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Commissioners hold July 25 meeting

People's Defender
People's Defender
 2022-08-08
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Submitted by Terri Crothers

The Board of Adams County Commissioners met in regular session on July 25, 2022, at the Government Center with the following members present: Ty Pell and Diane Ward. Barbara Moore was absent. The meeting was called to order by Vice President Pell and opened with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Pastor Julie Horsley via teleconference. Common Pleas Court Administrator Veronica Grooms was present for the session.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to approve the minutes. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Ty Pell and seconded by Diane Ward to approve the bills for payment. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to approve the transfer of funds. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

The following reports were submitted to the board for their review: Dog and Kennel Activities Report for weeks ending July 8, 2022, July 15, 2022, and July 22, 2022.

The board held discussion on the sale of obsolete vehicles with Common Pleas Court Administrator Veronica Grooms. Enterprise Fleet has requested to enter into an agreement to liquidate obsolete vehicles on behalf of the county. Legal counsel will review ORC to determine if the county can utilize the services or will need to advertise the vehicles for bid on Gov Deals. Also, retention period for vehicles purchased through grant funding was discussed.

It was moved by Ty Pell and seconded by Diane Ward to enter into an agreement with Rachel Chambers for lawn repairs at the Adams County Courthouse to include removal of debris, leveling of ground, seeding, fertilizing and mulch to areas disrupted by the sidewalk replacement project. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to approve the first amendment to a grant agreement between Adams County Board of Commissioners and Ohio Development Services Agency for the former Buster’s Bi-Lo Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant Project as recommended by ECD Director Holly Johnson. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Ty Pell and seconded by Diane Ward to approve the first amendment to a grant agreement between Adams County Board of Commissioners and Ohio Development Services Agency for the former Groom’s General Store Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant Project as recommended by ECD Director Holly Johnson. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to authorize the Adams County Department of Economic Development to proceed with an application to Ohio Department of Development’s Brownfield Remediation Program for remediation activities of the former S&G Gas Station property located in Manchester, Oh. and to enter into professional services with Patriot Engineering and Environmental, Inc. as recommended by ECD Director Holly Johnson. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to recess the meeting at 9:28 a.m. for Commissioner Ward to attend the Ohio Valley Regional Development 2nd Round Caucus to be held in the Government Center conference room. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye. Commissioner Pell reconvened the session at 10:42 a.m.

The board held discussion on the distressed counties status of Scioto County that has been removed from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) list and upgraded to at-risk status. Funding allocated for distressed counties will be divided based on point systems for proposed infrastructure and workforce development projects on a competitive basis with other distressed deemed counties in the region.

An Invitation to Comment was received by EBI Consulting regarding project Bentonville TS, a telecommunications facility installation project located in Bentonville, Ohio.

It was moved by Ty Pell and seconded by Diane Ward to sign a letter of support for Office of Budget Management to allocate a portion of $5.66 billion in unencumbered General Revenue Fund (GRF) to refill the Department of Development’s Broadband, Utilities, and Infrastructure for Local Development Success (BUILDS) program and to authorize Commissioner Pell to sign documentation on behalf of the county. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Ty Pell and seconded by Diane Ward to enter into executive session at 11:05 a.m. with Regional Manager Brett Geary, Clemans, Nelson, and Associates, Inc. and Sheriff Kimmy Rogers to discuss Collective Bargaining Matters in accordance with ORC 121.22 (G) (4). Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Randalyn Worley joined the session at 11:12 a.m. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye. Commissioner Pell reconvened the session at 11:55 a.m.

Documentation was received from Veterans Services Officer Russell Todd concerning the Adams County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway Sign Unveiling Event scheduled for August 24, 2022 at 11 a.m. in Manchester, Ohio. The Ohio Department of Transportation will place two large signs designating the entire U.S. Route 52 in Adams County as the “Adams County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway” as presented in House Bill 291.

Dog Warden Donnie Swayne met with the board to discuss holding an adoption event at the Adams County Dog and Kennel Department and set the date for August 25 and 26, 2022. Updates on dog licensing sales and departmental budget were also discussed along with increased costs for fuel, utilities and supplies. Mr. Swayne stated he and Deputy Warden Josh Shively have been dividing the county for full coverage and will be adjusting schedules to allow for follow-up evening visits on previous warnings for licensing. Also discussed was the need for a new facility for the Dog and Kennel Department.

ECD Director Holly Johnson met with the board to discuss the following issues: Unique Entity Identifier- An update through the System of Award Management (SAM) stated the application has passed the internal review and the registration is being processed; Adams County Welcome Center-Request for payment of Ohio EPA permit fees to TSHD Architects; Adams County Airport Project- Blacktop in place; project will be reviewed during progress meeting and site visit scheduled for July 26, 2022; Rome Sewer- Invoices for sanitary sewer services processed, sewer fees for properties with taps but not active; Airport Fuel Farm property- Quit Claim for Land Bank property at Adams County Airport, will be transferred back to Board of Commissioners; Adams County Training Center-Fencing in place; Check presented for salary reimbursement through grant administration.

