let the state mandate no you can't go over $9,930," Stiers said.

But council members blame the mayor, saying he keeps going over the city's budget by not reducing four of the employees work hours from 40 to 32 a week.

"It's a very hostile environment because we're getting tired of voting one way and he's not abiding to what we vote," said Vice Mayor Venita Johnson. 

City council is scheduled to meet again Thursday afternoon at 4:30, but members say they will call an emergency meeting by Tuesday morning if the mayor doesn't to try to get this sorted out before then.

The city has until July 1st to come up with a new budget.

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