County fills open seat

Published 10:00 pm Monday, August 24, 2009

Despite opposition of two commissioners, the Pike County Commission voted to fill its vacant accountant seat Monday night.

The position, which was voted closed after its former occupant retired in January, was reopened in the last months and advertised only to employees already working for Pike County.

The commission voted Monday to hire Jordan Barnett, who already works part time in the commission office, to fill the seat.

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But, District 1 Commissioner Homer Wright and District 5 Commissioner Charlie Harris voted against the recommendation of County Administrator Harry Sanders.

“We don’t have the funds,” Wright said. “Everybody agreed to cut back, and then we hire somebody. Every office has cut back. I’d like us to stick to what we say.

“We voted to abolish that position and then brought it back up.”

Harris has been fighting against reopening the spot since initial discussion began.

“We don’t have the money. I’m not against hiring a person, but at this time, we don’t have the money,” Harris said.

The commission also continued discussing its budget for the coming year and by the next meeting will likely find approval.

The budget, which includes 3-percent anniversary raises for its employees, $148,000 in excess revenues and $4,600 for each commissioner in discretionary funds, was met with little opposition from commissioners Monday.

District 4 Commissioner Ray Goodson proposed commissioners give an extra $10,000 to the Pike County Extension Office and $5,000 to the Soil and Conservation Service.

Both those organizations already receive appropriations from the commission.

“They touch every child in the schools of Pike County,” Goodson said.

While other commissioners did agree these organizations deserve extra funding, they ultimately did not vote to add it to the proposal.

District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Barron questioned why the commissioners were going to receive $27,600 total in discretionary funds, but commissioners also left that in the proposal.

Chairman Robin Sullivan said the money will be used to allot to organizations and for community projects.

In the meeting, the commissioners also voted to add three new cameras to the Pike County Jail.

The next commission meeting will be held Sept. 14, where the commission will likely pass its budget.