REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING
SEMINOLE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, SECOND FLOOR, SUPERIOR COURTROOM
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2011
The Seminole County Board of Commissioners held their Regular Monthly Meeting on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 in the Superior Courtroom located on the second floor of the courthouse. Those present were, Commissioner Dell Shingler, Commissioner Scott Miller, Commissioner Brenda Peterson, Commissioner Roger Lane, Deputy Clerk Marian Jones and County Manager/Clerk Donna Jones. Several county employees and citizens were also present.
The Regular Meeting was called to order by Vice-Chairman Dell Shingler.
The first order of business was to select a new Chairman for the remainder of the 2011 calendar year to fill the vacancy created by Chairman Tommy Rogers’ resignation.
Commissioner Brenda Peterson nominated Commissioner Dell Shingler to serve as Chairman. Commissioner Scott Miller provided the second. Motion passed.
After thanking the Board for putting their trust in her as Chairman, Shingler opened the floor for nominations to the Vice Chair position that was now vacant as Shingler moved to Chairman. Commissioner Scott Miller nominated Commissioner Roger Lane for the position and Commissioner Brenda Peterson provided the second. Commissioner Lane abstained. Motion passed.
Chairman Shingler reviewed the committee vacancies and they were filled as follows:
Commissioner Roger Lane will fill the vacancy on the Personnel Committee.
Commissioner Scott Miller will fill the vacancy on the Roads and Bridges Committee.
Commissioner Brenda Peterson will continue to serve on the RC& D Committee.
The meeting proceeded as follows:
The invocation was offered by Commissioner Brenda Peterson.
Submission of Financial Statements and Minutes:
On a motion by Commissioner Brenda Peterson with the second provided by Commissioner Scott Miller, the minutes were approved for the Called Millage Meeting from October 6, 2011; Zoning Hearing and Regular Monthly Meeting on October 11, 2011; and the Called Meeting concerning the group health insurance that was held on October 18, 2011. Motion passed.
On a motion by Commissioner Scott Miller the September 2011 Financial Statement was approved. Commissioner Roger Lane provided the second. Motion passed.
County Attorney Report:
County Attorney, William “Bill” Mills, reported that he has all the documents to provide a Quit Claim Deed on Brackin Corner. The Borrow-Pit Site has run into a snag with the title search and it should be cleared up in the next week or so. Mr. Mills will try to close on the property Thursday week.
Mr. Mills will be providing an opinion letter to Wells Fargo for the lease/purchase of the ambulance remount.
Mr. Mills continued that the County Charter states that the remaining four commissioners “shall” appoint a member of the un-served district to serve out the remaining term of the vacated position. The Commission has forty-five (45) days from the time the position was vacated to appoint a replacement, if no appointment is made, the Governor steps in and makes an appointment.
Election Superintendent, Amos Sheffield, concurs with Mr. Mills’ interpretation of the law. The local act supercedes the need for a special election to fill the vacancy.
The question has arisen as to why this procedure was not followed at the time that Bert Thomas vacated his position in 2001. Sheffield continued that there has been a change in the law since then that gives the 45 day timeframe and the Governor’s fallback position to step in.
Sheffield continued that information gathered from newspapers at the time of Mr. Thomas’s resignation, makes it appear that the Commission did not want to make an appointment therefore the Election Superintendent, Bo Earnest and County Attorney, Kenneth “Butch” Hornsby determined that the only course of action to be taken was to hold a special election.
Chairman Shingler opened the floor for nominations for the position. Commissioner Brenda Peterson nominated Citizen Mr. Darius Culverson for the vacancy. Commissioners Scott Miller and Roger Lane stated that they needed more time for considerations for such an important decision. Commissioner Brenda Peterson made the motion to table the decision until the next meeting. Commissioner Scott Miller seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Commissioner Scott Miller encouraged the attendees to call the Commissioner’s Office with any recommendations they may have for filling the vacancy.
Citizen Mr. Philip Williams addressed the Commission with some concerns. Williams stated that Seminole County is among the top 20% of the poorest counties in the State of Georgia.
The letter Judge Sheffield addressed to the Commission caused a lot of confusion in the County so Mr. Williams used the “Freedom of Information Act” to obtain information on the Sheriff’s Department. The 2010 payroll figures reveal that the Sheriff’s Office salaries were unbelievable. There was a lot of overtime.
Chairman Shingler stated that the payroll was under the control of the Sheriff not the Commission.
Williams replied that yes the Commission does have control by controlling the budget.
Mr. Williams spoke with Sheriff Elliott before the meeting and Elliott told him that if he had more men he would be able to cut out a lot of the overtime. There were two vacancies created when two deputies were fired and there are two additional vacancies that were approved in the 2011 budget.
Williams asked who funded the SRO salary and expenses. Chairman Shingler stated that the School Board pays a share of it and the County pays a share of it. County Manager Jones stated that the School Board reimburses 50% of the salary and most expenses.
