The Long County Commission doesn’t control the offices of the county’s other constitutional officers, commission Chairman Bobby Walker said at a Jan. 8 meeting.
Walker said he and other commissioners had been asked about employment actions in certain county departments, which are headed by constitutional officers, and how employees in those departments are paid. Walker said he wanted to clear up a misconception that he and the commission had these powers.
Constitutional officers include the tax commissioner, probate judge, sheriff and clerk of superior court. Walker said the elected department head was the sole person responsible for employees in his or her department. He also said the elected officials control how their budgets are dispersed for payroll.
“If they have five employees in their department, and we’ve already approved a budget for them to pay these five employees, they don’t have to pay each of them as they requested in their budget,” Walker said. “If they want to just pay four employees so that these employees earn more, they can do that. If they want to hire this person or let this person go, they can do that. We don’t have anything to do with any of that.”
He said the commission only approves and administers these departments’ overall budgets. None of the departments exceeded their budget last year, according to a June 3 county audit.
Walker said departments the commission does oversee include the road crew, code-enforcement office, commission office and recreation department.
Walker also reported that the rescheduled primary election will be March 12 and the general election May 7. He said qualifying for the election will be Feb. 11-13. Anyone who qualified for the election that was delayed would not have to pay an additional qualifying fee, Walker said.
Gerald Blocker asked if clear district maps were available. The chairman said a map was being worked on and should be available by Jan. 28.
Long County/Ludowici Fire Department Chief Richard Truman asked commissioners to buy new pagers for firefighters. Blocker said the Long County Protective Services Auxiliary would put up $2,100.
After discussion, Truman was told there would be no problem getting the pagers, but he needed to get two estimates.
Liberty Regional Emergency Medical Services assistant supervisor Gary Morrison reported that two grants had been applied for: one to buy a new ambulance and the other for tracking systems to be placed ambulances. He said that during December, EMS units had responded to 72 calls with an average response time of 12.8 minutes for all calls, and 12.11 minutes for emergency calls. He also said that Air-Evaq Lifeteam helicopter team had responded to two calls in Long County in December.
In other business, commissioners:
• re-elected Walker as chairman and David Richardson as the vice chairman to serve until after the new election when a new board is in place.
• Reported that anyone wishing to have a U.S. flag properly destroyed could contact the commissioner’s office to be put in contact with J.D. Hall.
• reported that all senior citizens in the county are entitled to free address markers installed at their homes.
• reported that any person in the county who had a metal drainage culvert could request a new concrete one free at their residence. Any resident who did not have one could have one installed by the county for $400.
• reported that county residents could get a flu shot for a reduced rate by going through the commission.
• heard a request to place painting of the late Superior Court Judge Mel Price in the county courtroom.
• heard that four new batting cages had been installed at the recreation department.