MINUTES OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD APRIL 28, 1997.
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a special meeting on April 28, 1997, at 5:00 p.m., in the Courtroom, at the Gilchrist County Courthouse in Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:
Sue B. Suggs, Chairman
Other persons in attendance were: Joseph "Joe" Gilliam, Ex-Officio Clerk, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Bud Johnson and Theron Hudson, county residents, Billy Cannon, Keith Rehberg, Leamon Wells, Bo Santerfeit, Tommy Parrish, Nathan Martin, Stephanie White, Joe Pitzarell, Clark Cannon, Nathan Martin, Wayne Gothard, Dwayne Davis, Kenneth Boyd, Sam Ferguson, Robbie Cannon, J.B. Osteen, and Mel Meece, Road Department employees.
Chairman Suggs announced that this is a continuation of last weeks meeting with the Road Department when employees were allowed to discuss their employment concerns with the Board. Chairman Suggs apologized for not recognizing Stephanie White last week and asked if she had any comments.
Ms. White stated that all employees within the Road Department receive the same recognition or consideration, regardless of the quality or quantity of work they perform. This type of situation does not provide incentive for employees to perform well, nor does it provide consequences for those who perform poorly. In addition, there are no staff meetings to let the employees know what's going on and to set work priorities.
Commissioner Sheffield commented that it is up to their supervisor to recognize the employees and their efforts.
Joe Pitzarell stated that each employee was evaluated the same during the last evaluation period.
Ms. White added that if an employee screws up big time, nothing happens. She also voiced her concern with the budget and the condition of the equipment being used.
Chairman Suggs stated that what she hears from the staff, in summary, is that the department has no direction, as a whole, nor do the individual employees have direction in their particular area of work. In addition, the department would like to continue its four ten hour work days, and would like a little more cooperation from the supervisory level in various phases of their work. Chairman Suggs announced that she has received a letter of resignation from the Road Department supervisor, Mr. Buddy Joyner, dated 4-21-97, with an effective date of 5-5-97. Following discussion, Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to accept the resignation. Chairman Suggs voted in favor of the motion and Commissioners Bush and Wilkerson voted in opposition of the motion. The motion passed.
Billy Cannon, Road Department employee, recommends that the county have a fuel depot at the shop and feels that the county should look more closely at surplus equipment at Starke. According to Mr. Cannon, some of the "bargains" at Starke are not what they initially appear to be. Mr. Cannon added that meeting with the county commission is beneficial and productive and would like to see these type of meetings in the future.
Mr. Gilliam asked if the inmate labor is beneficial for the department. There is a lot of responsibility involved with working the inmates. One employee commented that it would be better if Lancaster provided a correctional officer with the work squads.
Mr. Nathan Martin, Road Department foreman, suggested that everyone work on the same job for a certain number of days,(i.e. tree trimming, mowing, pot hole patching, etc.). According to Mr. Martin, this was done in the past with some degree of success. Everyone in the department worked together on certain jobs and then moved on to something else.
The Board discussed the need for filling the position of Road Superintendent. Mr. McQueen suggested that the Board hire someone with an engineering background because the county is currently paying over $30,000 per year for engineering services. Commissioner Sheffield asked if that amount included engineering for the solid waste department and Mr. McQueen replied that it did include solid waste.
Following discussion, Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to appoint Nathan Martin as interim director of the Road Department. The motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Suggs spoke to the Board about establishing departmental committees, which would consist of the department head, county coordinator, and one commissioner. This would enable the department heads more access to a commissioner, as well as allow the commissioner to find out more about the day to day operation of that department. Whenever an issue comes up in a particular department, that commissioner could inform the Board and be a spokesman for that department. Chairman Suggs made the following tentative committee assignments: Commissioner Bush- solid waste, forestry, county extension, and soil conservation; Commissioner Durden- Road Department; Commissioner Sheffield- EMS and fire services; Commissioner Wilkerson- planning & zoning and parks and recreation; Commissioner Suggs- courthouse facilities and general government, which would include EMA, CDBG, and SHIP. Commissioner Wilkerson stated that he would like to think about the concept and assignments. Commissioner Sheffield commented that too much authority has been given to Mr. McQueen and the public expects the commissioners to be responsible, rather than the county coordinator. Chairman Suggs asked that this item be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.
Chairman Suggs stated that the Board will attempt to hold quarterly meetings with the Road Department.
Chairman Suggs reminded the Board that she, along with Mr. McQueen and Mr. Gilliam were authorized to interview attorneys and hire one for legal counsel on growth management issues. They spoke to Nancy Lenahan, David Coffey, William Whitley, & Tom Pelham. They recommend Mr. Pelham, whose rates are $100 per hour and $75 per hour for his assistant. Chairman Suggs read a letter to the Board from Mr. Burt. Because land use issues are sometimes related to other issues, Mr. Burt has resigned as county attorney, effective 9-30-97, or sooner, if the Board can hire someone before that time. Several Board members commented that Mr. Burt has served the Board and the county well for the past 8 years. Mr. Burt has also indicated that his company, Gilchrist Titles, will no longer be able to perform title searches for the county while he is still county attorney, because that too could be construed as a conflict of interest. Chairman Suggs stated that she spoke to Mr. Pelham and he suggests that the county hire another attorney as soon as possible. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to accept Mr. Burt's resignation, retaining him until he can be replaced, authorizing the advertising for county attorney services through professional negotiations. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush, and unanimously approved.
The Board discussed a request received from Bethel Baptist Church. They would like to place a mobile home on church property for their music minister and would like the Board to waive the impact fee. Commissioner Sheffield stated that this request does not qualify as a hardship because the church could pay the impact fee. The Board took no action.
The Board recessed at 6:45 p.m. and reconvened at 7:30 p.m. at the Trenton High School Auditorium.
Chairman Suggs announced that the she, Mr. Gilliam and Mr. McQueen have tentatively retained the legal services of Apgar and Pelham for land use planning and growth management issues. In addition, Chairman Suggs announced that Ted Burt has resigned as county attorney, effective 9-30-97, or sooner if the Board finds a replacement. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to retain Mr. Pelham and his firm for legal services regarding land development and growth management issues. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Pehlam spoke to the Board, advising them that it will be necessary to revise the proposed moratorium, making is more specific in regards to special exceptions. Because of this, he will need time to research the issues and requests that the Board delay making a decision. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to postpone the public hearing on the proposed moratorium, until Mr. Pelham has adequate time to research the issues and revise the moratorium. The motion carried unanimously.
Someone asked if the dairy application submitted by Craig Watson would be subjected to the moratorium. Mr. Pehlam stated that Mr. Watson filed his application and paid the fee on February 3, 1997. Even though it was not complete, it was actually filed before the Board recognized the need for a moratorium on March 3, 1997. It is his opinion that the Board of Adjustment will hear and decide that issue and it will not come before the Board of County Commissioners.
Chairman Suggs stated that Mr. Pelham will also provide legal counsel to the Board of Adjustment and their meetings will be advertised.
There being no further business to discuss, a motion to adjourn was made by Commissioner Wilkerson, at 8:00 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden, and unanimously approved.
SUE B. SUGGS, CHAIR
JOSEPH W. "JOE" GILLIAM, CLERK