It was moved by Ty Pell and seconded by Diane Ward to approve a set fee of $40 per month for parcels with a sewer tap on site located in the Community of Rome, even if water is not in service. A

late fee of 10% will be assessed when payment is received past due date. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to approve the transfer of property from the Adams County Land Reutilization Corporation to the Board of Commissioners for parcel 089-00-00-024.510 at the Adams County Airport through Quit Claim deed as recommended by ECD Director Holly Johnson. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to enter into executive session at 1:29 p.m. with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Randalyn Worley to discuss Certain Personnel Matters (Complaint Against a Public Employee) in accordance with ORC 121.22 (G) (1). Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye. Commissioner Pell reconvened the session at 2:09 p.m.

Adams County EMS Assistant Samantha Daniels, Dustin McCleese, and Captain Wade Hook met with the board to discuss the following issues: Personnel- Kane, Conley; Station #500 update- Proposed start date August 15, 2022; Station #200 update- Will have staff in place; determination of Adams County equipment; Part-Time employment- Revisit policy for required hours to increase staffing availability; Drug Vending Machines- In place to restock units at Seaman and West Union; Ohio EPA Notice- Squad pulled from service; in line for repairs at Beechmont Ford; six-month proposed down time; Memo sent to EMS employees notifying on staffing changes; Monthly employee staffing and Captain meetings; Blood drives to be held at stations; schedule to be determined; LVAD demonstration- Presentation will update employees on proper procedures and protocols for handling residence with LVAD in place.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to approve the employment of as a full-time EMT Basic with Adams County Emergency Medical Services effective July 27, 2022 as recommended by EMS Chief Peggy McCleese. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

It was moved by Ty Pell and seconded by Diane Ward to accept the resignation of Ashley Conley as an EMT with the Adams County Emergency Medical Services effective July 13, 2022 as recommended by EMS Chief Peggy McCleese. Vote: Moore, absent; Pell, aye; Ward, aye.

The board held discussion on an inmate in the Adams County Jail who is physically handicapped and not a candidate for bond release. Due to HIPAA compliance, Sheriff Kimmy Rogers will need to approach the board with information on necessary accommodations for the inmate.

A resolution as received from the Wayne Township Trustees for partial relocation of Potts Road, T-37C. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Randalyn Worley will review ORC Section 5571.011 for a determination on real estate transfer, easements, vacation of existing roadway and hearing requirements for the proposed improvement.

Commissioner Ward added the following statement to the minutes:

When the Board conducted the “Clerk” position interview in 2019 with Ms. Crothers, she stated one of the reasons she wanted the work in West Union was it was closer to home and it would save drive time and gas since she currently drove to Georgetown to work. Ms. Crothers agreed to work for the Board at a rate of $12.10 per hour with the following anniversary hourly step raises since Ms. Crothers had no experience and would be trained by Clerk Linda Mendenhall: $1 – June of 2020, $1 June – 2021, $1 June of 2022, and $1 – June of 2023. On her anniversary date in June 2020 Clerk Crothers was granted her first step raise of $1 per hour. In May of 2021, the Board of Commissioners were gracious and granted Ms. Crothers her final three year’s worth of step raises which equalled a $3 raise on her anniversary date of June 17, 2021. In January of 2022, the Board approved a “County General” employee raise, which Ms. Crothers was granted even though it was not listed in her “step raise”. Ms. Crothers’ pay prior to the recent pay increase on July 18, 2022 of $.50 was $16.50 per hour. Since this raise, Ms. Crothers will now earn a rate of $17 per hour. I voted “Nay” for the increase because, in my opinion, Ms. Crothers was ahead of her scheduled step raises and has already monetarily gained an additional amount of $8,320 for her salary alone and $1,285.44 in benefits which includes her Ohio Public Employees Retirement and Medicare benefits from June 17, 2021 through June 16, 2022 for the step raises which were not scheduled until June of 2022 and June of 2023. Ms. Crothers will also gain an extra $2,080 in salary and $321.36 for employee benefits from June 17, 2022 to June 16, 2023 when the last step raise was to occur for an overall total of $10,400 in gained salary and $1,606.80 in employee benefits for a total gain of $12,006.80 which does not include the employee health insurance benefit package. Also, in my opinion, Ms. Crothers should not be eligible for another raise until her anniversary date of June 17, 2024. My vote against the raise has no reflection upon her job performance, however, when an employee agrees to compensation at the time of employment, the employee should honor that agreement especially after the board had awarded the final three step raises in 2021 prior to the scheduled dates. The Executive Session to discuss “Employee Compensation” on her behalf and the pay raise resolution was not included on the meeting agenda for the afternoon of July 18, 2022, and I had no knowledge of this plan nor did I have the opportunity to provide the necessary research for the dollar amounts gained by Ms. Crothers to the other board members. The Clerk of the Board of Commissioners is required to perform essential tasks, at the pleasure of the Board, which are necessary for the proper and efficient operation of the office and the position is not a “union” job. I also have the opinion that the public should know why my vote was “Nay” in reference to Resolution 2021-390 Clerk Pay Increase Approved.

It was moved by Diane Ward and seconded by Ty Pell to adjourn.

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