The Mayor’s Secretary makes over $50,000 annually

In reviewing the County payroll, I saw that Amy Cowden the Mayor’s secretary made $52,549 for FY14.  The Budget shows less that $50,000 so I sought clarification for her pay.  The answer is below. She is paid from two cost centers, one being the Mayor and the other being Accounting.

It is mind boggling that someone who answers the telephone and writes post it notes got paid $28.55 and hour and is now making $26.94 and working more hours.  What a waste of taxpayer resources.  Two people could be employed for this amount of money.  She only works 37.5 hours a week and makes over $50K annually.  Where in the private sector does a secretary make this kind of money?

I wrote the Mayor and Finance Director and asked them to reconsider her pay rate.  Thus far, I have not received a response.


Below is the three year information you requested on Amy Cowden.

Prior to August 19, 2013, Amy worked 30hrs/week. That resulted in a 65hr/pay period due to our pay dates falling on the 15th and 30th of each month.

Amy’s rate of pay on July 1, 2013 was $28.55/hr. for a 65hr/pay period.

On Aug.19, 2013,  she began working a 37.5hr/week and that converts to a 81.5hr/pay period. Her rate of pay was $26.94/hr. for the 81.25hr/pay period.

Fiscal year 13/14 is the year the non-recurring compensation adjustment was given to employees and that is the reason for the variance in line #161.

Cost Center FY          2014-15          FY 2013-14          FY 2012-13

101-052100-162        7,750              6,749.20

101-051300-161        44,800            45,800                 43,549.92

Total                       52,550            52,549.20             43,549.92

The purpose in the salary split is as a result of Amy working for the Accounting Dept. as a result of staff realignment due to a retirement in December 2013. It made economic sense to do so rather than hire an additional employee.

If you have further questions please let me know.



Randy Vineyard, IOM

Blount County Finance Director

Another Victim of the War on Drugs

By FBastiat

WBIR had a report last night about a 7-month old East Tennessee girl who suffers from infantile spasms. The family believes that cannabis oil will help treat her condition. However the drug warriors in Tennessee have made it illegal for anyone to decide what to put in their own bodies or to decide on their own how to help their family. Because of this the family is contemplating moving to Colorado, where cannabis is legal, in order to find some treatment for their daughter. From the story:

“To use the oil from the plant, not even to smoke the plant or pervert the plant, just to use the oil from the plant that God made, something is wrong with that?” [the father] said.

Lawmakers said it would be a challenge, if not impossible, to make cannabis legal by the time the family moves to Littleton by Halloween. Josie’s mother, Stacie, said she has no choice.

“We want to see her crawl, we want to see her talk, and at this point, staying in Tennessee we can’t see that. That’ll never happen,” [the mother] said.”

So, the next time you think it’s yours or the government’s role to decide for others what’s best for them, just remember: You, nor the government, own them and they are free (or should be free) to exercise the free will granted to them by God.

Pit Bull Spay/Neuter $20 special in August at PPAW in Greenback

$20 is a real bargain.  If you know someone with a pit bull please encourage them to take advantage of this special.  If someone doesn’t have the $20, please email me at  Replace at with @.

PPAW offers low cost spay and neuter services.  Vouchers and specials are frequently available.

Thou shalt vote Republican hypocrisy

Local County government has been dominated as long anyone can remember by people who claim to be conservative Republicans.  A machine has existed with the help of Republican party officials.  These people have preached thou shalt vote Republican, but this August election has shown that many of those people don’t practice what they preach when the people they don’t like win Republican primary races.

Peggy Lambert, Republican National Committeewoman, criticized the eventual winner of the May Republican primary for Juvenile Judge, Kenlyn Foster, for not being Republican enough.  Lambert says she’s backing Foster in the general election saying, “I always support the Republican ticket.”  Evidence shows otherwise.  Lambert donated $150 to Gerald Kirby’s general election write-in campaign (page 10 of 53).  Kirby lost the May Republican primary to Jamie Daly by 23 votes.  He launched a write-in campaign to try to take the seat back and spent $4552.80 in less than 1 month for a race that many spend less than $1,000 to win (page 1 of 53).

Several party officials and Republican office holders spent time hanging out under the write-in Kirby tent, including Republican National Committeewoman Peggy Lambert, State Committeewoman Susan Mills, Republican State Representative Bob Ramsey, Republican Circuit Court Judge David Duggan (his wife Kari served as Treasure of the Republican Women’s Club Blount County) and current Male Vice Chairman Rob Goddard.  There were several other Republican officials who chose to visit the write-in Kirby tent.  Most of them did not speak to the Republican primary winners who were also at the Courthouse talking with voters.


Republican National Committeewoman Peggy Lambert under the write-in Kirby tent

Exclusion and favoritism is nothing new.  All 21 of Blount County’s Commissioners are Republican, but for about a year the Blount County Republican Party chose to exclude Commissioner Jim Folts from it’s website.  When Tona Monroe, a delegate for Ron Paul, was asked by the Ron Paul campaign to speak to the Blount County Republican Party about Paul’s presidential candidacy the Chairman Susan Mills called and asked for the campaign to send someone else to speakSeveral people were prohibited from attending a Republican meeting in Feburary 2013.


State Representative Bob Ramsey (R) under the write-in Kirby tent

The Blount County Republican Party gave Gary Farmer $5,000 (page 3 of 55) for the general election, presumably because he has a Democratic opponent.  That’s a lot of money for a Commission race.  Why weren’t other Republican nominees given similar amounts?  Kirby spent over $4,500 in July on his write-in campaign.  Where’s the Party money to help Daly, the Republican winner?

4 years ago several independent candidates ran for County Commission and the Republican Women’s Club donated to all the Republican nominees who had independent challengers (pages 7-9 of 59).  It doesn’t appear that any money was given to the Republican winners of the May primary, who face write-in challengers even though a write-in challenge is an independent challenge.  The Women’s Club invited several candidates to speak at it’s July meeting, including Susan Mills who is unopposed in her race for State Executive Committeewoman, but did not invite Jamie Daly and Karen Miller who won their primaries and are facing write-in candidates.  The favoritism and actions of Party officials and their friends during early voting leads one to conclude that those controlling the Republican party in Blount County aren’t happy with the outcome of the May 6th primary election.


Republican Judge David Duggan at the Kirby write-in tent

Triple the compensation for State legislature

Gee, this comes as a big surprise.  State legislators get triple what their actual pay is.  The State legislature must have been watching Commissioners Gary Farmer, Kenneth Melton and Bob Ramsey who voted to triple their pay without having Commissioner pay raises on the Commission agenda.  Bob Ramsey got promoted to the State legislature in all his glorious stupidity.

It’s time to throw out career politicians Gary Farmer and Kenneth Melton.  If you live in Commission District 4, please vote for Neal Hutchens and if you live in District 10 (Louisville) write-in Larry Henry for Seat B.