Information from WYSH Radio
A specially appointed chancellor has ruled on a seemingly routine propane gas contract awarded last year that became controversial when some county officials learned of a possible conflict of interest.
Last spring, the county awarded a propane gas contract to Blossman Gas Incorporated to supply propane to the county school system after it had gone through the Purchasing Committee. Scott Daugherty, the manager of Blossman’s Knoxville location, is an Anderson County resident and serves on the Purchasing Committee.
When this particular contract came up, Daugherty told fellow committee members he was employed by Blossman and recused himself from the vote. Blossman’s bid was the winning proposal, and the committee approved the deal, which was also later approved by the full County Commission.
Shortly after the Commission vote, however, some county officials became concerned about the possible conflict of interest posed by Daugherty’s inclusion on the Purchasing Committee and voted the following month to rescind the contract.
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank sought a chancellor’s opinion, and Anderson County Chancellor Nicki Cantrell recused herself from the case.
Knox County Chancellor Michael Moyers heard the case and last week ruled that because Daugherty is a salaried employee of Blossman who receives no commission or bonus based on the contract in question, or any other contract, he received no “personal beneficial interest,” and no conflict existed.
The chancellor wrote in his opinion, filed last week, that “Mr. Daugherty’s employment with Blossman Gas has no bearing on the validity of the Blossman contract.” That cleared the way for the deal to be reinstated, but commissioners on Monday voted to table the issue until next month so that they can read the legal opinion, which they did not receive until shortly before this month’s meeting, for themselves.
Some question whether or not Daugherty’s previous employment by a competing bidder may constitute a conflict, but as far as the question before the court, the deal has legal approval.
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