Williams then asked about the SRO’s comp time. He reported that there were 456 hours accumulated. How is comp time paid or kept up with?
Chairman Shingler replied that Mr. Kirkland is an hourly employee and keeps up with his own time. The SRO is at the school before it opens and after the students leave. He also accompanies teams to ballgames and other school functions.
Williams called the Georgia High School Association and asked what the requirements are for an SRO. He was told that there were no requirements to have a law officer escort a bus to a ballgame or even be at a ballgame as long as there is a school official present. I’m saying the bottom line is that you’ve got to start cutting somewhere and that we need to get together with the Sheriff and work out some kind of plan to reduce some of the overtime.
Chairman Shingler replied that the issue was addressed at budget time and funding was budgeted to hire two more part time officers, in fact we gave him more payroll budget than he requested. We can’t make him hire more officers that would cut back on the overtime the present officers are making.
Sheriff Elliott responded that there were two additional positions that were allotted for in the budget and then there were the two vacancies that were recently created. That gave him four positions to fill, three of which have been filled. One more position needs to be filled to bring the staff up to the level needed.
Williams stated that the Commissioners also needed to cut down on their expenses. Chairman Shingler asked what expenses he was speaking of.
Williams expressed his concerns that the per diem rate of $100 for each day a Commissioner spends out of town on County business is excessive.
Williams stated that he was in attendance at a recent meeting when Commissioner Peterson voted to table an action until all commissioners could be present. At the later meeting when the issue was addressed, Commissioner Peterson did not vote. If you’re elected by the people you’re supposed to keep their interest in mind.
Commissioner Brenda Peterson responded to Mr. Williams’ concern about her tabling an issue and then failing to vote at the next meeting. Peterson stated that Mr. Williams did not know the reason she abstained. In order to make our county better and serve as a certified Commissioner, travel and training is required. Qualification fee to run for the County Commission is $72 and any qualifying citizen who feels that they can do a better job can run for office. Peterson stated that the board is in good shape and this nit picking needs to stop. She is yet to hear anything positive about the Commission.
Addressing an expense report line item of a $10 in tips, Peterson continued, when you travel to conferences you do not park your own car or carry your own luggage. Tips to valets are a normal travel expense.
Chairman Shingler addressed Mr. Williams that she hoped he had also obtained a copy of the Commissioner’s salary. Shingler has been serving the County the longest of all the Commissioners and her seniority allows her the highest of the salaries. Shingler stated that she spends 10-15 hours a week in the office and runs errands for the county. The Commissioners are also reimbursed for mileage on their personal vehicles at the posted IRS rate. The $100 daily per diem is paid to the Commissioners for out-of-town service to the County.
Citizen Maria Ricketson asked as to the process of replacing District 5 Commissioner Tommy Rogers. Ricketson also suggested that the County consider having an election for a county wide chairman. If the chairman ran the county there would be no need for a county manager.
County Manager, Donna Jones, responded by reporting that the issue of electing a countywide chairperson was addressed at the time of re-districting. The school board has the same district lines and would have to agree to a countywide vote. They were not in agreement so the issue was dropped.
The Commission discussed options of selling or donating the old “Seminole County Training School”.
Citizen Ms. Cecilia White asked if the Commission had offered the facility to private citizens. Chairman Shingler responded that we had offered it to the public in the past and the low bid of $30k-$35k was unacceptable. Chairman Shingler continued that we had attended out-of-town meetings trying to find funding for restoration but had failed, however, a City Councilman seems to believe that he would be able to find the funding to restore the aging facility.
Citizen Mitch Blanks stated that he was at the last City of Donalsonville council meeting and reported that the City is not interested in receiving the facility.
After a rather lengthy discussion it was decided that the Recreation Committee members, Commissioner Scott Miller and Commissioner Roger Lane, would check with the High School to see if the recreation department would be able to use the school gym for basketball activities.
Commissioner Roger Lane made the motion to table the issue with Commissioner Scott Miller providing the second. Motion passed.
Once the recreation committee receives an answer from the school board, the decision can be made as to whether or not the Rambeau Gym will be included in the sale of the Training School facility. The Recreation Committee will report their findings at the December monthly meeting.
The issue of re-writing the End-Gun Shut-Off Ordinance was re-addressed. Commissioner Miller stated that there is a problem with retrofitting older systems. Commissioner Roger Lane stated that in a previous meeting the Commission decided to address the ordinance on a case by case basis. Chairman Shingler stated that we need to serve the farmers as well as the remaining citizens of Seminole County and keep the roads from being damaged.
It was decided to have Commissioners Roger Lane and Scott Miller along with farmers Eddie Miller and W. H. Miller serve on a committee to review the language and enforcement of the Ordinance.
