MEETING NOTES FROM A FRONT ROW
Attending the March 9, 2009 BOC
meeting was "an eye opener."
The first thing that happened Monday
morning was the Commissioners voting 3-2 to go into Executive Session to
interview the candidates for County Attorney.
Comm. Patrick and Cox voted no.
Kathy Mudd, editor of the newspaper, argued they couldn’t interview
the attorneys in closed session. The
four men left the room. Comm. Patrick stayed behind. She said she didn’t think there were any
questions that needed to be asked that couldn’t be asked in public. Ms Mudd appeared outraged and talked about
how she was going to file a complaint about this violation of Open Meetings
Laws. Funny how all this was missing
from the article about the meeting in “The News” if she was really that
During the meeting the County Manager was questioned extensively first
by Comm. Cox and then by Comm. Patrick.
They both had lists of things the County Manager had been directed to do and they
wanted to know if he had done them or not.
It hasn’t taken these 2 commissioners long to realize the County Manager doesn’t follow through or follow
up. The County Manager gave his typical answers of “I
don’t know” or “I guess.” There were
several “no” answers meaning no, he didn’t do what should have been done. Anyone that makes $86,000 a year ought to
know how to follow directions and follow through without having to be asked at
every meeting. Everyone attending the
meetings can see the County Manager is not on the BOC's team or on the
side of the county. He seems to try to defeat everything they want to
Citizen comments came 5 ½ hours after
the meeting began. Some people were
determined to stay and let the BOC know just how frustrated they were. One lady got up and showed pictures of her
road, Marben Farms. With as many
potholes as shown on the pictures, it’s hard to be called a “road”. One pothole was 8 feet long and 4 foot wide
and 4 inches deep. She pointed at the
Manager and said, I’ve
called him and called him and he never returns my calls.
Another man got up and talked about
how the road grader came down his road and traveled the entire road at 30mph
with the grader blade UP. When he caught
up with the motor grader and asked why, he was told because he didn’t have a
work order! Taxpayers, this is what you
are paying for—fuel and time to do absolutely nothing. There is no supervision of what is done or
supposed to be done.
Two men that lived on Johnny Fears Rd.
Rd. brought pictures and shared them with the
BOC. The roads were entirely flooded
during the past weekend when there was rain and then several inches of
snow. The road hadn’t been worked in
years and there were no ditches to handle the water. The roads in this county have stopped up
culverts and if the road is dirt, the ditch is full of limbs and trees so water
doesn’t drain properly.
The meeting really got exciting when
one man informed the BOC that he had watched the County Manager during several
meetings and in particular the last night meeting. He said that every time the BOC voted on a
budget cut or anything else the County Manager made faces and let everyone know
of his disagreement with the BOC. He
told them they needed to get rid of the County Manager and get someone that supported
them and would work with them.
After all these comments, the BOC has
to be fully aware that the citizens are tired of not having their calls returned
and their problems addressed by the County Manager.
Finally the County Manager was questioned about his
investigation concerning the now former Recreation Director, Don Shipp. During the meeting Comm. Patrick had asked
Manager if all the items
Mr. Shipp had at his house belonging to the Rec Dept had been returned. The County Manager assured her they had, “That’s all
been taken care of” he said. Oh, but
maybe not. The next speaker informed the
Manager there were still
some more things --including a golf cart that the Rec Dept paid for and was
still sitting in Don Shipp’s yard. He
then produced the invoice. The invoice
shows that no sales tax was paid and that the golf cart was sold to Jasper
County Rec Dept. Sources tell TWG that
Mr. Shipp has returned such things as weed eaters, drills, and other tools and
equipment that have been at his house instead of at the Rec Dept.
After hearing all this an invoice for
$400 for a deep fryer was produced. A copy of the Rec Dept bank deposit slip
showing Mr. Shipp’s personal address was also shown. The deep fryer has never been seen or used at
the Rec Dept. Amounts paid to Lee Umpire
Association were also listed. Over
$14,000 has been paid to Lee Umpire Assoc.
This business was run by Don Shipp who received these checks from the
county without revealing his involvement.
TWG hopes an actual investigation by
the Sheriff or GBI is conducted. Use of
county property for personal use is a felony, isn't it? Isn’t it time someone in Jasper County actually did something about these
things? The County Manager didn’t seem to find anything wrong
during his investigation. It appears
he’s more worried about covering up problems than fixing
This county needs a county
manager that will do what is right for the county and not try to defy the BOC on
everything that they are trying to accomplish. The commissioners need to decide
if this county needs to spend money for a county manager.