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Court approves proposal for remodel of breakroom

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved a proposal for the remodel of the judicial center breakroom, to provide additional office space for the county clerk and district attorney.

“The breakroom on the second floor is very large and rarely used for its intended purpose. Both the county clerk and the district attorney have a need for additional office space. The district attorney will get one side of the room with an exit into the hallway and the clerk will get the other side of the room that allows for her to be able to go back and forth within her office without having to exit,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said.

Three bids were received, including a bid from Superior Home Builders LLC for $10,375, a bid from True Line Construction for $15,371.96 and a bid from TRW for $16,800. Based on the recommendation of Maintenance Superintendent Jay Burks, the Court approved going with Superior Home Builders LLC and it will be paid for from the maintenance capital outlay building line item.

The Court also approved advertising a request for proposals for an independent auditing firm to complete the fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2025 audits.

“While we’ve been very satisfied with our current independent auditing firm, Belt Harris & Pechacek, TAC and the GFA Officers Association both recommend that we review options for outside auditing firms every five to seven years and we are on that mark. The Court last authorized an RFP for independent auditing firms in 2004 and Belt Harris & Pechacek has been completing our audit since then,” Murphy said.

The Court approved an order authorizing the apportionment of public spaces and resources at the Polk County Judicial Center.

“We received an official request from Judge Tom Brown and from our district clerk, Bobbye Christopher, to formalize what previously was utilized – an unwritten agreement that was beneficial to the smooth functioning of the Courts and offices operating in the judicial center. Recently we’ve had some overlapping scheduled courtrooms, jury pools, public defenders, etcetera,” Murphy said.

A request from the district clerk for a new deputy clerk position, to be funded through the end of fiscal year 2024 by the district clerk records management fund, was approved.

The Court approved a request from Sheriff Byron Lyons for specified payout of FLSA and holiday time, to be paid from the sheriff salaries line item.

Action regarding the Texas General Land Office community development block grant for local hazard mitigation planning funding was taken. The Court approved a resolution designating authorized signatories for contractual and financial documents; approved advertising a request for proposals to procure a contractor to update the Polk County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Plan; and approved the selection of a scoring committee to review and score the proposals. The scoring committee will be Courtney Comstock, Nacole Reeks and Jerry Cassity.

In election-related business, the Court approved four positions as recommended by the county clerk/election administrator – Jasmine Zuniga as central count station manager, Michael Ainsworth as tabulation supervisor, Paul Laverty as presiding judge and Ann Turney as alternate judge.

While the Court was expected to receive a nuisance abatement hearing determination for Cause Number ET0024 and consider an order to abate the nuisance, action on the matter was tabled to study it further.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting and also reviewed an authorized emergency hire in HR.

The Court also approved a personnel management system update. “The personnel management system is confusing at best and needs a serious overhaul. HR will move forward, with assistance from purchasing and procurement, looking at other options, along with an outside party that will review it and send it to the Court at a later date,” Murphy said. “However, at this time, based on the audit that was done by the Department of Labor, its necessary to change the work period for law enforcement officers from 28 days to 14 days effective immediately.”

Additionally, the Court took action regarding pay for employees eligible for the rural law enforcement grant, approving the addition of new pay groups to pay scale and approving the proposed payroll changes.

Nacole Reeks, the county’s purchasing and procurement coordinator provided a purchasing workshop for the Court.

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“I know there are a lot of questions and speculations about what exactly the purchasing department is going to do and how it will operate. The purpose is not to take away an elected official of department head’s access or ability to use their budget as they see fit. Primarily, the position is to do some of the front-end work that the auditor’s office is currently having to do so we can free up their time to do their specialized functions,” Reeks said.

“Presently, the county credit card bills are cumbersome, not just in page count, but tracking down each transaction and all the receipts. By moving the credit cards and the credit card checkout system over to purchasing department, it just functions as an extra set of eyes, hands and ensuring that there’s some accountability when using the county credit card,” Reeks said.

A request for a capital purchase to be paid from the general fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2024 reimbursement resolution for the yearend issuance of legally authorized debt, specifically, aftermarket equipment for sheriff’s office vehicles, not to exceed $26,450, was approved.

Fiscal year 2024 budget amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.

In old business, the Court approved an update to the purchasing and credit card policy and also approved the minutes of the Feb. 6 special called meeting.

During informational reports, County Clerk Schelana Hock announced that the county clerk’s office will be closed to the public on Election Day so that her staff can focus on the election.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the Feb. 13 regular meeting;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

Receipt of the county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 114.025;

Receipt of and record personnel action forms submitted by elected officials since the last meeting;

Receipt of the county treasurer’s monthly report for January 2024; and

Approval of the county clerk’s request for the appointment of an early voting ballot board judge for Tuesday’s primary elections.


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