On a motion by Commissioner Scott Miller and seconded by Commissioner Brenda Peterson, a sponsorship of $1,500 to be paid through drug surcharge funds was approved for the L.A.W. publication. The publication helps parents identify the behavior and warning signs of children on drugs. Motion passed.
Commissioner Brenda Peterson made the motion to grant the request from County Nurse Manager, Dottie Brown to have Dr. Jeff Holly, M.D. serve as the physician appointed by the County Commission on the Board of Health for an additional six year term beginning January 1, 2012. Commissioner Roger Lane seconded the motion. Motion passed.
On a motion by Commissioner Scott Miller the Chairman was granted approval to sign the resolution to be submitted with the application for funding from GDNR for a walking trail grant in Spring Creek Park. Commissioner Roger Lane provided the second. Motion passed.
Three Notch EMC has made an offer to swap their 2000 Chevy 3500 Four Wheel drive gas engine pick-up truck for a cost of $1,000 plus the old 1984 Chevy ¾ Ton Four Wheel Drive diesel truck used at the Transfer Station. The Transfer Station truck is used for transporting the nursing tank to the waste disposal treatment plant in the City. The motion to make the swap was made by Commissioner Roger Lane with the second from Commissioner Brenda Peterson. Motion passed.
Engineer Stacy Watkins presented his proposal for engineering services in the amount of $21,250 for the paving of Nichols Subdivision Road. The County will be receiving a $90k grant from the Golden Triangle RC&D Council’s Spring Creek Watershed program for the paving project. The motion to approve the engineering services was made by Commissioner Scott Miller and seconded by Commissioner Roger Lane. Motion passed. Funding for the run over costs and engineering cost will come from SPLOST funds.
Secondly, Engineer Stacy Watkins presented construction cost estimates for the road paving, parking lot construction and grounds project for the courthouse site. After reviewing the construction costs the Commission agreed to table the item until they had a chance to review which phase of the project they would like to go forward with.
On a motion by Commissioner Scott Miller, seconded by Commissioner Brenda Peterson, the Commission exited the General Session and entered into Executive Session for a personnel matter.
On a motion by Commissioner Scott Miller, seconded by Commissioner Brenda Peterson, the Commission re-entered the General Session. No action was taken in the General Session.
On a motion by Commissioner Brenda Peterson and seconded by Commissioner Scott Miller, the employees will receive the 3% Christmas bonus as budgeted. Motion passed.
County Manager, Donna Jones, made the announcement that the County has received an additional $8,616.96 from FEMA on the ongoing disaster project from the flash floods of spring 2009.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned on a motion made by Commissioner Scott Miller, seconded by Commissioner Roger Lane, with Commissioner Brenda Peterson and Chairman Dell Shingler voting yes.
ADOPTED THIS __________ DAY OF DECEMBER, 2011
SEMINOLE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
STATE OF GEORGIA
COUNTY OF SEMINOLE
I, Donna F. Jones, the duly appointed Clerk of Board of Commissioners of Seminole County, Georgia, and keeper of the minutes in and for the said Board of Commissioners, do hereby certify that the attached constitutes a full, complete and correct copy of the original minutes of a Regular Monthly Meeting held on November 8, 2011 approved by the Seminole County Board of Commissioners at a regular meeting held on December 13, 2011.
Given under my official signature and seal of office, on this the 13th day of December 2011.
Donna F. Jones, Clerk of the Board of Commissioners of Seminole County, Georgia
(SEAL OF OFFICE)
DONNA JONES, CLERK
SEMINOLE COUNTY GEORGIA
CLOSED MEETING AFFIDAVIT
Personally appeared before me the undersigned attesting officer, duly authorized to administer oaths, Chairman Tommy Rogers who, after being duly sworn, deposes and oath states the following:
(1) I was the presiding officer of a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners held on
The 8th day of November, 2011.
(2) That it is my understanding that O.C.G.A. §50-14-14(b) provides as follows:
When any meeting of an agency is closed to the public pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section, the chairperson or other person presiding over such meeting shall execute and file with the official minutes of the meeting a notarized affidavit stating under oath that the subject matter of the meeting or the closed portion thereof was devoted to matters within the exceptions provided by law and identifying the specific relevant exception.
(3) The subject matter of the closed meeting or closed portion of the meeting held on the
8th day of November, 2011 which was closed for the purpose of discussion of
[X] (1) a personnel matter, or [ ] (2) a real estate matter, or [ ] (3) a matter of attorney-client privilege, either of which is recognized by O.C.G.A., Title 50, Chapter 14, and was devoted to matters within those exceptions and as provided by law.
(4) This affidavit is being executed for the purpose of complying with the mandate of
O.C.G.A. §50-14-4(b) that such an affidavit be executed.
This 8th Day of November, 2011
Dell M. Shingler
Sworn to and subscribed before me,
This 9th Day of November 2011.