Update: Commission discusses future of Hillcrest West, school board zoning changes

12:15 AM, Mar 23, 2010   |    comments
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Knox County Commission spent hours debating several topics Monday night, including the future of a decertified nursing home.

Future of Hillcrest West

County commissioners decided to give Hillcrest West 120 days to make improvements, then to present its case to the commission for keeping its contract with the county.

The commission also wants to wait to see if the facility regains its certification before taking up the issue again in July.

Hillcrest West lost Medicare and Medicaid certification in February due to history of below-average quality of care scores, but it can re-apply for certification in the coming weeks.

All of its patients who received federal benefits have since moved to other facilities.

Many families of patients at Hillcrest West have said the facility has improved recently under new management.

Debate over Moore's position on Board of Zoning Appeals

A short time later, some commissioner fired words across the room in a discussion concerning ousted commissioner Scott Moore.

Commissioners threw their best pitch for and against kicking Moore off the Board of Zoning Appeals. The debate took a dramatic turn when Commissioner Richard Briggs summed up Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert's opposition to the move.

"I think there are folks all around this table who are conflicted, who are mutual friends of his," Lambert said.

"It gets back to the same business that Knox County Government's been accused of for many years. That it's a good ole boys network and by golly, we're not going to judge our friends," Dr. Briggs countered.

Lambert demanded an apology for Briggs' statement and was met with silence.

The drama ended when Lambert became emotional and was asked to leave the room.

The commissioners decided to give Moore a couple of weeks to prepare a defense. He will then be asked to explain why he should keep his position.

Possible school board zoning changes

Another vote taken Monday night may change who represents Knox County residents on the school board.

Commissioners are working to align the commission and school board districts.

So no matter what commission district a resident lives in, their school board member would be elected from the same district.

That change will move on to a second reading.

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