Commissioners take votes on access to information on Cleburne County operations
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Jun 25, 2013 | 3320 views |  0 comments | 201 201 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HEFLIN -- A proposal that would have assigned Cleburne County commissioners to review the monthly operations of county departments with staff failed by a vote of 2-3 at the commission meeting Monday.

Cleburne County Probate Judge Ryan Robertson, who serves as chairman of the commission, broke a tie by voting no.

Commissioners Laura Cobb and Emmett Owen, who backed the proposal, said they wanted to have better communication with the departments. At the May meeting, the commission requested county attorney Doug Ghee look into whether it was legal for the commissioners to oversee the individual departments.

Ghee reported to the commissioners that it was legal for them to have some kind of relationship with the county departments and department heads. However, he cautioned the commissioners that they were limited on what they could do as an individual working with that department.

“Anything that you do officially is done as a commission, not as individuals,” Ghee said.

Owen said the intent of the proposal was for the commissioners to gain information and become more familiar with the county operations, not run the department.

“I don’t think any of us commissioners want to go in and tell them what to do,” Owen said.

Commissioner Bobby Brooks, who voted against the proposal along with Commissioner Benji Langley, said the commissioners already have the ability to go to department heads and ask questions.

“I think it’s unnecessary,” Brooks said.

Ghee had presented a second proposal that would require the county department heads to come to the commission’s work session to give monthly reports. The commissioners would be able to request additional reports, documents or ask questions of the department heads. The second proposal passed 3-1 with Brooks being the sole “no” vote.

“I just didn’t want to add more work to the workload of anybody,” Brooks said. “I feel like they’ve been doing a good job.”

The terms of the proposal would expire after six months unless a majority votes to extend them. Cobb said she was willing to give the second proposal a try.

“The main thing is being able to know what goes on in the county government, being able to work with each department and being able to go in that department freely,” Cobb said.

In other business the commission members:

— Appointed Doug Ford to the Cleburne County Water Authority.

— Approved a plan to sell its property at 141 Davenport Drive excluding the emergency radio tower to the Cleburne County Board of Education for $1. The board will be responsible for the necessary legal work and surveying costs.

— Approved allowing Joyce Fuller, Cleburne County revenue commissioner, to replace a retiring employee.

— Recognized County Finance Officer Melissia Wood as she prepares to leave her position with Cleburne County to accept a position as assistant county administrator with Calhoun County.

— Approved appointing Kim Brown as interim county finance officer for no more than six months while the county searches for a new finance officer. Temporary workers will be hired to take over Brown’s current responsibilities.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
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