The Long County Commission chose Commissioner David Richardson as its chairman for 2018 in the first of several split votes Tuesday.
Richardson was nominated by outgoing chairman Mike Riddle and commissioner Willie Thompson voted with Riddle and Richardson in a 3-2 vote. Commissioner Clifton DeLoach nominated newcomer Commissioner Robert Parker for chairman; the two of them voted against Richardson, who is reportedly the first African American commission chairman in Long County history.
The commissioners voted for their attorney, James Smith, to continue to represent them for another year. DeLoach continues as commission vice chairman; the holder of that office serves a four-year term.
In other business:
David Marineau complained to the commission about a frequent problem, maintenance on privately owned roads. Marineau told the commissioners that the property owner responsible for maintaining Hillman Drive was not doing his job. Marineau said he had been complaining for more than a year.
Richardson told Marineau he should first take his concerns to his district commissioner, in this case Parker. Marineau warned the commissioners that if he was not satisfied he would run for commissioner himself.
“I’m very intelligent and I’m charismatic,” he said.
The commissioners awarded a contract for sidewalks along Highway 57, a route that starts in downtown Ludowici and links two Long County public schools. Richardson asked if the city and the school board would not help the county pay the costs of the sidewalks they benefit from.
The sidewalk was written into the county’s 2018 budget.
DeLoach said the school board was not contributing and the question of city participation was answered by the shrugging of shoulders. Richardson said, “In future we need to sit down with the city and others involved when we plan projects like this.” Richardson voted no, along with Thompson; DeLoach, Riddle and Parker voted yes.
In other business the commissioners named Kelly Wingate to a vacancy on the county board of health. The commissioners also designated the health panel to serve as the county dangerous animal control board.
The commissioners agreed with a zoning board recommendation to rezone 43 acres owned by Jason Smiley from agricultural forestry to single family residential. The land is near the Ways Station Subdivison.
Annual holidays were established for county employees in 2018; there will be 12 paid holidays including one that workers can use for medical visits. Riddle said that the commission should stick to the approved list of holidays and not add extra time off for employees.
Evening meetings will replace the 9 a.m. sessions the commissioners had held in 2017. In 2018 the regular commission meetings will be at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.
Joe Parker Jr can be contacted by email at email@example.com.