Kingsport Times-News: Hatchett axed: Rogersville water superintendent fired amid probe into missing funds

Hatchett axed: Rogersville water superintendent fired amid probe into missing funds

Jeff Bobo • Aug 14, 2017 at 6:30 PM


ROGERSVILLE — A month after suspending Water Superintendent Shawn Hatchett amid an investigation into missing funds, the Rogersville Water Commission voted Monday morning to fire Hatchett.

The July 18 vote to suspend Hatchett with pay was preceded by nearly an hour of discussion.

Monday's vote to fire Hatchett was preceded by no discussion.

Water Commission Chairman Ed Pace told the Times-News after Monday's meeting, however, that firing Hatchett was "proper at this time."

"After the period of time we've had him out, we've had other problems develop in the system itself that have to do with the function of it," Pace said.

During the week of July 10, Hatchett reportedly informed the Water Commission that he had lost $69,000 in cash receipts that he was supposed to have deposited in the bank.

Hatchett reportedly stated that the funds were taken from an envelope in his vehicle.

An ongoing Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into the missing funds was launched on July 14.

On July 18, the Water Commission held a special called meeting and voted to suspend Hatchett without pay.

On Aug. 8, the Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen considered a proposed ordinance abolishing the Water Commission and placing the responsibilities of the Water Commission with the BMA.

That ordinance failed by a vote of 2-3 with one abstention. None of the three aldermen who sit on the Water Commission voted in favor of the ordinance. Mark DeWitte and Craig Kirkpatrick voted no and Eloise Edwards abstained.

This past Thursday, the BMA held a special called executive session with City Attorney Bill Phillips that was held behind closed doors.

Phillips told the Times-News after Monday's Water Commission meeting that Thursday's executive session was to discuss "pending or potential litigation" and he couldn't discuss the Hatchett situation due to the ongoing investigation.

Also during Monday's meeting, the Water Commission accepted the resignation of Commissioner Bill Pearson, who will continue to serve as interim superintendent.

Phillips noted during the meeting that Pearson cannot serve as a water commissioner while also serving as a paid interim superintendent.

Mayor Jim Sells said during Monday's meeting that he will appoint a new water commissioner to replace Pearson in time for the commission's next meeting on Sept. 12.

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