BONIFAY— The Holmes County Board of Commissioners approved of changing the agenda so the public hearing would immediately follow the consent items during their recent regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 27.
“The Hearing of the Public is not necessary for public meetings and it’s not in the statutes,” said Goodman. “There’s a bill out there for it but it hasn’t been passed yet and the Sunshine Law is just allowing the public to have access and witness the actions of the board.”
Goodman stated that he personally didn’t like the Hearing of the Public because it gave people the opportunity to “ambush” the commissioners.
“If you aren’t on the agenda, you have a question and we aren’t prepared then the chance of them getting an answer is possibly low,” said Goodman. “I feel like the commissioners are being ambushed by someone who’s had weeks to sit around and think of what they’re presenting to the commission, giving the Board little or no time to prepare an answer or action.”
The board approved of a job description for the renewed position of road department secretary and approved that the pay range will be negotiated between $10.77 and $14 an hour.
“This position will be very strenuous at first but it will ease up as we progress,” said Williams.
The board approved to advertise the position in the paper and to try to have a recommendation before Christmas.
Goodman briefed the new board members that there is now an outstanding bid for graders that will be needed to be addressed fairly soon.
“We need a little more time to review this information,” said Commissioner Bill Parish. “By the next meeting we should be ready with an answer.”
World Risk Management Representative Andy Cooper was present to give a general overview of the county’s Property and Casualty rates.
“In 1998 Holmes County joined,” said Cooper. “You’re paying 33 percent less than you did in 2008 because of the impeccable safety record held by Holmes County. You keep the loss down, you keep the cost down.”
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners is set for 9 a.m. on Dec. 11 at the Board meeting room behind the Court House.
New Holmes County Commissioners Parish, Bobby Sasnett and David Whitaker were sworn in on Nov. 20, a week after the commission wished out-going Commissioners Jim King, Ron Monk and Phillip Music farewell.
“I was looking up the history of oaths and what it’s meant to our country,” said Holmes County Attorney Jeff Goodman. “June 1, 1789, First United States Congress, the very first statute that they passed had to do with administering oaths. It was that important to our founding fathers and if it was that important to them it should be important to us.”
Goodman quoted the Declaration of Independence, stating that an oath is “a solemn appeal to God to witness the truth of a statement or the sincerity of a promise, coupled with an imprecation of divine judgment in the event of falsehood or breach of obligation.”
“This oath means something today,” said Goodman. “These three men are going to stand up here, they’re going to have their loved ones up here and they’re going to put their hand on the Bible and they’re not only going to promise to you, citizens of the county, but they’re going to promise to a divine being, Jehovah, that they’re going to fulfill the terms of their oath. There’s going to be hard times in the next four years and it was best described by Thomas Jefferson when he said ‘nearly all men can stand adversity but to test a man’s true character give him power.”
Goodman said that the new commissioners were given power and that he “hoped we as citizens of Holmes County” would support them.
“The last thing I’d urge for them to do is take on the role as statesmen,” he said. “Not a politician but a statesman. There’s a difference that our founding fathers understood; the statesman is someone who thinks about the next generation; a politician is someone who only thinks of the next election.”
There’s a need for statesmen, said Goodman.
“We need them in Tallahassee, we need them in Washington D.C., we need them here in Bonifay, Florida, and so I hope that as we go through this oath today, that when we get seated and we start taking on issues the three that we have oncoming, the two that will remain for another two years,” said Goodman. “I think it’s poignant that Mr. Sasser’s grandchild held the Bible for him, that my kids are here, that Bill Parish’s children are here. The next generation is what we need to be thinking about and not just what will affect them today but what will affect them for years to come.”
Shortly after the swearing in ceremony the board approved of Monty Merchant being the new chairman and Kenneth Williams being the new vice chairman.