By Steve Short
Greg Pillow, Gibson County director of finance since January 2015, is leaving the governmental position, according to Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon.
The county was advertising the job opening and accepting applications to fill the position.
In a statement Jan. 2, Witherspoon announced, “It is with great sadness that I report to you the resignation of Gibson County Director of Finance Greg Pillow. Greg is pursuing an opportunity in the private sector and we wish him the best.
“In Greg’s five years as director, he has put our county on a solid financial footing, always providing myself, the County Commission and the public with clear and honest forecasting and management,” added Witherspoon. “The high bar Greg has set for Gibson County financial management will benefit our citizens for years to come. His positive impact cannot be overstated.
“I personally thank Greg for his time in my office and the force of good he has been,” said Witherspoon. “But most of all, I thank him for his friendship and wish him good luck – not that he’ll need it.”
“Anyone interested in applying for the position of Director of Finance can see our ad in the newspapers,” said Witherspoon.
A resident of Rutherford with his wife, Kim, Pillow was among more than 70 people who applied for the Director of Finance position back in 2014. Pillow holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration degree from The University of Tennessee at Martin. He had over 25 years of private sector accounting and business management experience.
Pillow succeeded LaNita Van Dyke, who served as budget director in previous years.
During his five-year tenure, Pillow implemented innovations in the county budget, such as providing color coding for revenues and expenditures, which showed changes in line items or department spending.
He also tackled tough issues, such as “comp time” or compensatory time accrued by employees over many years. A few years ago, the county owed several employees a total of $180,000 in “comp time.” Over $131,000 of that amount was owed to employees in the Sheriff’s Department, who accumulated comp time before Sheriff Paul Thomas took office. Steps were taken to reduce and manage the comp time liability for the county.
Pillow helped develop comprehensive policies for county employees. He also worked on controversial drug testing policies.
During budget talks, Pillow gave county commissioners hard facts about county revenues and spending, asking them to look to the future when making budget decisions.
During preparation for the 2019-20 budget, Pillow stressed to commissioners and department heads the need for a 7-cent property tax increase, something that would be unpopular with voters.
“I’m forewarning you, that if we don’t increase the property tax, we could run into a wall out there,” Pillow told officials. “Our fund balance can take part of that hit, but the smart thing is to increase the property tax. I’m trying to be realistic and throw out facts from a financial standpoint. As a property taxpayer, I’m for no increase in tax. But as a responsible finance director, I’m giving you the facts. It would not be a smart decision to not increase property taxes some amount.”
Budget Chairman Mike Longmire said he appreciated Pillow’s advice on county finances. “Greg keeps it real,” said Longmire at the time.