August 18, 2015
The main topic at the BOC meeting last night was Public Works. Comm. Trammell stated, “You [referring to Preston Campbell, PW Director] know where we want to go. Despite what others say, we have confidence in you.” From there it was about what PW had and what they needed to start patching and paving roads.
Mr. Campbell said they needed grass cutters in the north and south, and he wanted to have motorgraders in every district. (The last BOC purchased new motorgraders, so the county would have 5; two of them mysteriously burned up within a year. ) Trammell then reiterated that we need 3 or 4 more trained people– 2 more grass cutting tractors and 2 more motorgraders.
Comm. Henry asked how many employees PW had at present. The answer was 17 with 12 out in the field, which included 2 supervisors. Comm. Henry then asked how many people would they need to run the patching machine. The answer was 3. Presently they would use men that run the bush cutters along with 1 dump truck driver; however, the chip spreader is still in need of some repairs.
Comm. Luke talked about working 5 days a week instead of 4, and Comm. Trammell agreed that in the winter time that should be the case. Comm. Henry said it would help with doing emergency stuff and putting up signs. There was talk of rotating from 4 days a week in the Spring/Summer and 5 days a week in the Fall/Winter changing with the daylight savings time schedule. Comm. Trammell also mentioned that no one answered the phone on Fridays presently.
It seems all commissioners agreed that Karen Degges’ plan of hiring part time people to work during the summer was not a good idea. However, when she presented it, not one word was said and Sharon Robinson commented that they had been advertising under that plan and couldn’t get anyone to take a part time job at $8 per hour.
There were other BOC comments addressing citizens’ comments earlier in the meeting about the quality of work done by PW. (See one comment below) Comm. Luke made an interesting comment on that subject. Watch this short 47 second video.
“Everybody that lives on a road in Jasper County is a road expert,” per Doug Luke. Of course when we see poor work, motorgraders sitting in the same place for a week, and other problems, and then complain, we are either complainers and whiners or we are “experts.” Comm. Luke shows a lot of disdain for the citizens in these comments. He also said, “No one comes to work every day and wants to do a poor job.”
Comm. Pennamon said, “If PW can prove to us and public that they can do the job, we can save lots of money to go toward salaries.”
By the end of the meeting it appeared that the BOC would hire 4 more men, buy 2 more motorgraders, buy a machine to patch spiderwebs in the road, buy 2 more grass cutting tractors, and buy a 250 gallon emulsion tank.
Before long our county roads will be in the best shape ever because our BOC is confident that PW can do the job. The BOC seems to be willing to go into more debt to prove it.
Citizen’s comment on PW: Almost a year ago you had a gentlemen here that talked to you about roads, how to fix your roads, some things you could do to keep the roads from deteriorating. However, you have done none of that. Somehow you rely on PW to fix your problems. PW hasn’t fixed problems in the last decade. When work like was done on Mack Tillman Rd. are allowed, and there are no consequences, work becomes shoddier over time. As I told Mike Benton the other day, the supervisor of that job should have made the men come back on their own time and fixed that road or they should have all be fired. This isn’t a one time problem; this is an all the time problem. This isn’t because there hasn’t been training; this is because no one is required to do their job correctly; this is because there is a lack of supervision and a lack of accountability. You talk about hiring more people. Without proper supervision and without some consequences for poor job performance, you can hire all the people you want and still not have better roads. If as you say, they can do a good job, why haven’t they been?