Snead council again rejects former chief Kent’s request for overtime pay




At the end of its latest regular session, the Snead Town Council reaffirmed its previous decision to deny payment to former police chief Tim Kent. Kent, who led in the Aug. 26 town mayoral race, has requested payment for 642.5 hours of alleged overtime.

As reported in November 2005 and April 2006 newspaper accounts, the council rejected the validity of Kent’s claims, while forwarding the matter to town attorney Alex Smith.

Kent, through Vestavia Hills attorney Scott Gilliland, filed suit against the town in federal district court in October 2007. That suit seeks payment, discussed in the 2005 and 2006 meetings as between $9000 and $10,000. The suit also seeks reimbursement “not limited to an award of costs, attorneys’ fees, and expenses.”

A Nov. 30, 2005, The Blount Countian article, referring to the council’s Nov. 28 meeting, reports that town clerk Rae Ware held that “after examining time cards she seemed able to account for some 280 hours that might qualify as possible overtime.” The council, however, alleged then and in a later April 10, 2006, session that Kent, as its salaried chief, could not earn overtime. Kent had resigned as chief during the month prior to his original request.

After opening its latest council session, Sept. 8, councilmen quickly recessed into executive session to discuss “pending litigation” with Smith and Birmingham attorney Donald Scott Jr. Scott, of Donahue and Associates, specializes in municipal law and workmen’s compensation among other areas. Early into the approximately 30-minute executive session, councilman Mac Kent, brother of the former chief, excluded himself from the discussion.

The council conducted its regular business after the executive session. Councilman Curtis Simoneaux made the motion to deny Kent’s request in final action prior to adjournment. Later in the week through Ware, Mayor Curtis Painter declined comment on the case, as did Kent himself. When contacted, Kent told The Blount Countian he had had no knowledge of the council’s latest action and deferred comment to his counsel.

Chief reports on Subway suspects

In his report, police chief Chuck McBrayer noted two of the three suspects in the robbery of the town’s local Subway franchise have confessed to the crime. The remaining suspect has declined extradition from the Sevierville, Tenn., jail, where he is currently held on separate charges. McBrayer contends the robbery appears related to several others and that he will likely need to travel to Tennessee to meet with the third suspect.

The chief also reported his and another officer’s completion of a training class in “combat Spanish.” The class purports to assist law enforcement officers in dealing with investigations involving Hispanic speakers.

In council action, McBrayer gained approval to pay for repairs on one of his department’s cruisers; air conditioning on the vehicle has gone out.

Utilities matters

The council authorized utilities supervisor Jeff Whited to purchase an LED bar for one of his department vehicles. The light bar will permit greater visibility for employees when working near streets and highways. Members also approved purchase of a new truck with a movable spotlight for the department. The approval requires Whited accept the “best” price.

Budgets

The council amended its 2008 budget to reflect higher than anticipated expenses. Ware informed The Blount Countian the town has enjoyed increased revenues and additional funds through the payoff of previous warrants. She submitted a possible 2009 budget for councilmen to examine.

Councilman Dale Snead missed the Sept. 8 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town senior citizens building.