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Overton Executive Says Mileage Should Not Be An Issue, Wasting County’s Time

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton Executive Says Mileage Should Not Be An Issue, Wasting County’s Time

Overton County Executive Steven Barlow said his mileage reimbursement should not be an issue, and the controversy surrounding it is getting in the way of county business.

The County’s Policy Committee and the Budget Committee have already passed his request for $4,500 in an annual reimbursement. But the County Commission voted 8-5 Monday night to table paying Barlow’s mileage until the Policy Committee could reassess the mileage. Barlow said sending this back to the committee is a waste of the county’s time and resources.

“They said there’s discrepancies on this,” Barlow said. “It has went through two committees and was picked apart like a piece of fried chicken of trying to find fault in those. In those committees there’s ten different people. There was only one person per committee that voted it down. The other ones voted it through, because they didn’t find anything wrong with it.”

Barlow said the amount covers a year. Barlow said he has tried to get the county to vote on paying him mileage throughout this time, but they continued to put off voting on the issue.

“I think they are going to try and coach some of the ones on the committee to turn it down, but it passed it this month,” Barlow said. “What they’re going to try to bring it back to them next month to try and talk them into turning it down? I don’t know what’s going on, but something’s up.”

Barlow said the funds to reimburse him are covered by the County Executive budget and would not come out of general funds. Barlow said he wants the board to vote on this, so they can put this behind them and get back to doing county business.

“I understand that you might not have voted me in,” Barlow said. “I might not be the guy that you wanted to be here, but I am the guy the people voted in, and they’re expecting you to work with me, and I’ll do whatever. Let’s just get along. Let’s do what’s best for the citizens of this county, and let’s get to doing county business the right way it needs to be done. I don’t know, I’ve begged them to give me a shot, to give me a chance. It just seems like my hands are tied behind my back, because I work hard on things, but everything I do, it just seems like it don’t go anywhere.”

Barlow said this particular issue started when the county vehicle he was driving broke down. He said when he told the board the vehicle was in no condition to drive, he was accused of lying by a board member. Barlow said it came down to the board member and himself driving the vehicle together.

“We got a mile down the road, and he said, ‘this thing has no power, it won’t go nowhere’,” Barlow said. “I said I tried to tell you. So, I got two witnesses knowing this thing is tore up. I’ve had my maintenance man look at it, he said he couldn’t fix it. I had him take it around to all these shops, and all the shops said they cannot diagnosis it because there’s no check engine light on it.”

Barlow said it is not uncommon for county employees to use their own vehicle.

“I sign every month mileage to county employees for driving their own vehicles, and I don’t understand why that I sign theirs and they get paid for driving their personal vehicles, but it seems a little personal when I can’t get reimburse for the mileage that I have to drive with my own vehicle when I’ve begged them over and over and over get me a car or pay me mileage which ever one you want,” Barlow said. “I don’t care, but we have to do something.”

The current policy in Overton County is mileage can be paid as long as no county vehicle is available to drive. Barlow said the Policy Committee is in the process of revising that policy.

“All the counties in our area, in the Upper Cumberland, I got all the counties travel policies and brought it to the policy committee and said we are the only ones that have county vehicles,” Barlow said. “It doesn’t make sense when you can pay 60-something cents a mile versus paying all these car payments, all the insurance payments, all the ware and tear, all the breakdowns.”


The post Overton Executive Says Mileage Should Not Be An Issue, Wasting County’s Time appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.