By Max Hrenda
A stinky situation on the first floor of the Carter County Courthouse prompted some county officials to discuss the county’s personnel needs.
On Tuesday morning, the courthouse’s first floor men’s room was closed to the public after a strong odor and excessive amount of human waste was discovered inside.
According to Commissioner L.C. Tester, who chairs the county’s Building and Grounds Committee, the incident was not isolated, or accidental.
“They’re purposefully going in there and using the bathroom the way they’re doing,” Tester said. “I don’t think it’s accidental; it’s happening too often. I think it’s intentional.”
To County Mayor Leon Humphrey, however, this particular incident appeared to be accidental.
“I don’t consider it ‘waste vandalism,’” Humphrey said. “The waste was not on the wall, and it wasn’t on the floor, as we’ve seen in the past. It was a person that had an issue.”
Despite Humphrey’s assessment, Assessor of Property Ronnie Taylor, whose office sits just across the hall from the first-floor bathrooms, confirmed that, to his chagrin, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
“On court days, when people are mad — especially in divorce court — you’ll run into a problem like this,” Taylor said. “Where our office is, when a customer opens the door, it pulls that smell right in. It’s awful.”
Commissioner Ken Arney was visiting Taylor’s office when he noticed that the restroom was out of order. Upon seeing the state of the restroom, and no custodian to clean it, Arney placed caution tape over the door.
“We do have a custodian that works part-time hours every day, is there through the day, and could have handled the situation,” Humphrey said.
According to Arney, however, the custodian was nowhere to be seen.