Summer Intern program axed; money diverted at commission’s discretion

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JACKSBORO—County officials will eliminate the long-running Summer Intern Program and use its funding to finance the commission’s discretionary fund.
Discretionary funding—which gave each of the 15 commissioners $4,000 to distribute to local organizations—was eliminated for the 2012-13 fiscal year to avoid a tax increase.
Commissioner Sue Nance believes it was a mistake to eliminate the discretionary fund. She said it was the only money commissioners have direct control over.
Commissioner Terry Singley believes the earmarks allow the commission to help more citizens than the Summer Intern Program.
“You got 15 interns,” Singley said. “How many kids we got in the schools that I could help with $4,000?”
Commissioner Tom Hatmaker stood in opposition to the committee’s decision.
“The school system’s got a $60 million budget to educate kids with,” Hatmaker said. “We got an opportunity to take a little money and train them (students) in specific skills — a career field. The discretionary money belongs to the taxpayers, it doesn’t belong to us.”
In July, commissioners abolished the Summer Intern Program—which has operated since June 1995.
Monday, officials diverted the  $12,795 allocated for next year’s program to the commissioners’ discretionary funds—providing them each with $853.
The decision passed with nine yes votes. Hatmaker was the only official to vote no. Commissioners Steve Rutherford, Wendell Bailey, Rusty Orick, David Adkins and J.L. Davis were absent for the vote.
The decision is pending approval from the Campbell County Commission.