Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:09 PM EDT2013-06-20 03:09:54 GMT
A Humphreys County business owner says a thief made off with his wrecker truck and equipment worth more than a quarter-million dollars. "They tried to steal the roll back over here to the side of us andMore >>
A Humphreys County business owner says a thief made off with his wrecker truck and equipment worth more than a quarter-million dollars.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:58 PM EDT2013-06-20 02:58:21 GMT
Metro police are working to identify a gunman who is suspected of robbing the same Walgreen's pharmacy four times. Police say the most recent robbery at the Walgreens on Highway 70 South happened SundayMore >>
Metro police are working to identify a gunman who is suspected of robbing the same Walgreen's pharmacy four times.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:54 PM EDT2013-06-20 02:54:49 GMT
The owner of a popular east Nashville restaurant and music venue said the city crossed the line when a dozen officials showed up to inspect the business. "Outraged. I feel like there is a way of goingMore >>
The owner of a popular east Nashville restaurant and music venue said the city crossed the line when a dozen officials showed up to inspect the business.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:38 PM EDT2013-06-20 02:38:14 GMT
A child pedestrian was struck and seriously injured Wednesday night in Bellevue. The incident was reported just before 9 p.m. near the intersection of Old Hickory Boulevard and Sonya Drive. Police sayMore >>
A child pedestrian was struck and seriously injured Wednesday night in Bellevue.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:18 PM EDT2013-06-19 23:18:13 GMT
Metro police say a mother used her own daughter to help steal from a Nashville Wal-Mart store.More >>
Metro police say a mother used her own daughter to help steal from a Nashville Walmart store.More >>
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
A top elected official in Nashville hired both his children for Metro jobs that were never advertised.
It's the latest revelation from the Channel 4 I-Team investigation into Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence.
The I-Team's hidden camera showed Torrence away from the office several days a week, doing yard work, golfing or running personal errands with his Metro car. Torrence said he works only three days a week and doesn't deny being out of the office for half of last year.
Torrence didn't just hire his sons without advertising the openings; he hired them to replace veteran employees and paid his sons those veterans' salaries.
Within the past nine months, Joe and Josh Torrence were hired to work in the Criminal Court Clerk's Office. Their dad hired them.
Finley: "Did you advertise those positions?" asked I-Team Chief Investigative Reporter Jeremy Finley.
"No, I don't do that," Torrence said.
"So how did your sons know about it?" asked Finley.
"Well, they knew about it, well, they knew about it because I told them about it," said Torrence.
"Do you think there is anything questionable about a person in your position, hiring his own sons, for jobs that taxpayers pay for. Is there anything questionable about that to you?" asked Finley.
"No," Torrence said.
"Taxpayers hear about stories like this, but you think surely stuff like this doesn't go on. It does go on," said taxpayer advocate Ben Cunningham.
Because Torrence is an elected official, his employees in the clerk's office aren't bound by guidelines for civil service employees. You must advertise job openings for civil service employees and not show any favoritism.
But not in Torrence's office: Torrence can hire anyone he wants, even his own sons.
The city's legal department said there is no nepotism policy that applies to Torrence's department.
"Whether or not it breaks some nepotism policy is really beyond the point," said Cunningham. "The fact is he's thumbing his nose at the Metro taxpayers and saying, 'I'm going to do whatever I damn well please.'"
Torrence's sons got their jobs because two veteran Metro employees retired. Those veterans each earned their salaries after getting raises from the city over the course of 25 years on the job.
According to their personnel files, Torrence's sons came in at the veterans' salaries, despite being new to the department.
"I think there are people who would say those veteran employees had earned those salaries. And your sons just walked on in. You go to see how that looks a little questionable," Finley said. "You don't see that as questionable at all?"
"No," said Torrence.
In fact, Joe Torrence got about a $15,000 raise to switch from another Metro government job to his dad's office at a salary of $46,527.
Josh Torrence got an $18,000 raise to move from his old Metro job to his dad's to take the new job at $55,274.
Again, they were jobs that their dad gave to them without screening other candidates.
"What did you say? 'Guys, I think I have some good gigs here,' because they got pretty significant raises to come to this one," said Finley.
"Like I said, I'm glad to have them working for me," said Torrence.
Torrence said he hired his sons because they were qualified. Josh works as Torrence's ITadministrator and has done IT work for Metro before.
Joe, who now works the front desk, worked for 10 years in Metro's warrant division.
"In your opinion, 'We're not going to advertise this for anyone else.' The very best employees were your two kids," said Finley.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:14 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:14:11 GMT
National Beef Packing Co., a Liberal, Kan., establishment, is recalling approximately 22,737 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The problem was discoveredMore >>
National Beef Packing Company - a Liberal, KS, establishment - is recalling approximately 22,737 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:18 AM EDT2013-06-19 15:18:42 GMT
A Nashville Cajun restaurant is currently closed for business with a sign hanging on the front door indicating taxes have not been paid. The sign says "seized for non-payment of Tennessee state taxes." ChapmanMore >>
A Nashville Cajun restaurant is currently closed for business with a sign hanging on the front door indicating taxes have not been paid. Morning Report More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 9:11 AM EDT2013-06-19 13:11:36 GMT
A Utah family celebrating Father's Day with a camping trip to Wyoming survived an encounter with a bear thanks to the quick thinking of their 11-year-old son. It was supposed to be a family fun day ofMore >>
A Utah family celebrating Father's Day with a camping trip to Wyoming survived an encounter with a bear thanks to the quick thinking of their 11-year-old son.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 4:20 PM EDT2013-06-19 20:20:07 GMT
George "Rico" Laise in court June 19, 2013
A 42-year-old soccer coach accused of having sex with his underage players was in a Nashville courtroom Wednesday morning. Facing four charges of rape, George "Rico" Laise appeared for a preliminary hearing.More >>
A 42-year-old soccer coach accused of having sex with his underage players was in a Nashville courtroom Wednesday morning.More >>
Country singer Slim Whitman has died at the age of 90 in Florida.More >>
Country singer Slim Whitman, the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records through ever-present TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy "Mars Attacks!," died Wednesday at a...More >>