When I became a member of the School Board, I knew Knox County faced serious challenges. I've devoted my 40 year career to educating our children and served my last six years as a teacher under Superintendent, Jim McIntyre. I have seen first hand why, in 2014, 70% of teachers believed Knox County was no longer a good place to teach or learn. I took office to change that statistic and give students the education they deserve.
I don't have a law degree, have lawyers in my family, or own a business with a lawyer on retainer. So, I sought legal advice from the Knox County Law Department as anyone serving in Knox County government should. I found that Bud has an open door policy for officials and citizens alike. He always takes my call and meets with me when I have questions. As a new board member I found Mr. Armstrong to be knowledgable, patient, kind, articulate, and most of all respectful. He always refers to what the law says as he explains the responsibilities and limitations of the Board.
With Bud's advice, we have corrected several Board policies, including:
- Unenforceable side agreements between Superintendent, Jim McIntyre, and the School Board.
- Illegal hiring of an employee by the Superintendent at a salary of $90,000 without approval of County Commission or the mayor (both of which are required).
- Illegal acceptance of grants by the Superintendent without approval of County Commission.
- Illegal provisions in the Superintendent's contract that attempted to override the School Board's authority to evaluate his performance.
I also support Bud Armstrong as a citizen. His leadership has saved the county millions of dollars.
- He created the In-House Delinquent Tax Department which saved $200K per year in administrative costs and increased delinquent tax receipts by $11 million
- He saved Knox county $100K per year by creating a Workers' Compensation Department
- He saved Knox County $2.5 million by refusing to settle nuisance cases.
- Saved tax payers more than $1 million by bringing outside legal work in house.
Finally, Mr. Armstrong graduated from the University of Tennessee with BA and MS degrees and Columbia University with a Ed.D degree in management science. After a 30-year career with TVA he received his law degree. Mr. Armstrong is an unassuming man, who is confident in who he is.
This is a personal account of my working relationship with our current law director and the law department he manages. It's not enough to be highly educated and a good lawyer--which he is. If you cannot work well with others--and inspire them to do their best each and every day--then you cannot manage a law firm the size of Knox County's. We have seen that recently in the leadership of Knox County Schools.
I ask that you vote for Bud Armstrong for Knox County Law Director.