Knox County Auditor Richard Walls
By Mike Donila, WBIR
Knox County commissioners on Monday finalized a retirement package between the board and long-time county internal auditor Richard Walls that will pay him four months worth of salary.
It takes effect Sept. 3 and also includes single insurance coverage for 18 months.
Walls, a county employee for almost 13 years, makes $92,700 annually. His severance pay would amount to almost $31,000.
By signing the contract, Walls cannot pursue legal action against the county due to his termination.
"This is the best deal and I'm glad it worked out this way," said Commissioner Amy Broyles.
During the board's work session last week, officials forwarded the proposal on without recommendation to Monday's voting session. Initially officials had contemplated whether to fire Walls, something the Audit Committee recommended in July.
At the time committee, members called his work "limited." Only panel member Mary Kiser, who resigned in response to the recommendation, defended him. She said the accusations were unfair and Walls was never given a chance to defend himself.
The internal audit department, a $257,000 a year operation that includes three employees, routinely looks into and analyzes county finances and various county departments. It reports directly to the County Commission, but also answers to the Audit Committee.
In other county news:
The commission also approved the new retirement plan for the Knox County Sheriff's Office dubbed the Sheriff's Total Asset Accumulation Retirement plan, or STAR, which affects law enforcement and corrections officers hired after next Jan. 1.
Current officers would keep their traditional pensions.
The new plan requires employees to contribute 6 percent of pay and the county puts in 10 percent. In addition, the county puts another 2 percent into a medical reimbursement plan to offset medical premiums and costs for the retirees from the time they leave the job until they're eligible for Medicare.