CHIPLEY — After much discussion, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners agreed on Wednesday to follow County Attorney Jeff Goodman’s advice and meet with a representative from an advertising firm about looking for a new county manager.
The board was meeting in their workshop in Chipley, prior to their regular monthly meeting, which will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday.
Goodman informed the board that he would have a finished job description ready for the board’s approval on Thursday.
“This job description is a collaboration based on our needs using policies used by other counties,” said Goodman. “This agency is like a head-hunting firm that will not only expedite the process, but you’re going to find a broader base of candidates, using a non-biased third-party. I’ve got to add that if you’re not going to give this guy the authority to do his job then it’s best you don’t have one at all.”
The board agreed to review the job description at the next board meeting and meet with an agent from the firm at their June 30 meeting.
Interim Human Resources Director Albert Davis informed the board that with the updated job description for the public safety director, which excludes the emergency management requirements, the county would have to re-advertise for the position.
Commissioner Lynn Gothard inquired about the current applicants to which Davis responded that they are welcome to resubmit their application.
Goodman clarified with the board that there would first be a five-day, in-house advertisement of the position and that the board agreed that if there was someone qualifying for the position in-house, then they must be hired before advertising externally.
The board agreed to send Gothard to the city of Vernon as a representative of the board to discuss the city’s request to renew their Interlocal Agreement regarding the City of Vernon and Washington County’s library services.
“From what I’ve heard, they want to run it while we pay for it,” said Commissioner Todd Abbott.
Goodman advised them that it would be necessary for the protection of the board to find out what the city of Vernon’s intentions for the library is.
“The city needs to figure out if they want the library or not,” said Goodman.
Representing the Washington County Libraries was Linda Norton.
“We’ve got seven employees and four libraries,” said Norton. “We can’t keep it open any longer with this limited funding and staff.”
Norton accounted their present troubles — one was the agonizing process of removing WIC from the premises with the help of the city of Vernon agreeing to move the WIC office to the City Hall, giving that portion back to the library to use for adult and children reading programs.
Norton advised that in the next agreement the county should include the additional space that was once the gazebo area because that was how WIC was able to take over that portion of the library to begin with.
“They put WIC in the building under the guise of using it only once a month and then they moved in and took over,” said Norton.
Another issue was with inadequate lighting in the parking lot.
“The light is broken and now with the new construction we have additional parking,” said Norton. “Our employee doesn’t feel safe leaving at night with no lighting to get to her vehicle. We’ve put in numerous complaints but to no avail.”
Goodman had advised that with inadequate lighting and multiple reports that this was a considerable liability because the librarian is a county employee.
The board agreed to look into who is responsible for the lighting to see what can be done.
The board recognized Norton on her upcoming retirement after 21 years of service.
County Engineer Cliff Knauer informed the board that they were ready to send out bids for the mowing, which is a part of the additional Sunny Hills services.
After much discussion the board decided that the contract to bid out should be under the guidelines of pay per cycle with a minimum of 10 cycles guaranteed for the main roads and twice a year for the alternate side roads and would include descriptions for trash pickup and weed-eating services.
The current figures, Knauer explained, were based on the current mowing services and the description was based on current Florida Department of Transportation standards.
Goodman informed them that he had created a new draft ordinance for the MSBU, which was similar to the one in 2011 but excluded the MSBU Advisory Board.
“We’ve created budgeting guidelines to replace the necessity of the advisory board and to be completely transparent with the community and agrees to add addition services,” explained Goodman. “The annual assessment of money is to go to toward repaying their debt, mowing and additional lighting. After these expenses are taken out we’ve got a contingency of three to five percent that will be used for the next year’s services and after all those provisions are made then any addition money will go toward paying off their debt.”
Supervisor of Public Works Dallas Carter received permission to get rid of the old Sunny Hills Municipal Service Benefit Unit equipment by calling a scrap company to come pick it up and putting the money back into MSBU funds.
“Best thing to do is call a junk man to pick it up because it’s all scrap,” said Carter.
Gothard requested a workshop to be called to discuss updating the Policy Manual.
Goodman explained that there had been some delays in the updating due to the elections as well as revisions he was concerned with from a legal standpoint.
The board agreed to discuss updating the Policy Manual at the workshop they were holding on June 19, which was set to discuss the function and responsibility of Public Works.
Chairman Alan Bush request that the board consider putting a change in the policy to include budgeting for temporary pay increases for those who have to do additional work in a temporary position.
“I’m saying this because there had to be a temporary pay increase for (David) Corbin for the additional services he has taken on as our point of contact,” said Bush. “As of now there are no previsions in the policy for a temporary pay increase.”
Corbin was chosen by the board at the last BOCC meeting to serve as a “point of contact” between the board and the county employees while the county operates without a county administrator.
Carter informed the board that he needed $205,000 for fuel to continue running Public Works and $11,000 for material to patch the roads.
The board agreed to look into how they were going to fund these expenses.
Gothard suggested that with the Fourth of July coming up that they do as they did with Christmas and shut the yards down, but this time give the employees the option of working somewhere else if they don’t want to take the time off.
The board agreed Corbin’s request to look into a possible Budget Committee.
“We’re going to have to look into something considering the upcoming expenses from increases in Health Insurance and Medicaid,” said Abbott. “It’s going to be a tough, tough, tough budget year.”
Commissioner Charles Brock inquired about Amnesty Day.
Corbin informed him that it was taken out of the budget because the county couldn’t afford the $10,000 it took to run the yearly program.
After much discussion the board agreed to ask Waste Management if they would be willing to donate one day out of the year as charity.
The board agreed to place the District 14 Medical Examiner Reappointment on the agenda for the next meeting.
“This is just a formality to see if we will support their decision,” said Bush. “There’s a reappointment every three years. Last I heard they’ve had over 50 replies and it’s all been good.”
The board also agreed to place a variance request for a resident on Gainer Road on the agenda for the next meeting.
“I just feel it isn’t right that this man has to jump through so many hoops just to give his son some of his land,” said Bush. “In this time of economic problems we need to be promoting development.”
Planning Department Director Mike DeRuntz explained that it was an unusual request because the request was for an irregular shaped lot.
Director of UF IFAS Washington County Extension, Julie Dillard, was present to announce the new Agricultural Natural Resources Agent, Mark Mauldin, and informed the board that Mauldin would be available to the board for introductions at their next meeting.
Dillard also requested support from the board for a study to be conducted in regards to the new broadband expansion to take place for the county.
“The study will show how much we do in efforts to save money and will be no cost to the county,” said Dillard. “An example would be how much money we could save by having video conferences instead of traveling to all these meetings in Orlando and other distant places.”
Due to schedule conflicts because of the upcoming Florida Association of Counties meeting the board agreed to move their June meeting up to June 20, which will be the day after their scheduled workshop on June 19.