Commissioners resurrected two well trod topics during Tuesday’s meeting.
Still soured by the $215,000 purchase of a nearly one acre tract located behind the courthouse, Commissioner Melvin Boshears was intent on trying to undo the action taken in a January meeting.
Boshears argued he along with Commissioners Lynn Letner and Whit Goins were excluded from debate on the matter prior to the vote.
“Is it too late to do anything about that,” Boshears asked of the transaction.
“It’s a done deal,” Vic Pryor, who was sitting in for commission attorney Kathy Parrott, responded.
Closing documents on the property, which will likely be used for additional parking, had already been signed making the purchase official, according to Pryor.
Boshears also broached the subject of retiree insurance for non-certified school employees.
“Would it be legal for the commission to fund the (retiree) insurance for non-certified employees?” Boshears asked, posing his question to county attorney Joe Coker.
The commission would be within its rights to give the money to the Board of Education (BOE) for that particular purpose, however, once in BOE possession the commission has no control over the funds and how they are spent, Coker said.
“You could give the money to the board for the benefit, but it would be up to the board as to whether they would choose to spend it that way,” Coker explained.
Commissioner Scott Kitts suggested the BOE had already been given money it is not using for retiree insurance benefits.
“This commission cannot tell the board of education how to run the school system. Your job is to fund the money and it is their job to spend it,” Coker responded again making the commission’s role as a funding body clear.
Jeff Marlow, county finance director, weighed in on the matter informing commissioners the BOE had made it clear they would only be willing to provide the retiree insurance if it was available to all employees and if the commission was willing to fund the benefit in its entirety.
According to Marlow, the outlay for such an endeavor would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000 per year, which would require a four cent tax increase.
As discussion on the matter wound down David Young, commission chairman, cautioned the group against public confrontations, especially with other county officials.
Young explained that a particular unnamed commissioner allegedly launched a verbal attack on Dr. Michael Martin, director of schools, at a local retail store Monday evening.
The commissioner drew quite a crowd in the public venue while accusing Martin of “not caring about poor people” in the county, according to Young.
“Please refrain from this type of behavior because it makes us all look bad,” Young requested.