Commission spars over cutting jobs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 9, 2004

The Greene County Commission voted three to two Monday to change a secretary position in the commission office from full time to part time.

The position is held by Arbra Duncan Eatmon, who has worked for the county for 24 years.

Commission chairman Chris Beeker, and commissioners Edna Chambers and Willie Webster voted for what was termed a “reduction in workforce” due to a shortfall in county revenue. Commissioners Bill Johnson and Donald Means voted against the motion.

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Means first made a motion that the secretary position would remain full time and would have a portion of the duties from a dissolved accounts payable position added to her responsibilities. Two other county employees would assume the remaining portions of the account payables postion.

The county would give each of the three employees $3,000 for the additional duties. Means said the change would save the county $15,000. The plan had first been brought to Means by County Administrator Mattie Atkins.

Atkins said Eatmon had said she didn’t know if she could handle the added responsibility. Means said Eatmon would only have to do a portion of the accounts receivables job.

“We could save a whole lot of money by going this route and nobody getting hurt,” said Johnson.

Beeker did not agree with Means’ solution, saying that the $3,000 raise for each employee would have to approved by government survey people.

The change from full time to part time was the proper thing to do, Beeker said. Means’ motion was voted down three to two.

“Do we have any kind of concern for the people who work for us?” Johnson said. “If we do, we need to stand up and do something about it. To sit and say we need a part-time secretary, this is a full county. Most counties have two secretaries. Now we’re going to make this a half secretary. What kind of leadership do we have for this county? We should be ashamed of ourselves.”

Beeker said, “After all that diatribe, this county has five secretaries in our office. Counties our size mostly have two or three. We didn’t willy-nilly choose a time to reduce employees.”

“Seems like if you were going to delete a position, you’d delete a position that is not filled,” Means said. “Your motion and your action are totally inappropriate.”

“No one is losing their job,” Webster said.

In other action from Monday’s meeting, a liquor license for Junk’s Place in the Tishabee community was also approved three to two. The business is located in Johnson’s district, and he made a motion that the license not be granted. He said people in the neighborhood were against the business being located there.

Webster said he heard no opposition to it.

Johnson’s motion was voted down, and the motion to grant the license was approved.

A request by Greene County Sheriff Johnny Isaac to have an assistant bingo regulator paid through the county payroll will be turned over for an attorney general’s opinion. County attorney Kate Campbell advised the commission to get the opinion. “That position would not necessarily be under the supervision of the county,” she said. “This is something entirely new that the sheriff is regulating bingo. There are really no guidelines.”

The sheriff has already hired the assistant, and the employee will be paid from bingo revenues the sheriff’s department will receive each month.

County Road 191 will receive the special memorial designation “Herman Drummond Road.” The road will remain CR 191 in the E-911 system.