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Note: Mayor's departing chief of staff apologized for 'disruptive' news about borrowed golf cart

Jacobs fired parks director Paul White and accepted the resignation of his chief of staff, Bryan Hair, this week.
Credit: PBA
Former county senior parks director Paul White and former county chief of staff Bryan Hair.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Amid an ongoing investigation into his conduct and that of the county's senior parks director, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs' chief of staff offered a brief goodbye and apology this week.

"The recent incident involving a golf cart has been disruptive to the mayors office, your life and county government. I apologize for this," Bryan Hair's resignation note Sunday night states.

"I will always value our friendship and do not want this to be a problem for you and your administration."

The Mayor's Office announced Hair's resignation Monday morning. It also announced that while Paul White had been offered the chance to resign, he had declined and thus was being fired as senior parks director.

The state Comptroller's Office and an auditing firm are looking at whether the two may have committed unspecified "wrongdoing," according to the Mayor's Office.

Hair had been with Jacobs since his 2018 campaign. White was hired in August 2018 as Jacobs prepared to take office.

Hair made $170,000. White started at an annual salary of $107,000 and last made $115,000, documents show.

Authorities apparently are looking at least in part at the use of county property for personal purposes.

Before he quit, Hair told 10News last week he'd made a mistake in borrowing a county-owned golf cart to assist his wife, who suffered a broken foot in May. He kept the cart through the summer and then turned it back in, he said.

White hasn't commented publicly about the cart.

It's not clear how White, who oversaw the Parks and Recreation Department, is being scrutinized.

Communications director Mike Donila said the office isn't commenting until the investigation is complete.

Employment documents and Hair's resignation are contained in the former employees' personnel files.

White's lone evaluation also is part of the file. Hair, who helped him get the job, acted as reviewer.

He received an average "highly effective" score, or 4, and drew an "outstanding" or 5 rating for "initiative."

"Paul is the example of an "I can help" attitude," the evaluation states. "He has rolled his sleeves up and worked hard to clean up the department by not being afraid to work with all levels of the department. He has never once put any job/task beneath his title and has instilled a solid work ethic with his team. Not only is he a self motivator, he motivates his team by allowing his attitude to rub off on others."

He also got an "outstanding" rating for professionalism and effectiveness, setting an example for how a county department should be run.

His lowest score was "effective" or a 3 rating for decision-marking and accountability.

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