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Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission panel talks personnel, spending
LCPC Gov. Brd. meeting - Apr 29 007
The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commissions governing board discussed personnel policy and the budget during its meeting April 29 in Hinesville City Hall. - photo by Randy Murray

The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission governing board discussed the commission’s hiring procedures during a recent meeting at Hinesville City Hall.

The board, which consists of all local Liberty County mayors and the board of commissioners chairman, met to review LCPC Director Jeff Ricketson’s proposed budget for fiscal-year 2016 and the LCPC’s personnel-hiring policy.

As Ricketson read aloud the LCPC policy on hiring procedures during the April 29 meeting, some board members questioned part of the policy that states the LCPC director is responsible for determining the job requirements, then appointing members of the panel that interview each candidate. That interviewers’ panel includes the LCPC director, the city of Hinesville’s human-resources director and a subject-matter expert for the position advertised.

Riceboro Mayor William Austin said that procedure appears to give the director too much direct influence over the hiring process. After some discussion among board members. Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas suggested changing the policy to allow the HR director to appoint the members of that panel, but he said the director needs to be the one to select the criteria for the job. No one questioned whether the LCPC director would remain on the interview panel.

“It may be better to give (panel selection) over to the HR person,” Thomas said. “I think though (the LCPC director) definitely needs to select the criteria … and job description. But let the HR people do the rest of that.”

The board agreed. Questions also were asked about retention of records after a candidate is selected. Ricketson explained that because of the sensitive nature of resumes and other personal data, his office destroys its copies following the selection. He said, however, that the HR department keeps its copies of the records.

Other hiring-policy questions included telling governing board members the names of the top three candidates selected for interviews and informing the board when no candidate is deemed qualified and the job has to be re-advertised.

The board agreed to allow Ricketson to revise the LCPC’s standard operating procedures for hiring with the changes noted, then return with the updated standard operating procedure at the next meeting.

Ricketson said he wanted to brief board members on some budget considerations for submitting the LCPC’s FY 2016 proposed budget. One of the issues he presented was the near completion of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s required Metropolitan Transportation Plan. Because the plan will be completed before fiscal-year 2016 begins, he said there should be a cost savings of about $58,000, which is 7 percent of the LCPC’s current budget.

The proposed budget, which is $828,108, will not be approved until September.

“We’re trying to make our operation run as efficiently as we can,” Ricketson said, then asked the board about participating in a new state program. “The PlanFirst program is offered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and it is intended to promote implementation of local comprehensive plans.”

Among the many benefits of taking part in the program, Ricketson said, is that Liberty County would qualify for state loans at a reduced rate. This includes loans for the Employment Incentive Program, Redevelopment Fund Program and Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund Program. The county also would be able to apply for state funding every year, rather every two years, he said.

Although no vote was necessary, board members voiced their support for LCPC participating in the PlanFirst program.

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