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SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — City leaders in South Pittsburg have decided to reverse some recent decisions involving an employee hire and the Princess Theatre.

At the June meeting of the South Pittsburg City Commission, City Administrator Gene Vess said he was "tasked" to examine the employee records of city hall worker Carolyn Case when he started the job on May 30.

Case was abruptly fired in a letter from Mayor Virgil Holder in March for an "inability" to do her job after she'd been out of work for months with serious medical issues.

When Case implored the board to vote on her status last month, the city commission, including Holder, voted unanimously to rehire her.

"I felt like my part in that as city administrator was to take the current personnel policy that we have — that's in place," Vess said on Tuesday. "Each and every employee signs for one."

He said he found that Case had signed two personnel policies, and he discovered "several discrepancies" during his examination, although he did not provide details.

"Ms. Case has been notified of those findings," Vess said. "She's been notified there's a process of what needs to be done in order to correct those deficiencies before we can bring her back to work."

A letter was mailed to Case outlining the issues on June 7 along with a certified copy, he said, and the certified letter has not been returned to city hall yet, which acknowledges she's received it.

"Until we fulfill all the agreements and fulfill the parts of the personnel policy that I think is lacking, we need to hold off on making any decisions on her [as an employee]," Vess told the board. "We need to sit down and talk."

Vess said he hasn't heard anything from Case since he sent the letters.

"Mr. Vess, I've never received a letter," Case told him.

"You might want to check with the post office," Vess replied.

He recommended the board rescind its decision last month to hire Case back as a full-time employee "until we're able to clarify everything," and the board voted unanimously to do so.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to reverse a decision in March to raise the daily rental fee for the Princess Theatre from $150 to $400 with an additional $125 charge for cleaning.

Commissioner Samantha Rector said since that was done, the venue has been used only once.

"A lot of people in this community put money into that Princess, and it's sitting empty," she said. "It's got to be used. If we're paying for it, so be it. Let's pay for it."

In March, Holder said it "makes the citizens of South Pittsburg sad" to pay an average of $6,529 per month, not including insurance costs, to maintain the facility.

"Let's use it," Rector said. "It's sitting empty. It's a shame. It's a beautiful building, and we're not using it."

The board's vote returned the venue to its previous pricing plan and policies.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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