A move to terminate Long County Administrator Frank Etheridge failed Thursday when county commissioners deadlocked in a 2-2 vote.
Commissioner Robert Parker, attending his first meeting after winning the District 5 seat last month, moved to dismiss Etheridge immediately after the commissioners held a closed-door meeting to discuss personnel and possible litigation.
Commissioner Clifton DeLoach seconded the motion and the vote was a tie with Commission Chairman Mike Riddle and Commissioner David Richardson voting no. Commissioner Willie Thompson did not attend.
Etheridge started work as Long County administrator June 20. Riddle said the county was obligated not to fire Etheridge without the votes of at least four commissioners. When the commission voted to hire Etheridge in May it was with three yes votes, Riddle, DeLoach and Thompson. Richardson abstained and then-Commissioner Bobby Walker was absent.
In other business:
The commissioners received a bit of a surprise when engineer Trent Long presented information they requested on what speed limits were posted on some county roads and what limits were recommended. Sheriff Craig Nobles, some commissioners and some citizens had expressed concern that incorrect speed limits were posted or posted limits were too high.
Long explained that one factor used in setting speed limits is the 85th percentile. That is the speed that 85 percent of drivers travel at or below.
Vehicle counting devices are placed at two sites on each road studied and the information gathered is used in technical methods to recommend safe speeds.
The Georgia Department of Transportation sets speed limits and the commissioners were seeking speeds that they hoped the DOT would adopt on the roads they designated.
Rye Patch Road was studied between the Liberty County line and Moody Bridge Road. It was discovered that there were no speed limit signs on Rye Patch Road in Long County. A 45 MPH speed limit is posted on the Liberty County portion of the road.
Two sections of Rye Patch Road were studied and the 85th percentile speed was found to be 57.04 MPH at one place and 59.67 MPH at the other. Three scientific methods were used to recommend speed limits for Rye Patch Road. Two methods recommended 55 MPH speed limits and one recommended 60 MPH although 55 is the legal maximum speed.
On Mill Pond Road the posted speed limit is 35 MPH inside the city limits of Ludowici and 45 on the county portion. The three scientific speed limit recommendations are 45, 45 and 60.
The posted westbound speed limit on Elim Church Road is 55 and in the eastbound lane it is 45. Recommendations of 55, 55 and 60 MPH came from the three methods used by engineers.
Marcus Nobles Road was the fourth road studied and its posted speed limit is 55 MPH. That is the recommended limit according to two of the systems used; the third recommendation is 60 MPH.
Thursday’s commission session had been rescheduled twice; next month the normal schedule will resume with a meeting Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. The commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month.