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County commissioners reverse two recent decisions

July 07, 2011
OSSIPEE— The commissioners have reversed their decision on two recent votes and gave no explanation for the first one. A vote taken in June to hire an outside labor attorney to investigate allegations of a hostile work environment passed initially in a 3-0 vote. A week later, after consideration and stating she did not have enough information, Commissioner Asha Kenney withdrew her vote in favor. June 29, a motion passed, on Sorensen's recommendation and with no explanation, to put the idea of hiring the labor attorney "on hold."

In a unanimous vote, the commissioners also voted to withdraw a previous decision to contract with PrimeCare, a private company that would have taken over medical care and staffing at the county jail. Initially, the proposal was favorable to the commissioners based on anticipated cost savings and a reduction in liability concerns for the county as PrimeCare would assume all responsibility. After further consideration, consultation with the county attorney on the terms of the contract, and consultations with other jails that have used PrimeCare services, commissioners decided the agency was not the right fit for this county at this time.

New policies

County commissioners were set to consider a set of new financial policies planned to create tighter budget controls at their July 6 meeting. Commissioner David Sorensen proposed the policies at the June 29 meeting. The policies include the department heads getting permission first before overspending any line item in their budget by $1,000 or more; no revenue except for grants being spent in the current fiscal year; getting approval prior to moving any monies around between line items; and commissioners having the authority to use budgeted money that will likely not be spent for other purposes within the overall budget if needed.

Nursing home

The commissioners heard a construction update from Randy Remick of Bonnet, Page, and Stone regarding progress of the new nursing home. Remick said the project is about 80 percent complete and move-in is expected to be September with an exact date to be set in early August. Remick said the project is at the "pretty" stage right now, with the outside almost complete, walls being painted and flooring being put in. The project then moves into the "fun stuff" in August with state and local permits being sought and furniture being moved in.

Sheriff's budget

Several questions were raised during public comment regarding the sheriff's budget and commissioners plan to have the sheriff attend a meeting to discuss the concerns. Among those brought up by David Babson and Henry Spencer were the sheriff's purchase of driving gloves and boots for himself when there is no clothing allowance in his contract, and dry cleaning bills he submits for the suits he wears to work. Unlike the former sheriff, the current sheriff wears business suits to work and not duty uniforms. Babson, also a state representative, said legislators were recently issued a mandate by the house speaker that coats and ties are to be worn when at the statehouse doing the state's business. Babson said they are responsible for their own dry cleaning bill and the sheriff should be as well.

County commission, delegation, and subcommittee meetings are videotaped and are available courtesy of Ed Comeau at www.governmentoversite.com

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Martin Lord Osman
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