Sullivan schools hire fired Hawkins County finance director for interim job

Rick Wagner • Aug 1, 2013 at 11:22 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Former Hawkins County school system finance director Myron Dale, fired June 17 after IRS payments for that school system went unpaid, is working for the Sullivan County school system in an interim capacity.

And the school board is unwilling, at least for now, to increase pay by $10,000 to attract candidates for a full-time senior accountant position that an employee recently left for a higher-paying job.

Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennie Thursday afternoon confirmed that Dale is working for the Sullivan County schools.

“He’s actually doing some contract work for finishing out the year,” Yennie said.

Finance Director Leslie Bonner and Yennie recently told the Board of Education that the system had lost a key accounting person to another higher-paying position, and Bonner expressed interest in beefing up the pay for that position.

But BOE members at a work session Thursday evening said they wanted the posted position back to $37,986 instead of the $43,000 to $47,000 range Bonner had proposed and had already been advertised.

A proposal for the $10,000 increase will be removed from the draft agenda for Monday night’s BOE meeting.

She said some folks literally laughed at her for seeking a senior accountant at that level of pay and said someone at East Tennessee State University’s accounting program suggested $48,000 to $53,000 was the “low end” for such a position.

However, BOE member Randall Jones said the system doesn’t increase the pay for teaching or principal positions people leave for higher-paying jobs elsewhere.

He added that such pay increases should have been discussed during the budget process, not after.

Jones and other BOE members said the only way to know the results of the current pay grade is to advertise the job and see what applicants it draws.

Bonner recently said her “right-hand” person left May 31, in the middle of the budget process.

According to LinkedIn, Dale worked from July 2011 to June 2013 for the Hawkins County Board of Education, and before that worked at Ascendent LLC, Eastman Chemical Co. at Blackburn, Childers & Steagal PLC, the last one as an intern.

He is an ETSU and Tennessee High School graduate.

Among miscues attributed to Dale in Hawkins was his failure in November 2012 to make a $629,000 payment to the Internal Revenue Service for school employee federal withholdings.

Dale also failed to make an IRS payment again this past March.

Overall, Hawkins County’s school system has been assessed $166,000 in IRS fines because of those two missed payments, although the fines are under appeal.

“Myron (Dale) is a great guy and did a wonderful job, but this board has policies that have to be followed,” Hawkins BOE Chairman Randy Collier said after the June 17 firing.

Hawkins Director of Schools Charlotte Britton at the time said the missed payments were an “unfortunate mistake,” in no way intentional.

Staff Writer Jeff Bobo contributed to this report.

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