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Mortons to manage in interim

Pike County commissioners named the firm of Morton and Morton as interim county manager at the May 9 board meeting. County clerk Teresa Watson said four applications have been received so far. County attorney Rob Morton said according to the county code, an interim county manager must be appointed within four weeks of the position’s vacancy. ’Having four weeks to appoint an interim county manager is nice but in reality work is piling up in there and with the county clerk having a full plate, who’s taking care of those things?’ asked commissioner Carol Bass. ‘I’m concerned this office is going to be flooded with issues, overpowered and unable to do the job we expect of them.’ Watson said all items of importance are handled as soon as possible and questions and issues are distributed among various departments. Morton suggested commissioners appoint an interim so as to closely abide by the law. ’I’d caution the commission based on previous legal issues, some of which were caused when commissioners stepped up during a vacancy of the county manager position and citizens rose up and indicated there was a violation of the form of government of the county,’ he said. ‘The county manager is designated as the administrator of this government. While we don’t have to appoint anyone today, I’d caution you that any appearance of impropriety could cause a problem.’ After an executive session to discuss personnel regarding administration, commissioners voted unanimously to appoint the firm of Morton and Morton as interim county manager on an as-needed basis to handle the county’s administrative duties. Commissioners discussed for some time a request from the public works department to move $29,986 from contingency to pay for monitoring wells required by the Environmental Protection Division within 30 days. They agreed to discuss the topic further at a special called meeting May 16 at 3 p.m. Other topics for Wednesday, May 16 include a courthouse update from architect Ben Carter; a $11,747 transfer from contingency to public works to upgrade above-ground fuel tanks pursuant to the state fire marshall plan; a $19,000 transfer out of contingency to public works to buy a used roller from United Rentals; an update on a recommendation for additional wells under EPD direction; a group health insurance carrier and plan which could save the county around $90,000; and changes to the 2012-13 budget. The county also: ’¢ Approved House Bill 1091, an act allowing homestead exemption from Pike County school ad valorem taxes for certain residents. ’¢ Recognized the sheriff’s office for earning the Agency of the Year award and two officers who saved a person’s life with CPR as an ambulance was en route, Sgt. Allen Goldston and deputy Chuck Hutto. ’¢ Voted 3-2 to appoint the county attorney to take minutes during closed sessions with the county clerk as an alternate. Tamra Jarrett and Carol Bass opposed. ’¢ Approved a resolution to establish a records custodian for Pike County government pursuant to House Bill 397. ’¢ Authorized Pike Historic Preservation to apply for a special event alcohol beverage permit to allow it to serve and sell wine at the annual Pig Pickin’ event Saturday, May 26 at the Warm Springs Winery. ’¢ Approved a second reading of changes to the development impact fee ordinance to the Pike County code. ’¢ Approved a second reading of amendments to the sensitive land/watershed protection ordinance code.

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