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Long commissioners disagree over purchase
MR backhoe
The backhoe at the center of the dispute is like this one. - photo by Photo provided.
LUDOWICI — At a recent meeting, Long County 2nd District Commissioner Wallace Shaw and 5th District Commissioner Bobby Walker disagreed over whether the purchase of a backhoe was legal.
The county recently bought the equipment after Walker signed the authorization papers.
Shaw brought the purchase before the commission, claiming the purchase was illegal.
“You can’t make a purchase of anything over $1,000 without the approval of this board,” Shaw said.
Walker said the purchase had already been approved by the previous board of commissioners and was already in the budget.
During the meeting Walker asked County Clerk Mary Ann Odum if the equipment had been budgeted and she said yes.
Shaw said that even if money had been budgeted for the equipment, the actual purchase still had to be approved by the current board.
Shaw also said that for the contract to be legal, bids had to be accepted from the county.
“It (the purchase) was approved before we came on board,” Walker said.
First District Commissioner David Richardson ended the debate by making a motion to table the matter, until paperwork on whether purchase was authorized could be found. His motion passed.
After the meeting, County Attorney Jay Swindell said he could not tell from the information provided at the meeting if the purchase was legal.
“The only way I can provide a legal opinion, is by the minutes of the previous meetings, being researched, and seeing what was said in those meetings,” the attorney said.
The commission also discussed buying new tractors, one to cut bushes along roads and the other to pack dirt roads. A bid from Yancey Brothers Caterpillar was $115,000 for the bush tractor and $85,000 for the compactor tractor, which was used. According to the dealer, a new one would be $130,000.
After discussion, the board said that they would consider the purchases, but additional bids would be needed.
According to Walker, the commission also approved contracting the University of Georgia’s Vinson Institute of Government to review the county’s job categories.
Walker said the group’s objectives are to review and upgrade the classification system and pay structure, update job descriptions, recommend a pay plan and train personnel to implement and maintain the group’s recommendations.
The work will cost $12,500 and should take around seven months. The analysis will begin on May 1, and should be completed by December.
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