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Coffee Co. Communications Board wants change in 911 director

Coffee County Communications Board (CCCB) on Wednesday (Feb. 10) made a motion to pursue leadership changes at the Coffee County 911 Center.

In a special-called meeting, Tullahoma Police Chief Jason Williams made the motion that was seconded by Tullahoma alderman Daniel Berry.

The motion asks for the 911 board, which is the funding body for the CCCB, to look at an exit package to present to Diane Argraves, who is the director of the 911 Center.

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Coffee County Sheriff Chad Partin, who is chairman of the CCCB, told Thunder Radio that an exit strategy will be presented to Argraves in the next couple of days for her consideration and she will be given the opportunity to accept that at the next regular meeting, which is 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.

“We have to look for new vision,” said Partin. “We need someone who can take the bull by the horns, with a vision who can take our 911 center forward into the future.”

PREVIOUS STORY ON THUNDER RADIO THAT WAS PUBLISHED LAST WEEK:

Tensions have risen lately after 911 Director Diane Argraves submitted a formal complaint to the Coffee County Government HR department that leveled accusations at Sheriff Chad Partin, who happens to be the chair of the Coffee County Communications Board (CCCB), accusing him of being a bully and discriminating against her because of her gender and her age.

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In a meeting last month, Partin addressed the CCCB and read an overview of ongoing issues the board has had with Argraves over the past two years.

Bluntly, Partin told Argraves he felt that the position of director was “over your head. “

Partin said the he and other board members have received complaints about dispatcher attitudes, lack of checking on first responders after arrival on a call, putting too much detailed information over the radio, speaking disrespectfully over open microphones and dispatchers acting unprofessionally, “leaving in the middle of a shift to spy on a husband.”
“This puts coworkers in distress and left citizens and officers in distress,” said Partin.

Tullahoma Police Chief Jason Williams, who is also a member of the 7-person CCCB, said during the January meeting that his primary problem is that there is no real direction or vision for the building. Williams added that when he brings problems to Argraves’ attention, she addresses or responds, but there is no initiative.

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Among the issues Partin highlighted was the issuance of bonuses paid to employees of the 911 center. Money was made available and Argraves was divvying it out without structure. Partin said that Argraves told the board that there was no record of evaluations to gauge bonuses, that it was ‘in her head.”

“Members of the board explained to [Argraves] that we could be sued over the current way it was being done and that this had to be corrected,” said Partin.

Partin said the board devised a plan to tie these bonuses into training, with checks given at the end of the year once each employee completes training, with money amounts to be consistent for each employee.

Partin said in December when he asked Argraves for a record of the training, records were not ready. He said once he received them, there was training written down for dates that had yet to take place. He added that he felt the 911 board was “being misled.”

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“The attitude of our director is to the point of a rebellion and resistance.”

In Argraves’ letter to the county with a complaint about Partin, it stated that Partin came to the 911 center and slapped the glass and was yelling.

Partin addressed this, saying that incident happened in the summer and found it interesting that it was just now being brought up.

Argraves serves at the pleasure of the CCCB. She was appointed by the board as director in 2017.

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