Jefferson Commission approves attendance regulations
Tired of the lack in attendance from county officials, the Jefferson County Commission approved an attendance regulation to help move its lengthy monthly meetings along.
The commission voted 11 to 6 on a measure that all department heads and county officials must attend the prior work session if they want an item placed on the voting meeting’s agenda.
If not in attendance, the item cannot be taken up for vote unless the commission suspends the rules with a two-thirds majority vote.
Commissioner Jimmy Carmichael suggested the motion after last week’s debacle when no school system representatives stayed for the work session meeting.
Carmichael’s original motion also included county commissioners as well, but the conversation went from commissioners absent not being able to place an item to not being paid.
Many commissioners spoke out that those who do not attend meetings should not receive compensation from taxpayers that they failed to represent.
Currently, commissioners get a monthly compensation, but through law they could also be paid by meeting.
The personnel committee will take up the issue and recommend a possible change in compensation later.
The entire conversation over attendance began with commissioner John Neal Scarlett discussing rules of procedure and the fairness of policies.
Scarlett motioned for a change in benefits, specifically insurance policies, (targeting school system whose benefits are higher) to be equal to other county officials.
Scarlett said it’s a conversation that needs to be had, because it’s unfair some officials do not receive the same allocations as others.
The motion passed 11-4 and will be sent to the budget committee for further recommendations.
In other action, the commission voted for the finance committee to pursue a plan of compliance with county owned vehicles in relation to IRS guidelines.
Commissioner Russell Turner moved his agenda item in relation to the mayor’s Alpha Chart to November.
Turner said the commission doesn’t have a complete view of who is on the committees that are appointed by the mayor and said that enough time isn’t given in meetings for the body to recommend nominees that may be interested for those positions from their districts.
Turner noted that the chart was asked for two years ago and still hasn’t been given to the nominating committee.
Nominating Committee chair Robert Tucker said the nominations for those committees are ultimately the mayor’s choice and while recommendations from others may be made, it’s the mayor’s choice and all the commission can do is vote up or down.
Action related to the facilities committee showing a stance of support for the health foundation taking over the rural clinic was postponed after lengthy and off topic conversation over ownership rights.
At the beginning of the meeting Mayor Alan Palmieri extended his condolences on behalf of the county to all those who lives were lost and their surviving family members in the Interstate 40 bus crash that happened earlier this month.
Palmieri acknowledged with gratitude the brave and expedient response by the county’s emergency services as well as surrounding counties.
-By Chris Phipps, Tribune Staff Writer