Caryville officers lose raise

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By Beth Braden

Caryville’s new police officers will not get a raise despite having satisfactorily completing their 90 day probationary period.

 “When he [new mayor Chris Stanley] came in, he basically told us he’s gonna take our raise away and he really didn’t give us a reason why he’s taking our raise away,” said former Caryville Police Officer Mike Caudill.

Caudill joined the force in August and completed his 90-day probationary period in late October. When hired, he earned $10 per hour.

“I was promised by the former mayor and the chief that I would get a raise,” Caudill said.

Stanley said the raises will not be given because former mayor Robert Stooksbury did not let the council know of his plans.

“The election was on the sixth [of November]. I won the election on the sixth, and on the seventh, the previous mayor gave out some raises,” Stanley said.

“I don’t know anybody on the council that knew that besides the previous mayor, and I just found out about it myself.”

Stooksbury said it was “not true” that he gave out those raises on the Nov. 7.

According to Stooksbury, he was approached by Caryville Police Chief Johnny Jones in late October about giving Mike Caudill and Gary Johnson a raise of $1 per hour. Johnson was sworn in on the same day a Caudill and also earns $10 per hour. Stooksbury said he gave Jones permission to increase the men’s pay. The town’s charter allows for the mayor to give or take away raises.

The raises would have had no effect on the bottom line of the town’s budget, according to Stooksbury.

Stanley disagrees.

“Our budget is set in July so usually people get their raises in August. The way it’s set up now, everybody gets across the board raises. It’s not individuals,” Stanley said.

At $11 an hour, Johnson and Caudill would still make well below what the other four officers make. When Freddy Walker left in the summer, he was making $15 an hour.

“I’ve got a family to take care of. I’ve done nothing wrong,” said Caudill. “I actually got a letter of appreciation from the chief.”

During Caryville’s November meeting, Jones praised the officers.

“They’re doing a great job,” he said.

Caudill has taken a position with the Jacksboro Police Department and will begin after the first of the year. While he intended to work until Dec. 28, he said he will be out of work for the next month.

“I just got a phone call from my chief and he said the mayor called him and said I am finished,” Caudill said Tuesday.