Commission Seeks Job Assistance From Governor

Huntsville, TN (2010-02-16) The Scott County Commission has approved two resolutions penned by two from the county legislative body requesting job assistance from the State.

With County unemployment rates consistently topping 18 percent over the past 12 months, and with the news of looming layoffs in local industry, Commissioners Paul Strunk and Mike Slaven each submitted separate resolution for the Commission’s consideration Monday night, asking Governor Phil Bredesen and James Neeley, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, to use funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to create a Job Stimulus Package for Scott County. Since the passage of the ARRA in Washington, D.C., the State of Tennessee has used funds from the stimulus package to stimulate the local economy in other counties with persistently high unemployment rates.

On February 4, 2010, Armstrong Flooring announced it would be idling a major portion of its Oneida operation, displacing up to 260 employees that will find themselves out of work on April 9, 2010. Great Dane Trailers, along with Quality Control Batteries of Oneida, announced layoffs of 29 other employees the same day. With these job losses, unemployment in Scott County is expected to top 22 percent by the end of April.

During discussion of the resolutions, many Commissioners addressed concerns of local citizens that the Commission was not doing enough to bring jobs to Scott County. Commissioner Leonard Bertram declared, “I know everyone on this Board would do anything to bring jobs here.” County Mayor Rick Keeton also expressed his willingness to entertain any proposal. “If anyone has any leads, please get on the phone to us,” Keeton implored.

Keeton also acknowledged that his office had received information from the State that Great Dane Trailers had notified them of a pending layoff of its remaining workforce in March.  The company apparently cited the loss of a contract with Home Depot for its decision.

The Commission passed both resolutions by a vote of 11-0, with Commissioners Odeva Byrd, Dennis Sexton, and Clyde Zachary absent. The measures will be forwarded to State Senator Ken Yager and State Representative Les Winningham, in the hope they will support the County.