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Archives 07-21-2010

News

Arbitrator giveth, School Board taketh away
Abby Stephens wins Fairest of the Fair
OCN wins three UT-TPA awards
Injuries caused by carbon monoxide, not gas
Allons Post Office broken into last week

Arbitrator giveth, School Board taketh away
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Band Director Shannon Pirtle won in arbitration against Overton County Board of Education in a decision by arbitrator Patrick Hardin on Tuesday, July 13, but the School Board voted to overturn that decision in action taken during the Monday, July 19 regular monthly meeting.

According to information brought out in the arbitration, Pirtle taught grades 5 through 8 at Livingston Middle School and Rickman Elementary School in the 2008-2009 school year, and then in that school year, he and music teacher Josh Trent began offering pre-band course to third and fourth grade students at five schools. For 2009-2010, Trent was assigned to Livingston Academy, Greg Dingwall was assigned to teach music in grades K-4 at all five elementary schools, and Pirtle was assigned to teach music to grades 5-8 at Allons, Hilham, Rickman, and Wilson elementary schools and at Livingston Middle School. Pirtle filed a grievance challenging the change.

The grievance was heard by arbitrator Hardin on Tuesday, July 13, with attorney Chris W. McCarty representing Overton County Board of Education and Virginia A. McCoy representing Overton County Education Association. The arbitrator was tasked with deciding if the dispute was not arbitrable because it was time-barred, and if arbitrable, did the Board of Education violate the negotiated agreement between the parties by imposing on Pirtle an involuntary transfer without proper procedures, by requiring of him an unreasonable amount of interschool travel, or by failing to provide him with adequate material required in daily teaching responsibility?

Hardin denied Pirtle’s allegation of being required to engage in an unreasonable amount of interschool travel, but upheld two other points.

The arbitrator’s award reads, “The grievance is sustained insofar as it alleged that no volunteer was solicited for the transfer, that seniority was not followed in selecting the employee to be transferred, and that the transfer was not preceded by the required meeting of employee, Director, and principals involved.

“As a remedy, the parties are directed to seek agreement as to the content of the Band and Music courses for the 2010-2011 school year. In the absence of some such agreement, the Board shall restore Mr. Pirtle to his assignment at Livingston Middle and Rickman schools for the 2010-2011 school year, either with or without the added assignment to continue the teaching of the Band course at Wilson Elementary School.”

On the subject of equipment at Wilson Elementary, the arbitrator’s award states, “The grievance is sustained insofar as it alleged that the Board failed to provide essential supplies for the daily teaching responsibilities associated with the Band course at Wilson Elementary School. If the Board elects to continue the Band course at that school, it shall formulate and announce its plan for offering that course in compliance with its obligation to support the course, as provided in the negotiated Agreement.”

When the School Board brought up considering whether to accept or overturn the arbitrator’s decision, attorney Chris McCarty addressed the Board and maintained that the arbitrator should have thrown the grievance out from the onset because it was not filed in a timely manner.

“It’s the position of the director, then and now, that the arbitrator got it wrong in denying that motion,” McCarty said.

The opinion handed down by Hardin states, “There was no evidence, for example, that Mr. Pirtle did, in fact, have defined, assigned, duties at each of the five schools during Spring semester 2009. Neither is there any evidence that the Board complied with its statutory and contractual obligations by giving notice to Mr. Pirtle of a January 2009 involuntary transfer, and then taking the procedural steps, such as seeking a volunteer, required by the Agreement in such cases. The absence of that evidence, in particular, is most telling. It reveals rather certainly that whatever the Board and Mr. Pirtle thought about the January 2009 change, they did not regard it, on either side, as an involuntary transfer governed by the Agreement.

The involuntary reassignment of Mr. Pirtle occurred in August, 2009, not January, 2009. It follows that the grievance was timely filed and this matter arbitrable.”

On seeking a volunteer, McCarty told the Board, “A meeting was had with Mr. Pirtle. It was discussed. Neither he nor Mr. Trent volunteered for this position. Mr. Dingwall didn’t volunteer for this position. And it’s the position of the director, those are the only three people available to teach it.
“Those are the only three people in the music program.

“We didn’t have the money, as it was stated to the arbitrator by Mr. Eldridge, to create a new position or to hire a new position or to post a new position because it’s not in the budget.”

Of the Wilson equipment grievance, McCarty told the Board, “That equipment he’s complaining about would only be at Wilson Elementary.”

