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Newton questions hiring meal driver for Hancock Senior Services

At Monday morning’s Hancock County Fiscal Court meeting, Magistrate LT Newton challenged the proposed hiring of Darrell Forbes as a meal driver for Hancock County Senior Services. Newton said he thought current part-time workers at the Senior Services Center should get first crack at full-time jobs.

Director Lona Morton said she agreed with Newton on this issue, but the part-time person that expressed interest in the position did not turn in requested information in a timely manner, and did not                                                                                  return a phone call when Morton called for assistance.

“I do not know the ins and outs between you and this other person,” Newton said.
Morton told Newton she explained the situation to him when he phoned her about the issue. Newton said Morton told him one thing, and the person in question told him something completely different. “That is the reason I am on the jury,” Newton said. “I have to make the decision who is telling the truth.”

Morton told Newton she hoped he would support her as the Director of Senior Services to do her job properly. Newton said he tries to support everyone in the county, and that he thought part-timers should be given the opportunity to move up.

Magistrate Mark Gray asked Morton if any other part-time personnel other than the unnamed person expressed interest in the full-time job. She told him no, and then again stressed that the person did not turn in paperwork in a timely manner, and failed to respond to a call from Morton. She said this made her determine the person was not going to be reliable.
“That is why I chose not to hire her,” Morton said.

At this point Hancock County Judge/Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts chimed in on the discussion. He said these positions are not a progression type job where a person automatically moves up when someone quits.
“It is a discretionary type of job,” Roberts said.

“If you have qualified subs that want to move up, I think they should get the first chance,” Gray said. Morton told Gray she agreed with him on that point. Gray then made the statement that if Morton did not think a person was qualified to do the job, she did not need to hire that person.
“I think she does a great job out there,” Magistrate Kasey Emmick said. “I will take her opinion of what she needs to do; if that is what you need to do, that is what we will do. I will support you.”

Magistrate Wayne Hodskins made a motion to accept Morton’s recommendation and hire Forbes as the meal driver. After receiving a second, the motion went to the floor for a vote. It passed 4-1 with Newton voting no.
Senior services looking for bus driver

Morton said Senior Services also needed to hire a part-time bus driver. The driver takes people to doctor’s appointments, or to town to shop or other such transportation needs. Traditionally Senior Services used an AmeriCorps person to fill this position, but this year cannot find anyone to take the job due to it being full-time through AmeriCorps. Morton said several people expressed interest in the job if it was part-time. Morton proposed using the AmeriCorps money plus other funds in her budget to fund the part-time driver. Fiscal court gave her permission to go this route.

New tractor
Fiscal court approved the purchase of a new Kubota tractor for the Parks Department. It costs $32162.04.
Ordinance 2021-01
Held the first reading of ordinance 2021-01 changing the hours of alcohol sales in the county. When the county enacted alcohol sales a couple of years ago, it allowed package stores to start selling alcohol at 6 a.m., but restaurants could not start until 8 a.m. This ordinance sets a uniform time of 6 a.m. for alcohol sales Monday through Saturday.

Occupational tax report
Judge Roberts read the year-to-date Occupational Tax receipts. He said so far this year the count received $1,220,245.86, up from $1,067,210 at this time last year.

Treasurer’s report
Judge Roberts said the county ended August with a balance of $7,962,074. He said this amount includes the American Rescue Plan Act funds bestowed by the federal government earlier this year.
Jailer’s Report and donation
Judge Roberts said jailer Roger Estes collected $750 in jail fees in August. The county donated $1,000 to Junior Achievement.

By Ralph Dickerson



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