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Marengo Commission looks at personnel, projects

LINDEN-The Marengo County Commission evaluated their current courthouse renovations and personnel needs at their monthly meeting Tuesday. Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead said he felt the renovations to the courthouse were coming along in a timely and cost efficient manner.

“It looks like we are coming along and doing well on the renovations of the courthouse,” Armstead said. “Of course we have a lot more to do. We have a lot of roads to get paved and we are looking at that now and where the funds will come from and how much money we will have left over to hopefully do some road work.”

The county also released a financial summary of expenses and renovations. Armstead they wanted the people of Marengo County to know where their money was going and how it was being used.

“The people in Marengo County want to know what we are doing with their money,” Armstead said. “I have asked our secretary to get a breakdown of what we have done, where we have spent the money, how much money we have spent. It is important that we let our people know what we have done with the money and how much we have spent.”

The total expenses to date were $659,887.52 including $271,284.88 to Goodwyn Mills and Caywood Inc., $99,129.20 to Lovelady Construction LLC, $93,497.49 as submitted by Lovelady for Material Invoice Summary Number One and $148,876.89 for an office building purchase.

Other miscellaneous expenses included $5,300 for a traffic light walking signal, $1,687.79 for an advertisement of bidding project, $134.02 in moving expenses and $11,501.28 for remodeling a multi-purpose room at the detention center for courtroom use.

Expenses also included the set up of offices located in trailers which cost $5,594.21 for ramps, $1,754 for telephones, $600 for signs, $3,925.69 for electrical and plumbing costs, $92.75 for miscellaneous supplies and $16,509.32 for the paving and striping of the parking lot.

The commission also discussed a need for more employees to help get caught up on some projects that have slowed other jobs. Marengo County Engineer Ken Atkins said hiring part time help could help tremendously with clean up and leave other full time employees to tend to their regular duties.

“We need to get around some guardrail and I think hiring someone would help us speed up work on some roads,” Atkins said. “If it doesn’t we wont keep them very long.”

Commissioner Max Joiner said it was no secret that a lack of personnel hurt progress on important projects. He said be assigning someone to take care of minor issues the county could make a lot of progress on other areas.

“We have a lot of signs out there and guard rails that don’t get kept up,” Joiner said. “This person would be specifically assigned to do those things and it would prevent us from having to pull a crew off to do it.”

Atkins said the county was also looking to fill two other vacancies. He said the county was carefully seeking a candidate with the proper qualifications.

“One is for a mechanic and the other is for a truck driver,” Atkins said. “We can’t just run out and hire someone for these positions because we want to make sure they are qualified.”

Armstead said the county may chose to use complicated equipment and wanted to be sure they had a man in place that could perform the needed repairs.

“We want to be careful,” Armstead said. “We don’t want somebody just to change out parts. If we want to buy a diagnostics machine we want to have somebody who can read it.”

Armstead said they had been very pleased with their hires through the years, but wanted to make sure they had a man who could handle the job they needed done. Armstead also stressed a positive attitude for any new employees they hire.

“We don’t want anyone who is going to complain about driving the truck and then having to go to work on the roads,” Armstead said. “Anybody that we hire from this day on needs to understand that they work for the county. They need to understand that we need them to do whatever the foreman tells them to do. We can’t hire anybody who is going to fuss all the time.”