Buildings and Grounds votes to reestablish project manager position, debates details

During Tuesday’s Buildings and Grounds committee meeting, chairman Austin Jaynes brought before his fellow commissioners a topic that had been temporarily lost in the sea of other business over the past few months: the subject of a new project manager.

“Speaking with the county attorney, the best thing we can do is, instead of trying to morph the position they have somewhat created, it is better to create a new position and transfer the money to that one,” Jaynes said.

Ever since the commission voted in the summer of 2019 to remove project manager duties from Planning Director Chris Schuettler and the rest of that commission, county commissioners have made several attempts to fill the position, including recently allocating $30,000 towards a part-time position’s salary, but the committee agreed they would not find someone with the qualifications they wanted at a salary that low.

Jaynes said he believed the lack of results came from the need for a contractor’s license, which he said is not only unneeded, but the license itself costs money to renew every few years.

He also said they would need to increase the pay if they wanted to attract any potential hires.

Brad Johnson disagreed.

“That is ridiculous,” Johnson said. “Why are you paying it when you have already got it?”

Johnson has opposed the idea of hiring someone else for the position for several months, arguing the employees within Planning well meet the qualifications the commission is looking for. He further said the only reason the commission voted to take project management out of Planning was due to money.

“You as a commissioner could not come up with an amount to pay them for what they had done,” he said. “We are not going to point the fingers at them. It is us. We are the idiots.”

Jaynes responded by saying they cannot work two jobs at once. Their hours for each have to be separate.

“At what point do they separate their job duties?” Jaynes asked. “You have one job that you are paid $45,000 a year to work 40 hours a week. Do you work until 4:30, and then after 4:30 do you work until 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 to fill the other 40 hours?”

Ray Lyons said it was not a good idea to give the duties back until Planning attorney Josh Hardin comes back with details on the informal resolution the commission is still seeking over Schuettler’s $14,466.67.

Mike Hill made a motion to reestablish the project manager role and to come back next month with specifics. The motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the committee is still waiting on details on a possible lease for a VR lab out of the Workforce Development Complex, and details on the county’s ADA Transition Plan will come during their February meeting.

“I think we have a lot of good things on the table,” Mayor Rusty Barnett said.

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