Director of government agency terminated after I-Team reports - WSMV News 4

Executive director of government agency terminated after I-Team reports

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Luke Collins sits at the UCHRA Board meeting on Feb. 20, 2018. The UCHRA Board voted to place Collins on administrative leave with pay at the meeting. He was terminated at a meeting held on May 9, 2018. (WSMV) Luke Collins sits at the UCHRA Board meeting on Feb. 20, 2018. The UCHRA Board voted to place Collins on administrative leave with pay at the meeting. He was terminated at a meeting held on May 9, 2018. (WSMV)
COOKEVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency was terminated after an independent attorney hired to investigate his actions made a presentation to the board.

In a 14 to 12 vote, the UCHRA board voted to fire Luke Collins immediately following a closed-door meeting in which the attorney of the board invoked attorney/client privilege.

While none of the board members are allowed to discuss what they heard during the presentation of the internal investigation’s findings, board member Greg Wilson told the News4 I-Team that he was troubled by the attorney’s report.

Very concerned, very concerned, and that's about as far as I can go,” Wilson said.

The termination comes following a series of News 4 I-Team investigations, including how he used a public transit vehicle to attend a political event, how his hotel rooms and per diems were paid for to attend out of town meetings yet records indicate he did not attend and his time sheets that show he was working while we found him on trips and on vacation.


PREVIOUSLY REPORTED: Timesheet shows government official working; video & photos indicate otherwise | Records: Government official paid to attend certain meetings but didn’t show up | Designed for transit of poor, vehicle used to travel to political event | Embattled agency director placed on administrative leave


After those stories, the board placed Collins on administrative leave with pay and hired an attorney to investigate the News4 I-Team’s findings.

As the closed-door meeting began at 9 a.m., former UCHRA employees stood in the hallway and waited.

The only thing that I’m angry at is him,” said Linda Trammel, a former employee.Because of the misuse of state and federal dollars.”

The private meeting lasted about an hour, and quickly afterward, UCHRA board member Ben Danner made the motion to terminate Collins.

One of Collins’s defenders was board member Mike Gannon, himself the subject of two News 4 I-Team investigations into how he had knowledge of threatening letters being sent to his female critics and for pocketing taxpayer dollars that critics say should have gone to his constituents.

Gannon said the board should wait until the Comptroller’s report is finalized on Collins and that he should receive a settlement.

After his termination, Collins told the board he was a Christian and harbored no hard ill feelings towards them.

Collins said he was proud of the work he did and that the agency was in a better place now than when he accepted the job more than five years ago.

It is unclear when the Comptroller’s report will be released.

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