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Cookeville Councilman Met With Attorneys On Mayor’s CRMC Hiring

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Councilman Met With Attorneys On Mayor’s CRMC Hiring

Cookeville City Council Member Charles Womack said he has spoken to attorneys about the hiring of Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton by Cookeville Regional.

Womack said the meeting happened about a month ago.

“I’ve been going to bring this for about a month,” Womack said. “We had a legal meeting a month ago, and I talked about it then. That is my extent. So, I think the problem is there is a perception of impropriety.”

Womack said he wants to seek outside counsel on the hiring due to a conflict of interest with City Attorney Danny Rader. Rader gives legal advice to the the city while also serving on the hospital’s Board of Trustees.

“I think that is a conflict of interest,” Womack said. “He was offering legal advice, and he is offering the city council legal advice. He is on two different situations. A hospital board member and then giving legal advice to the city council. We need outside input.”

Shelton was hired in January after a normal job posting and interviews with CEO Paul Korth. Womack said he has not reached out to Korth regarding the hire.

Womack said Shelton’s qualifications and how he received the job is what he wants answered. When asked if Shelton’s hiring looked bad, Womack said yes.

“The mayor has been on the hospital board for the last six years,” Womack said. “And the administrator of the hospital offered him a high level job at the end of the year. The people that have called me up have said that is just a perception of impropriety.”

Shelton resigned his position on the Cookeville Regional Board of Trustees when hired in December. Vice Mayor Laurin Wheaton was appointed by Shelton as a replacement. Shelton has since said he would remove himself from any Cookeville Regional votes that involved the council.


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