The judge executive in Knox County says he's shutting down the county road and sheriff department at noon Friday. He says it's his only choice after three county magistrates have refused to show up to county meetings.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and again Thursday of this week, not enough magistrates have shown up as the clock ticks towards meeting time, making it impossible for the Knox County Fiscal Court to conduct official business.
"We cannot hold a legitimate meeting without having a quorum," said Knox County Judge Executive Raymond Smith.
Judge executive Raymond Smith says Magistrates Guilio Cima, Carson Gilbert, and Willard Bargo say they'll be able to come by Monday, but he says that will be to late to extend a deal with Pacer Health which is set to buy the Knox County Hospital. If the deal falls through, Smith says the county loses a million dollars.
"This county will cease to exist as we know it," Smith says.
"We're not trying to sabotage the deal with the hospital. We're for the hospital, Pacer Health," Cima says.
But Cima says he has not been able to get a proper meeting agenda.
"We decided before we could attend another meeting, we needed an agenda in its entirety so we could review the agenda and review the items," Cima says.
"So not showing up is not how you handle county business," Smith says.
The disagreement is holding up money owed to dozens of election workers.
"We're getting about fifty calls a day, those wishing to be paid," Smith said.
And no one can get their money until at least four of six county leaders show up to a meeting.
The county judge is holding another meeting at six Friday night and is having sheriff deputies hand deliver meeting agendas to the magistrates' homes. He says he has to shut the road and sheriff departments down at noon Friday because the county has not been able to approve money for gas.