Actions at the June Polk County Commission meeting included approval of a myriad of year-end budget amendments and the decline of a resolution to adopt all parts of the Fiscal Controls Act of 1957.County Executive Hoyt Firestone told the board the county had previously adopted two of the three parts of the Fiscal Controls Act of 1957, but were not following them. The resolution would have adopted all three parts. Firestone said the absence of central accounting resulted in yearly recurrent audit findings for the county. The fact that the budget for the Road Department did not fall under the County Budget Director has been cited as long as he had been County executive, Firestone said.
Commissioner Mark Bishop asked why the county did not go ahead and step up to the 1981 Act instead of the 1957 Act. That act would incorporate the school system into accounting. Firestone said that would be a significant undertaking, but they probably should in the future. Commissioner Karen Bracken said there was more to the ’57 Act and asked if passing the resolution meant they would restructure to budget committee. Firestone said yes. She asked if there would be a purchasing agent and where the jobs would be posted. Firestone said they were not required to post it. He said each department head could make the decision on how to solicit applicants.
Bracken asked why they would not want to advertise for jobs to get the most qualified person. Firestone said when you advertise for them, people start talking to commissioners about trying to get the jobs and politics becomes involved. Budget Director Kelley Morgan pointed out they would not get the most qualified applicants regardless because starting pay was $8.00.
Bishop said it didn’t make any sense to him to pull the Road Department Budget in. Commissioner Buster Lewis said if they were going to look into the ’81 Act, they should table the vote on the ’57 Act. He said the more he read the more confused he got. He said it looked like the ’57 Act had originally been voted in at a coffee shop in the seventies. Firestone said it was an actual meeting.
Bracken asked if the resolution was a product of the Audit Committee. Firestone said they recommended it, but that it was in the works anyway. He said it was strongly recommended because of the stricter internal controls. Bracken said she was going to abstain from voting on the resolution because the Audit Committee meeting was unlawful. She said there was not adequate public notice and it was against the open meetings act. Firestone said it was not a result of the Audit Committee. Morgan said Gary Hayes with CTAS would be at the budget committee meeting slated for July 7th and could clean up all the questions.
Bishop said it was a waste of time, and expressed anger at the state telling them they had to hire people. Bishop made a motion to decline the resolution; Gaddis seconded. They, Bracken, and Lewis voted yes. Waters voted no. Pippenger and Deal passed, but Pippenger later changed his vote to yes.
In other business, commissioners approved a drug-free workplace policy. Firestone said they could not just go in and test someone, and that if an employees was showing signs of drug or alcohol use, it needed to be corroborated by another person before testing. He said random tests could be done for road department or sheriff’s department employees. An annual resolution for the TDOT Litter Grant was also approved.
Road Superintendent Roy Thomason told the board he could purchase items through a federal bid agreement similar to that used in the state. He said it would be like buying from state surplus, and they could piggyback on the bids for better rates.