Sullivan mayor told budget director position needs to be made full-time appointment

J. H. Osborne • Oct 7, 2012 at 11:05 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — No matter how duties are delegated among staff in Sullivan County’s accounting department, when it comes to law-designated responsibilities of the “accounts and budgets director,” the buck ultimately stops at one person — Gayvern Moore.

Moore was appointed interim accounts and budgets director by Sullivan County Mayor Steve Godsey several months ago upon the retirement of Larry Bailey.

As required by law, that appointment was confirmed by the Sullivan County Commission.

Some commissioners have since questioned when a full-time appointment would be made.

Godsey has said he is holding off on making such an appointment, opting to instead to continue with Moore as “interim” director — in part to save money.

In an e-mail last week, a public record obtained by the Times-News, County Attorney Dan Street warned Godsey that Moore’s “interim” status “will suffice as a temporary appointment; however, the position needs to be officially filled within a reasonable amount of time.”

“I am not saying you have to hire a new person to fill this position,” Street wrote in the e-mail. “However, I am saying that Sullivan County must, as required by state law, have a person officially appointed as the director of accounts and budgets. The County Fiscal Procedure Law of 1957 and the County Budgeting Law of 1957 both set forth the requirement of such a position and the responsibilities of such position. The responsibilities of such position are numerous, specific, and quite important; and only one person correctly appointed as the director of accounts and budgets is ultimately responsible and accountable for the performance of these duties.”

Godsey responded that he has discussed the matter with the state’s comptroller’s office “and they have indicated to me that they are OK with what we are doing for the present time.”

Bailey departed just as what turned out to be a long and sometimes contentious budget development process began. After that process finally concluded, several commissioners credited teamwork within the accounting office and lauded Moore, Allan Mahaffey and Bertie Hobbs for sharing the workload to get the job done.

Godsey’s response to Street noted that team approach as well.

Contacted about the matter by the Times-News on Friday, Street said delegation of duties is fine, but ultimately Moore is the responsible individual when it comes to the requirements of the job of director of accounts and budgets.

“It’s not just a formality,” Street said. “We have to have somebody in that position. That person has responsibilities. There is no happy medium. It’s black and white. We have to have a director of accounts and budgets. That’s required. I’m not saying he has to hire a new person. But someone has to have that title. ‘Interim’ implies it needs finalization. It fills the void. But there’s the perception something else is forthcoming.”

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