WEMA's Jewell, Hutto hold meeting

Jewell, a lifelong resident of Watertown, was appointed WEMA Director in 2008, replacing Jerry McFarland in that position.

Jewell said that the 5-1/2 years he has served in the position were challenging, exciting and rewarding. We had added equipment, more personnel and now three new stations when you take into consideration our new crew at the Mt. Juliet Fire station, he said in the letter.

His biggest accomplishment acknowledged in the letter was improving the hiring process. No process is perfect but taking hiring exclusively out of the front office with a statistical grading system has served us well, he wrote.

Jewell told The Wilson Post on Tuesday that WEMA has a great number of projects currently in the works, including purchasing another ambulance and hiring 10 full-time employees and 10 to 15 part-time employees and that while he does not personally harbor any hard feelings, the department cant stand anymore foolishness from political maneuvering.

It can range from the mayors office to the commission floor. Its the nature of the beast and has happened to directors here before but it is a stumbling block. They have to be satisfied and comfortable with you here, he said.

The biggest disappointment is of course the inability to acquire a good solid raise for everyone, Jewell continued. This is my sixth budget cycle and I have asked for raises every year. It is just so sad. This is not a poor county and the future growth is going to be tremendous.

Jewell said in the letter than he intended to remain in the position for 30 more days, during which time he would continue to manage the day-to-day activities of the agency, if permitted.

He formerly served as Chief of Watertown's Fire & Rescue. He is a graduate of Cumberland Junior College, and earned a B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University.

Mayor Hutto had no additional comments about the resignation at press time, only that he will be working on a plan to fill the director position and that the decision rests in his hands.

We are meeting today. It is the first time that we will sit down and talk about this, he said.

The Wilson Post first reported Jewells resignation at www.wilsonpost.com on Friday, Aug. 2.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.