He went on to add, “We’d also say quite frankly, and quite bluntly, it’s not the arbitrator’s business to set the School Board budget, and he’s going beyond his scope quite clearly in trying to do so in telling you to spend the money on band equipment that you spent $60,000 on two years ago.

“Mr. Eldridge testified quite clearly, Mr. Pirtle was told repeatedly, ‘You have the option of taking any equipment you want to that school if you feel like those kids need it.’

“It is the property of the school system, not one school.”

On that subject, the arbitrator’s opinion states, “The allocation of $1,000 to the entire music program for the school year was patently inadequate to meet the need of a new program at Wilson. On this point, it is no answer to say that the music program received $60,000 in new money a few years ago. That money was spent, and the instruments it provided were distributed among the schools. Wind instruments, in particular, cannot be collected and redistributed every day, or every week, or even every year. In short, most instruments committed for use at other schools are not available for use at Wilson.”

Hardin’s opinion later states, “The Board must decide whether to continue the Band course at Wilson.”

After McCarty addressed the School Board, Overton County Education Association President Kelly Montgomery asked the Board to uphold the arbitrator’s decision.

In three separate motions and votes, the School Board voted to overturn the arbitrator’s decision, arguing that all of Pirtle’s grievances were untimely under the grievance procedure section, contending the allegation of involuntary transfer, and arguing against the allegation that the School Board failed to provide essential band supplies at Wilson Elementary. A two-thirds vote of the entire School Board was necessary to overturn the arbitrator’s decision, and members Kelly Hill, David Sadler, Dolphus Dial, Houston Robbins, Larry Looper, Lenard Ledbetter, Sam Pendergrass, Howard Miller, and Ray Smith all voted for overturning it. School Board member Mark Peek was absent.

In other action, Lorraine Whited’s letter of retirement as attendance secretary at Livingston Academy was accepted, as was Gary Ledbetter’s letter of retirement as supervisor of Coordinated School Health.

A 100-day contract was approved for Gary Ledbetter, with Board members Sam Pendergrass, Lenard Ledbetter, and Houston Robbins opposed.

A 100-day contract was approved for Rick Moles, with Board members Sam Pendergrass, Lenard Ledbetter, and Houston Robbins opposed.

A 100-day contract was approved for Marcia Johnson, with Board members Sam Pendergrass, Lenard Ledbetter, and Houston Robbins opposed.

In executive action, Director of Schools Matt Eldridge took the low bid of Loss Prevention Systems Inc. of $149,659 for access control systems, which will include card swipe locks at main entrances to all of the county schools and alarms on the fire doors.

Also in executive action, the following low bids were accepted by Director Eldridge:

•Copy machine toner from N&L at $150 per quantities of 1 to 40 and $135 for quantities of 41 to 100.

•Copy paper from Staples at $24.99 per case.

•Bus tire/recapping from Livingston Limestone at $231.97 for new 1100/22.5 radial with rock compound 14-ply bus tire, $246.71 for new 1100/22.5 radial with rock compound 16-ply bus tire, and $140 for recapping 1100/22.5 radial carcass.

•Asbestos maintenance from Environmental Consulting for 2010-2011 year at $1,400.

•Pest control from Universal Termite and Pest Control at $10,380.

•Propane services from Tri-County Propane at $1.289 per gallon.

•HVAC filters from B&B Filters.

•Antifreeze from Coleman Oil Co. at $47.70 per 6-gallon case.

•Oil 10W30 from Coleman Oil Co. at $32.50 per 12-quart case.

•Diesel oil 15W40 from Coleman Oil Co. at $11.50 per gallon.

•Diesel oil 15W40 from Coleman Oil Co. at $34.50 per 12-quart case.

•Automatic transmission fluid Dexron 3 from Coleman Oil Co. at $32.50 per 12-quart case.

•Batteries, 1 year warranty, from Coleman Oil Co. at $82/$115.90 for 930 CCA for small buses/trucks, $149 for 9040 Group 4, and $177 for 9080 Group 8.

•Oil filters from Coleman Oil Co. at $9.90 for NAPA 7182, $6.35 for NAPA 1607, and $19.50 for NAPA 1799.

•Fuel filters from Coleman Oil Co. at $6.90 for NAPA 3358, $16.90 for NAPA 3621, $10.50 for NAPA 3585, and $24.50 for NAPA 3630.

