The court approved a 2-year contract with Sysco Foods, a nationwide firm whose bid was accepted over the current provider’s, Rinehart Foods of Shreveport, La.
While no complaints were voiced about Rinehart, County Judge Dean Fowler said Sysco’s bid this time appeared to be the better of the two.
In other business Monday, the court amended its policy on holiday compensation time, thus giving employees of the Sheriff’s Office and County Jail six months longer to take time off which they have accumulated for working holidays since last Sept. 30.
Under the court’s “use it or lose it” policy, the workers were originally required to forfeit that time off unless they took it within a 6-month interval which ended Monday. Under the amendment, workers who leave their jobs still lose that time if they haven’t taken it, and would be compensated only for holiday time accumulated before the court implemented the “use it or lose it” policy.
Opening discussion on the issue, Fowler said the affected employees were about to lose their holiday compensatory time on Tuesday if they hadn’t been able to take it in the 6-month period. Pct. 1 Comm. Paula Gentry said 60-odd workers were trying to take all their compensatory time.
Said Pct. 3 Comm. Frank Berka, “It wasn’t really their (the workers’) fault” they’d been unable to take the time off. He suggested letting them roll over the time into the new 6-month period, which “gives us six months to really figure. . .out” what to do about the overall policy.
In other action, the court approved seeking bids on a mineral lease on drilling below a depth of 4,000 feet on about 860 acres of the county-owned “school land” in Throckmorton County..
Petroleum Exploration (PETEX) of Breckenridge has the current such lease, which Fowler said does not let the firm drill under 4,000 feet. The court decided to seek bids for such drilling rather than accept PETEX’s renegotiation of its lease.
Bids will be opended May 15.
The court also Monday approved holding early voting for the May 27 Democratic and Republican runoffs from May 19-23 at the County Courthouse .Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Commissioners also approved the county investment policy for 2013-14, which County Treasurer Myra Harris said is not much different than in the past, but which law requires updating.
The county must diversify its investments, and has them in both “Texpool” and Austin Bank, she said. Texpool, a “local government investment pool” through the state government, lets counties and cities invest in such items as bonds and government securities, and the pool is insured by government securities, Mrs. Harris told The Mirror.
In other action Monday, the court:
• Approved a contract for services with the East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which Fowler said was needed for the county’s annual $1,000 donation to the organization.
• Reappointed county employees Jill McCauley and Elaine McKinley to the Sick Leave Pool Board. Mrs. Harris said the pool has 3,840 hours which employees donated.
• Appointed Comm. Gentry to the East Texas Economic Development District Board.
• Executed an agreement with Economy Auto Supply of Gilmer which Fowler said will allow the firm to obtain a 25 percent “jobber discount” on Fram filters, but doesn’t limit the county to buying them only from that firm.
• Transferred $2,511.74 from one fund to another in order to, in the wording of the agenda, “correct oversights in previous years.” Fowler said the funds involved state money given to law enforcement for training, and “We’re just cleaning up the books.”
• Adopted a special budget for funds received from TransCanada for road damages, and from Dr. Harold Bolnick for a culvert installation.
•Declared used tires stored at the Road and Bridge Dept. as salvage property, and authorized Road Administrator Andy Jordan to take bids on them. Fowler said the county had “tried and tried” to sell the tires, and must get rid of them.
• Accepted for recording, among other documents, Fred R. Anderson’s resignation from the Tri-County Community Action Corp. Board of Directors, and the audit report from the Upshur County Appraisal District.