After meeting in open session for only 17 minutes, the court went into the executive session about 9:20 a.m. to meet with applicants for county engineer and/or road administrator of the Road and Bridge Dept., and for building maintenance supervisor.
Following the interviews—which came as The Mirror’s deadline for this edition approached—the court was scheduled to consider filling the posts in open session.
It was the first meeting for Pct. 1 Comm. Paula Gentry and Pct. 3 Comm. Frank Berka, who took office Jan. 1.
Ms. Gentry replaces James Crittenden, who she ousted in last July’s Republican runoff, while Berka succeeds Lloyd Crabtree, who Berka defeated in last May’s GOP primary. Both new commissioners took an active part in discussion in the open session preceding the interviews.
At the meeting’s outset, County Judge Dean Fowler welcomed the new members, saying “I know everyone’s excited to get to work.”
The court changed the increment for accepting bids on jail food from two months to annually after Fowler said Sheriff Anthony Betterton wanted to.
“Other counties are doing it annually,” noted Pct. 2 Comm. Cole Hefner. The county had four bidders recently for a 2-month period, and Hefner said making the bidding annual might make it more competitive.
Fowler pointed out the county has contracted with U.S. Foods through March 1, the date the change in bid increment will be effective.
Pct. 4 Comm. Mike Spencer and Hefner said they wanted to see prices on the top 25 food items “side by side” in bids, but Berka said the court won’t “split the bid.” Fowler said the court must decide Feb. 15 who to contract with, and the court approved Hefner’s motion to advertise for bids.
In other business, the court approved upping the reimbursement rate for jury duty to $30 daily after the first day of service.
The court had set the rate at $28 some months ago, but Fowler said it must be reset at $30 because the state will reimburse that amount, but not $28.
Commissioners also approved Ms. Gentry’s request to spend up to $150 for an office chair for her office after she indicated that chairs which the county had in storage were in poor condition. The court also approved Berka’s request to repaint his office at his expense.
The court additionally handled several routine items, such as paying bills and approving the payroll.