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Paid time off increases for Knox County military employees

Capt. Tarren Barrett, Equal Opportunity director for the 134th Air Refueling Wing, was recently affected when Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett signed an ordinance for Knox County employees increasing military paid time off from four weeks to six weeks. Barrett has been a Knox County employee for three years and works as a transportation engineer for the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Young)

Capt. Tarren Barrett, Equal Opportunity director for the 134th Air Refueling Wing, was recently affected when Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett signed an ordinance for Knox County employees increasing military paid time off from four weeks to six weeks. Barrett has been a Knox County employee for three years and works as a transportation engineer for the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Young)

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. -- Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett signed an amendment to the personnel ordinance July 29 increasing Knox County employees, who are also members of the National Guard or Reserve, paid time off from 20 days to 30 days.

The ordinance took effect immediately and was approved in order to compensate military employees for duties such as annual training, deployments and drill.

This amendment affects many military members, including Capt. Tarren Barrett, Equal Opportunity director for the 134th Air Refueling Wing. When not on military status Barrett is a transportation engineer for the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission.

"The fact that Knox County has increased their paid military leave directly affects me because I don't have to take unpaid leave if I happen to do more than 20 military duty days during the year," said Barrett.

Increasing the days also helps compensate for some financial loss when employees are forced to take unpaid time off as well as a pay cut to fulfill military obligations.

"I am very appreciative to my employer for this opportunity to allow me to be more involved in my military career and alleviate stress in my family life," said Barrett.

Mayor Burchett signed the ordinance during an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) news conference where he was also presented with an award for his efforts and support when it comes to the military and its members.

Jack D'Araujo, ESGR Tennessee area chair, presented Mayor Burchett with a plaque that had the statement of support he signed.

D'Araujo stated this was the first award of this kind ever presented in the state of Tennessee and thanked the mayor for all that he does for Guardsmen and Reservists.

Mayor Burchett comes from a long line of family members who are Veterans and he understands the importance of service members in the Knox County area.