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What do our commissioners have planned next?

What do our commissioners have up their sleeves?  A new charter, increases in their pay (to double what they make now), an open ended expense reimbursement resolution, giving their check signing authority to office staff, having a work session and then a meeting where the “actions” will be taken instead of 2 regular BOC meetings, and even comments from the Chairman that “sealed bids are the worse way to go about purchasing.”  We are concerned and you should be too.

 

The TWG has a copy of the County Charter from when the last BOC started talking about changing it.  Before anything is changed, the public should know what changes are being considered and WHY.  There needs to be public hearings on the matter. You know, some of that Open Government we were promised.  The issue of having a County Clerk should be clear after the fiasco with the BOA.  Supposedly no one signed the resolution appointing new BOA members, and no one made sure it was taken to the Clerk of Courts office for filing.  A County Clerk would be responsible for that.  Most all counties in Georgia have a County Clerk.  Jasper hasn’t had one since the last BOC replaced Betty Moon with Phil Peevy.

 

A pay increase for the BOC has people on both sides of the issue.  Working for $300 per month ($400 per month if you’re the Chairman) isn’t much.  But on the other side, people feel that “they knew this was the pay when they were elected.”  The TWG has an idea.  Since the Commissioners voted to double their pay (but would never say how much it was in the meeting), then their pay should be “docked” when they don’t show up for a meeting.  Our suggestion--$100 per missed meeting for each BOC member and $200 for the Chairman.  If they want a pay raise, then they should attend all the meetings.

 

Expense reimbursement has been an issue since January, 2005 when two of the new commissioners immediately submitted reimbursement requests.  With an “open ended resolution”, the BOC will decide what will be reimbursed and what won’t be.  They could set it up to reimburse anything they want.  The charter states they get 10 cents a mile for OUT of the county travel; however, back in March 2000, the BOC voted to pay themselves 30 cents a mile.  What the BOC has been paid is a guess, but many of the past commissioners have never submitted a mileage reimbursement request over the past years.  So, what will these commissioners decide is “reimbursable” to themselves—cell phones, fax lines, office in the home, magazines pertaining to “issues”, car usage, what?  We don’t know, but there has got to be some limit and something that can’t change with the whim of the board when no one is watching.

 

Another issue that has been brought up more than once is the check signing authority.  The BOC doesn’t know where they stand now (We will send out an article on the 2004 Audit in our next email.), how will they ever know if they don’t sign the checks? At least they are “responsible” when they sign the checks—if they decide to look at the invoice of not.  By giving this duty over to the office staff can cause serious problems—especially since the auditor did NOT give glowing reports of the finances and the staff in charge of the finances.  We are concerned with the way checks are being signed now in that they are being delivered to commissioners when they can’t find time to come to the office.  Will a pay increase keep this from happening?

 

Citizens, it’s time we all started attending the meetings again and letting the BOC know how we feel about these issues.  If you don’t attend and/or call them, they think that you agree with all they do or plan to do.  The next meeting is Tuesday, January 3, 2006 at 9:00am.  Make plans to attend!
 

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