By Jan White
CROCKETT – At the most recent regular meeting of the Houston County Commissioners Court, C.R. “Chili” Hodges was awarded a plaque in honor of his 50 years of service as Houston County Surveyor. Judge Jim Lovell thanked Hodges, and said “It’s not very often we have someone who serves the county for 50 years.”
Hodges was also presented with a certificate at the employee appreciation dinner.
The agenda items approved were:
• The hiring of Casey Bradshaw from part-time to full-time Bailiff.
• The 2022 Agreement with Armstrong Forensic Laboratory for the blood and controlled substance analysis services to the Houston County Attorney’s Office.
• Continuing Education for the County Clerk
• Increase in IRS standard reimbursement of business travel mileage rate of 2.5 cents, increasing the rate to 58.5 cents per mile
• The approval to use the Crockett Civic Center for Jury Selection and Jury Trial for County Court at Law Feb. 15-16
Sheriff Randy Hargrove asked the Commissioners to consider paying overtime to the current jail staff. Hargrove explained that the jail is currently short-staffed due to unfilled staff positions, jailers unable to work because of Covid, and resignations from two employees desiring to attend the police academy. This has resulted in an undue burden placed on the remaining jail staff, who sometimes work up to 18 hours a day.
The sheriff also expressed concern that without the required staff, contracts with surrounding counties might be in jeopardy, resulting in a loss of income for the county. His request was that the court consider paying accumulated comp time over forty hours as an incentive to encourage and compensate the remaining employees. Judge Lovell explained that such a move would require that all county employees be monetarily compensated for their comp time. The commissioners voted to postpone their decision until a dollar amount could be attached to the compensation and agreed to call a special meeting to discuss and vote on the request.
Other agenda items included the contracts and bids for the CTIF Grant projects. Because of missing data regarding the pickup location provided in the original proposals, the Commissioners voted to rescind the contract with Frost and award it to Connors instead, citing that they are required to accept the lowest bid. Regarding CTIF Contract Hauling bids, the two lowest bids came in at exactly the same cost. When such a situation occurs, the remedy is to draw lots with the winner awarded the contract. Womack Trucking won the draw and was awarded the contract.
Lovell also introduced the new facilities administrator, Carl Johnson, to the Commission and meeting attendees.