•Light bulbs from Harris Electric at $26.75 per case for 4-foot fluorescent F32 T8/TL 741, $40.80 per case for u-shape fluorescent FB 34/CW/6/EW, $26.75 per case for 4-foot fluorescent GE F32 T8/SP35 Eco, and $27 per case for 4-foot fluorescent F3412/CW/RS/EW.

No bids were received for fire extinguisher inspections, so a company will be hired by the school director.

The meeting adjourned.



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Abby Stephens wins Fairest of the Fair


Dewain E. Peek photo
Winners in the Overton County Fairest of the Fair Pageant held Saturday, July 17 are, front row from left, Miss Photogenic Lauren Brooke Davidson, daughter of Jim and Jennifer Davidson, Miss Congeniality Devin Leigh Thompson, daughter of Bennie and Lori Thompson, 1st Runner-Up Ashlee Noel Maynord, daughter of June Maynord and the late Darrell Maynord, 2010 Fairest of the Fair Abby Lee Stephens, daughter of Samantha Stephens and Eddie Stephens, 2nd Runner-Up Savannah Alexis Vaughn, daughter of Tim and Tonya Vaughn, Miss Best Dressed Jordan Lee Paul, daughter of Kelly and Stephanie Paul, congratulated by 2009 Fairest of the Fair Becca Savage and, back row, Tonya Hill, representing Bank of Overton County, Fair Board President David Robbins, and Fair Board Vice President Ronnie Smith.


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OCN wins three UT-TPA awards
Overton County News won three awards in the UT Tennessee Press Association 2010 Newspaper Contest.

Awards were presented Friday, July 16 in five categories based on average weekly circulation, including small and large daily and non-daily newspapers. Illinois Press Association judged a total of 1,468 contest entries from 76 TPA newspapers, of 124 members.

“North County Lines by Bob” placed 2nd in Best Personal Humor Column.

Bob commented, “Precise writing requires editing and perceptive readers. Thank you.”

Overton County News placed 5th in Best Special Issue or Section for the Livingston Academy Centennial issue.

Overton County News placed 5th in Local Features.

Overton County News competed in Group II, which is for newspapers with a weekly circulation of 5,001 to 15,000.



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Injuries caused by carbon monoxide, not gas
Livingston Police Chief Greg Etheredge has clarified a report regarding injuries related to a gas leak at 713 Oakley Street in Livingston on Thursday, July 8.

“There have been some concerns raised related to what type of gas leak that occurred at this location,” Chief Etheredge stated. “The gas that we were referring to was carbon monoxide (CO), not natural gas. Natural gas is still the safest, most efficient way to heat your home or business.

“We regret any confusion as to what gas we were referring to. This was why citizens were urged to obtain and use carbon monoxide detectors in their homes and businesses.”

Statistics indicate that there are a number of deaths and thousands of injuries each year in the U.S. related to carbon monoxide. Chief Etheredge offered the following additional information related to carbon monoxide, its effects, and detector information for carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when the gas, CO, is inhaled. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, highly poisonous gas that is produced by incomplete combustion. It is found in automobile exhaust fumes, faulty stoves and heating systems, fires, and cigarette smoke. Other sources can include wood burning stoves, kerosene heaters, improperly ventilated water heaters and gas stoves, and blocked or poorly maintained chimney flues.

Carbon monoxide interferes with the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. The results can cause headaches, nausea, convulsions, dizziness, fatigue, loss of coordination, rapid heart rate, mental confusion, and/or death by asphyxiation.

Consumber Product Safety Commission recommends a detector on each floor of a residence. At a minimum, a single detector should be placed on each sleeping floor, with an additional detector in the area of any major gas burning appliances, such as a furnace or water heater. Installation in these areas ensures rapid detection of any potentially malfunctioning appliances and the ability to hear the alarm from all sleeping areas.

In general, carbon monoxide detectors should be placed high, near the ceiling, for most effective use. Detectors should not be placed within 5 feet of gas fueled appliances or near cooking or bathing areas. Consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions for proper placement of a detector within a given area.

Carbon monoxide detectors range from $30 to $50 on average.


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Allons Post Office broken into last week
Allons Post Office was burglarized between Tuesday night, July 13 and Wednesday morning, July 14, and the United States Postal Inspection Service is looking for the person or persons responsible.

U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person responsible for the offense. Burglary of a post office is a violation of Federal Law: 18 USC 2115.

Other businesses in the vicinity of the post office were also burglarized, according to authorities.

Anyone with information related to this crime may contact postal inspectors at 1-888-876-5322 or call the United States Postal Inspection Service at (615) 377-7610.


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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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