Tennessee City of Niota Functioning Again, Has Insurance

April 30, 2013

City government is operating again in Niota after a four-day shutdown because of no liability insurance.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Niota reached a 60-day agreement Monday night with the Tennessee Municipal League pool. The league initially declined to renew the city’s insurance after city commissioners refused to cooperate with an investigation into whether they harassed city employees.

After the policy lapsed on April 19, Niota closed the police and fire departments. Garbage trucks quit running and city ball fields were closed.

“We tried to take the proper precautions,” Mayor Lois Preece said. “If there was an accident and someone sued the city, that would come from taxpayers.”

Preece said she hopes the city can solve the harassment claims within two months, when the temporary coverage would end.

She said commission members Richard Rutledge and Leesa Corum did not respond to letters from TML seeking information about harassment claims against them. The mayor said Rutledge received a letter on March 19, and Corum on April 5.

The league had written to the city on March 6, saying Niota could face costly payouts because people had filed several harassment claims.

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