Three Grundy Co. Employees Say Firing Was Political Retribution

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 5/09/2014 6:37 pm
GRUNDY COUNTY, TN. (WDEF-TV) - Three employees of the Grundy county highway department are off the job tonight.
They were fired Wednesday morning, and they say it was political retribution.
The highway superintendent claims it was because they were not doing their jobs.

DENNIS BYERS, FIRED HIGHWAY DEPT. EMPLOYEE " lose your job over something like this...its ridiculous. "
Dennis Byers worked here at the Grundy county highway department for 11 years.
But his job came to an end Wednesday morning,just a few hours after Highway superintendent Hubert Hargis, nicknamed "Turkey", was reelected.
Exactly what happened that morning, depends on whose story you believe.
Hargis says were not doing their jobs.

HUBERT "TURKEY" HARGIS, GRUNDY CO. HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT " I had to send out there after them, and when they come in, I sent them home for insubordination."

Hargis has been superintendent for 12 years.
He says in all that time he's only had to fire one person.
He denies this incident was political.

HUBERT "TURKEY" HARGIS "But it had nothing to do with the election? Nothing to do with the election!"

But Dennis Byers and his two co-workers, Tom Birdwell and Brent King have a totally different account of what happened.

BRENT KING "He just called us in the office and say, said we have to get rid of you because you refused ti support me in the election and vote for me and and tried to take my job and I'm taking yours."

DENNIS BYERS "Said, uh, you know you didn't support me and he said I'm fixing to fire you."

TOM BIRDWELL "He said you didn't support me in the election and you voted against me ...And as of now, you no longer work here."

Birdwell has been at the highway department for four years---King, nine years.
All three of them have visited with a lawyer but say don't yet have a plan on what to do next.
Grundy county government has no Human Resources Department per se.
And Hargis says its ultimately his decision.

HUBERT HARGIS "Tennessee law says I can fire anybody I want to."

Grundy county facebook users were told this week that resource officers at the schools had been fired by Sheriff Brent Myers, who was defeated in Tuesday's election.
Myers says the officers were actually at a meeting at his office, and returned to work later in the day.
Myers says one SRO quit Wednesday for personal reasons.

4 Comment(s)
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snyders - 5/14/2014 9:27 AM
0 Votes
Since Our Election, Chaos Has For Sure Hit Our County...And Grundy County Residents Need To Stand Up And Support These Men That Lost Their Job!This Man Did This Out Of Revenge, And I Think There Should Be Legal Action Taken!And As Far As Brent Myers, Taking Our SRO Officers Out Of Our School...Which Is There To Protect Our Children, Just Goes To Show You What Kind Of Person He Really Is, And The ONLY Reason He Put Them Back In Is Because The Media Got Involved, And Then He Lied To Them Too! I Have Called Our Schools And A Couple Of Our Schools Still Dont Have A Regular SRO..They May Show Up For A Bit Then Leave...Or Sometimes Dont Show Up At ALL!! But Thats Ok, You NEVER Gain Anything When You Treat People The Way That "Turkey" And "Brent" Have! And Hopefully In August Grundy Will Stand Up And Do A "Write IN' For "Johnny Ray Fults"...

devonya - 5/9/2014 9:08 PM
2 Votes
Mr. Hargis has changed his story 4 times. 1st he told the men they were being fired for not supporting him during the election.2nd he wrote poor job performance on the separation slip. 3rd he told the "News Free Press" it was because they refused to go to work. 4th now he says it was insubordination. Guess he can't make up his mind what to tell next.

NickAndros423 - 5/9/2014 8:32 PM
2 Votes
"I had to send out there after them, and when they come in, I sent them home for insubordination"... lmao. That kind of 'redneckese' coming from an elected official kind of says it all. And it's pretty obvious from how specific the comments from the fired employees are, and what they have in common, that this pos is lying like a rug. He looks like a real winner too... Popeye's even uglier brother, lol. Nice shirt.

Cheyenne - 5/9/2014 7:09 PM
2 Votes
Looks like a bunch of sore losers in Grundy County. You could tell, Dewayne "Turkey" Hargis was lying because he kept looking away from the camera man like he was ashamed of his words. Such a shame the years those men have worked together and now they are at odds over an election. Someone must have been doing their jobs to be employed as long as those men were. God help them to get their jobs back or at least a better job with better pay.
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