Amid coronavirus panic, Rutherford County Public Safety Director fired

Amidst the state’s recently-declared state of emergency due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the Rutherford County Mayor’s Office has confirmed the abrupt firing of the county’s Public Safety Director Kevin Lauer.

“Kevin Lauer was released from employment with Rutherford County on Monday, March 9, 2020,” said Rutherford County Government’s Public Information Officer Ashley McDonald. “In his role as Public Safety Director, his vision and goals for the County and Mayor Ketron’s were not in alignment. Therefore, Mayor Ketron felt that his separation was in the best interest of the County.”

The County declined any further comment on the matter, including addressing the delicate timing of the firing.

Kevin Lauer

Lauer has served as the county’s public safety director since his hiring in summer 2019, beating applicants like County Commissioner Robert Peay Jr. and county Fire Rescue Chief Larry Farely. Lauer’s job was created after a massive reorganizing of the county’s emergency services operations throughout 2019.

His position included oversight of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, coordinating grants and advising the mayor on issues surrounding the Emergency Medical Service and the Fire Rescue Department.

Prior to this position, Lauer worked for 16 years as a public safety consultant with the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service, as well as working as an emergency medical technician and firefighter in the Knoxville area and chief of Fairview’s fire department.

The firing comes at a time of severe uncertainty throughout the county, as COVID-19 moves quickly throughout the United States. There are currently over 1,600 confirmed cases in the United States, with 26 cases in Tennessee—including the first reported case in Rutherford County.

To contact Editor-in-Chief Angele Latham, email

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