Two county meetings postponed due to weather will take place this week

Published 10:21 am Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter weather and icy road conditions led to several cancellations and schedule changes this past week – including the postponement of two county meetings.

The Carter County Commission regular monthly meeting was set for Feb. 17, but as snow began to accumulate, Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey made the call to postpone the meeting. The meeting was immediately rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m.

During that meeting, Commissioners will consider several items of business, including a resolution to set all of the governing body’s meetings at 6 p.m. Currently, the commission meetings are held on a rotating schedule; one month the meeting is held at 9 a.m. and then next month’s meeting is at 6 p.m.

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The resolution comes at the request of Commissioner John Lewis, who voiced concerns that not all members of the commission could attend morning meetings due to their work obligations.

This will be the second time in recent months the proposal to change the meeting times to all evening meetings has been before the commission.

During the group’s November meeting, a resolution to set all the meetings at 6 p.m. came to the floor for a vote and failed to pass by a margin of 10-11. Two members of the commission were absent during that meeting and one member abstained from the vote.

A bid approved by the budget committee will be brought to the full commission for a vote to purchase an electronic voting system for use by the group during meetings.

The electronic voting system allows commissioners to cast their votes using a small wireless controller. Each of the controllers has its own unique identification number which is assigned to a specific commissioner in the computer system. The device links into a computer system operated by the clerk, and then projects the commissioners’ votes onto the wall for the public to see.

The bids presented to the budget committee earlier this month came in at a cost of $20,000. Humphrey said he had enough money in his budget to cover the system and members of the committee approved the transfer of funds from the Mayor’s budget to purchase the system.

Also up for a vote will be a proposal from the Financial Management committee to implement payroll lagging for county employees. Currently, only employees of the landfill and the Carter County School System are lagged.

A recommendation to lag payroll by one day per pay period over the course of five pay periods – or 10 weeks – was presented by Carter County Finance Director Ingrid Deloach, who said lagged payroll was “just good business practice.” This staggered approach would minimize the impact on the employees, Deloach said. County employees currently are paid on Fridays. The first week the change would be implemented, employees would receive their pay on the following Monday from when they would normally be paid. The next pay period employees would be paid on Tuesday. Each pay period would lag by one day until the payday once again happens on Friday, which would create the one week lag in the pay cycle.

If approved by the full commission, payroll lagging would begin on July 1, giving county employees time to prepare for the change.

In addition to the rescheduled County Commission meeting, the regular monthly meeting of the Carter County Board of Education was also postponed. That meeting will now be held on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Unaka Elementary School at 5:30 p.m.

During that meeting, several items are on the agenda, including a proposal to create a new committee to review the needs of all the county school facilities.

The Facilities/Capital Improvement Planning Committee would visit and evaluate all of the county schools  facilities. From those evaluations, the committee would compile and draft lists of needs and propose a plan of action to address them, Board Chairman Rusty Barnett said.

If approved, the new committee would include school board members Craig Davis, Tony Garland and Barnett as well as Director of Schools Kevin Ward and Maintenance Supervisor Phillip Nave. It would also include four county commissioners, Mike Hill and Danny Ward, who both serve on the Education Committee, and John Lewis and Ross Garland, members of the Budget Committee. Davis would serve as chairman of the new committee.