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Sanders re-elected as supervisors president; road managers get raises


Nerissa Young



The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors chose a familiar face to lead the group and approved raises for the county's road managers. 


District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders was re-elected president with a 4-1 vote. 


District 3 Supervisor John Holliman made the motion to elect Sanders. 


District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith moved to elect District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks as president. 


County Attorney Tim Hudson took a few moments to help members untangle Robert's Rules of Order before they voted. 


Hudson said the first motion needed a second before discussion. District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham, in his first act as a supervisor, seconded the motion to elect Sanders. 


Brooks seconded Smith's motion to elect him. He thanked Smith for the nomination and said the votes obviously weren't there to name him president. He called for unity and withdrew his name from nomination. 


The motion to elect Sanders passed with Brooks casting the lone nay vote. 


Holliman was elected vice president of the board by the same vote, Brooks again casting a no vote. 


Supervisors then moved to personnel appointments. 


Sanders made a motion to reappoint Ronnie Burns as county road manager with a raise of $3,460. Burns' salary was $68,540; it is now $72,000. 


Brooks said Burns has done a great job but he didn't think it appropriate to give raises other than during new budget adoption. 


Sanders said Burns' good work is the reason for the increase. Burns supervises 53 employees and a budget of about $7 million. 


The motion passed 4-1 with Brooks voting against. 


Sanders proposed a similar motion for Assistant Road Manager Tommy Kidd. He asked that Kidd be given $3,460 more this year. That changes Kidd's salary from $54,040 to $57,500. 


The motion passed 4-1 with Brooks voting against. 


Supervisors voted to retain Sims and Sims as the Board of Supervisors' firm of record. It is the law firm of which Board Attorney Tim Hudson is a member. 


Sanders said by appointing the firm instead of Hudson individually, the county can save about $13,000 in benefits and other fixed costs paid to individual county employees. He said Hudson proposed the change. 


Supervisors reappointed Ralph Billingsley as county administrator at a salary of $120,000 a year. The motion to hire him did not include a raise. 


Bob Calvert was unanimously reappointed as county engineer and county state-aid road engineer. 


The board approved Hopkins Insurance Co. to handle county employee bonds. These were bid as a lot. Certain county employees are required to be bonded, which is insurance to protect the county from financial losses incurred through employee forgery, fraud, embezzlement, etc. 


Sanders said the county will save about $12,000 by writing the bonds in a group instead of asking individual county employees to arrange their own paid by the county. Billingsley suggested it at an earlier meeting. 


County Coroner Greg Merchant asked that his deputy coroners be reappointed. The board granted the request for Tim Hamilton, Rochelle Murray and Alecia Senyer to continue their duties. 


Billingsley announced three upcoming board vacancies. 


Two seats will open Jan. 13 on the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority. The four-year terms are occupied by Carl Williams from District 1 and Chris Herring from District 3. The board voted to advertise two weeks for applications. 


One seat will open Feb. 2 on the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau. Bart Wise, president of Trustmark National Bank in Columbus, is the business and industry appointee. The vacancy is for a four-year term. The board voted to advertise two weeks for applications. 









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