BOC meeting - How we saw it

Several members of the TWG attended the last BOC meeting.  We saw some things a little differently than what was reported in the “News”.  We will follow the agenda in our comments.

First, it was notable that all Commissioners were present and on time for the meeting.  In a gesture of goodwill, Chairman Bernard asked Commissioner Pennamon to lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Pennamon had to make several remarks and faces and finally said, “Well, you do it like this, I pledge allegiance…”  Commissioner Pennamon started the meeting trying to provoke comments and continued throughout the meeting.


The Agenda for the meeting was approved, and then the 3/2/05 minutes were approved with both Hill and Pennamon voting against.  This was the meeting that they both boycotted concerning hiring a new attorney.  Comm. Pennamon also voted not to approve the last meeting minutes (3/7/05).  Another “problem” he seems to have since he was defeated, but continues to “serve”.


Comm. Johnson then made the Finance report. He said he had gotten the reports on time and that the departments were holding the line.  He then called on Mary Patrick of the Committee to present a report.  According to the Monticello News-- “Mary Patrick said she wanted to be sure everyone knows the books are done, the bank statements reconciled. She said the bank balance on the four accounts that could be accessed at the end of 2004 was $328,000. She said of that, only $90,00 could be used as of January 1, the rest was encumbered.”


THIS IS NOT WHAT WAS SAID!   A general report of the cash available was given to each commissioner at the meeting.  Mrs. Patrick said that the bank reconciliation for December was done.  There had been some question as to if it was being prepared.  At a February meeting, Comm. Hill said “they (the BOC) didn’t’ t know where they stood.”  The finance committee requested the bank reconcilations and copies of the bank statements.  Basically this is where the County stood financially as of 1/1/05:


Total shown on Bank Statement at 12/31/04                 $328,466

Add Deposits in Transit                                             169,768

Deduct checks written but not cleared                        (408,224)

Cash Balance as 1/1/05                                             $ 90,010


Mrs. Patrick also mentioned that this is a far cry from the $1,000,000 that Comm. Pennamon says was in the bank.  This does not mean, “the books are done” as reported in the News.  Only the auditor will be able to determine if the books are complete and if they are done correctly.


The News then reported  “Mr. Bernard said that he had found an unpaid balance for insurance from 2004 from ACCG for $74,000, and an engineering bill for $25,000.”

Comm. Bernard really said that ACCG had called to inform them that a bill dated 10/1/04 for insurance in the amount of $74, 301.75 had not yet been paid.  He also said there was a bill dated in 2004 for $25,000 for Dobbs Environmental. 



Question: If there was so much money in the bank according to Comm. Pennamon, why weren’t these bills paid on time?  Former Commissioner Bennett was also in attendance, but made no comment as to why these bills might have been left for the new BOC.

QuestionWhy weren’t these bills “encumbered”, meaning put on the books as payables in 2004 instead of letting them be a surprise for the new board?  If they had been encumbered, the balance available to the new BOC would have been a MINUS $10,000.


Next on the Agenda was the Library Termite Treatment.  After the bids were read out, Comm. Pennamon started his rhetoric again.  It’s usually his job to see how long he can talk on a subject, delay the vote, and drag out the meeting.  According to the News, “The commissioner asked the representative if Bizzy Bee would lower its "bid," and he said he would. However, in unison, several members of the audience said, ‘that's illegal.’”


Comment: “The Commissioner” was Comm. Pennamon.  AFTER the bids had been read out, he asked Bizzy Bee, who was the highest of the 3, to lower their bid.  There was quite a bit of reaction from several people in the audience.  Comm. Bernard asked the Attorney about it, and he advised that they had a policy to follow and bids had been gotten.  According to county policy the lowest bid would be accepted unless there was some reason not to. Comm. Yarbrough commented that this was a “one time fix, not a contract for continuing treatment.”  Comm. Johnson said he wanted to see something done because this had already been delayed.  The vote was 4-1 with Comm. Pennamon voting against.


The only other item on the agenda that wasn’t tabled was the DNR Consent Agreement.

According to the News—“… in reference to capping the sanitary landfill.  Commissioner Johnson made motion to send a check for $5,600 from the landfill account to the DNR. Mr. Nix suggested they amend the motion to authorize the chairman to sign the consent order and send it with the payment to the DNR. The motion passed 3-2, with commissioners Charles Hill and Carl Pennamon dissenting.  The consent order gives the county 180days from the time the DNR receives the check to complete capping the landfill. Without the consent order, the county has 180 days from November 8, 2004, to cap the landfill, then it would be fined $100 a day until the capping is complete.”


Comment:             Hill and Pennamon against—why?  Just to be against it?  Do they present any alternatives? No!  They need to think about the taxpayers and the county instead of their petty likes and dislikes.  Without this consent agreement, the 180 days would be up May 8, 2005.  Not nearly long enough to get the landfill capped.  A fine of $100 per day adds up fast.  $5600 isn’t desirable, but much better than paying $100 per day!  Wasn’t it Pennamon that said at the debates during the campaign that he could work with anybody?  It seems he doesn’t want to work with anybody.  He even votes against approving the meeting minutes!  We hope Mr. Wright will soon be able to take his position so the county can move forward!


The new attorney, John Nix, certainly earned his money Monday night.  He did keep the BOC from adding to the agenda, clarified policy, and generally kept them in line.  He also researched the law about the BOA.  We do believe this is the first time in a long time that there has been legal advice given at a BOC meeting in order to keep the BOC out of trouble! 

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