Commission changes who can serve on Finance Committee

During the Anderson County Commission meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, Commission voted 14-2 to approve making changes to the wording of the finance committee resolution the county adopted last year.

At that time Commission voted to switch from using the 1957 Financial Act to the 1981 Act to better handle the county’s budget process.

In the resolution commission adopted at its January Commission meeting in 2016 to adopt the 81 financial system, the resolution’s wording stated simply that “a financial committee shall be established and confirmed at the next meeting of the County Legislative Body” with no specifications on how this committee would be formed other than to say the committee would work in consultation with the “Accounts and Budgets Director, Purchasing Agent, and the Anderson County Schools Chief Financial Officer.”

The county’s finance committee’s functions are to establish and approve policies, procedures, and regulations implementing an efficient financial system for administering county funds.

According to the T.C.A., under the financial system of 81 the county financial committee shall consist of the county mayor, supervisor of highways, director of schools, and four members elected by the county legislative body, with the specification that the four elected members “need not be members of the county legislative body.”

Anderson County’s original resolution adopting the 81 law did not include this wording--wording that some commissioners have argued should be included so it would align more closely with state law.

Commissioner Steve Mead, (Dist. 8 ) is one of the commissioners spearheading this move to change the wording to reflect state law.

Mead explained at the Commission meeting on Monday this change would only be “an amendment to something we already have in place,” meaning it would be a minor change as opposed to a major change in how things work in county government.

“The four elected members need not be members of the county legislative body,” stated Mead, citing language found in the Tennessee Code Annotated, the official compilation of statutes, codes, and laws of the state, on how county government should structure a finance committee under the 1981 Financial Management Law.

The 1981 Financial Management System is one of two optional general law statutes a county may adopt to centralize its purchasing functions.

What prompted commissioners to make this amendment to the resolution is the recent move of Myron Iwanski from commission to serve as the county’s interim trustee.

Shortly after the county adopted the 1981 law early last year, commissioners elected Iwanski to serve as chairman on the finance committee. Iwanski was one of the major proponents for switching to the 1981 finance law.

Now that Iwanski is no longer on the commission, it has left commissioners divided on who should replace him on commission, or whether he should be replaced at all.

Some commissioners are in favor of Iwanski keeping his position as chairman on the finance committee while also serving as interim trustee.

Those questioning the move to change the wording to keep Iwanski on the committee raised the issue at the county’s finance committee meeting in July.

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank asked if it was appropriate to have Iwanski, who is no longer a commissioner, serve on the finance committee.

Commissioner Chuck Fritts (Dist. 1), expressed his opposition to the move to amend the wording.

Fritts argued that it was commission’s original intent to have four commissioners serve on the finance committee so they would have greater input in the county’s budget process, and said that changing the wording would be contradictory to their goal of having more involvement in budget.

“There are other commissioners on this commission who are just as qualified [to serve on the finance committee],”asserted Fritts.

“I think it’s a bit presumptuous to think the only people who qualify are on this commission,” Mead countered. “The motion would be to amend the resolution to comply with state law.”