July 6, 2015
First, thank you to all the people that attended tonight. The meeting had to be moved to the courtroom upstairs.
At the BOC meeting tonight an Executive Session was called immediately after the public hearing for the budget. At 6:27PM the Commissioners, along with Karen Degges and the county attorneys (both of them), went into Executive Session.
At 6:58pm Karen Degges came out of Executive Session and then was called back in at 7:14PM. She left with attorney David Ozburn after gathering up her drink and glasses.
The BOC reconvened at 7:16PM. Comm. Salmon made a motion to “accept the medical leave absence for the County Manager so she can get her hip fixed.” One of the commissioners added this would be for 90 days. Comm. Trammell added if she wasn’t back on her feet in 90 days she would then go on COBRA. Comm. Luke seconded the motion.
The BOC voted 4-1 with Comm. Henry against.
Comm. Salmon made a 2nd motion to appoint Mike Benton as interim County Manager. Comm. Henry seconded this motion. The BOC voted 4-1 with Comm. Pennamon against.
Mike Benton then took Karen Degges’ place at the table with the BOC and the attorneys. Though an increase in pay was not discussed for Mr. Benton’s new role, the BOC will certainly approve one.
When the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:22pm, Mary Patrick asked if Karen Degges would be paid for this 90 days of medical leave. The county attorney told the BOC they didn’t have to answer that question. Comm. Trammell said it was “a personnel issue.” Other citizens started to chime in and say, “It is our money and we want to know” and other similar comments. Jim Alexander was reminded that we citizens pay his salary as well.
Finally Comm. Pennamon asked, “Why would it hurt to answer the question?” Then we were all told that yes indeed, Karen Degges will be paid for 90 days. Folks, this will cost you $21,250 of your tax money!
90 days will give Karen Degges time to find another job and it won’t be on her record that she was fired, dismissed, or relieved of her duties. Instead, some other unsuspecting county or city will have to go through what Jasper County has gone through for two years.
More to come on this story and other things that happened at the meeting tonight, along with video!
Your comments are welcome!