El­lis’ re­spon­si­bil­i­ties dip, too

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE -

New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers Chair­man Keith El­lis lost at least some of his power Tues­day night, as the board voted to strip him of his con­trol of the county’s ve­hi­cle fleet and en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment.

Con­trol of the two de­part­ments will pass to County Man­ager Tom Gar­rett, who was for­mally named to the po- sition Tues­day after for­mer man­ager John Mid­dle­ton re­signed Fri­day.

Com­mis­sioner Le­vie Mad­dox made the mo­tion, adding that he be­lieves a “strong man­ager should have the re­spon­si­bil­ity and lead­er­ship in our county.”

“Re­cent ac­tions and events should prove to the board of com­mis­sion­ers that the chair­man should set the vi­sion of the com­mu­nity, while a strong man­ager should pro­fes­sion­ally run op­er­a­tions,” Mad­dox said. “I be­lieve we need to clean up and strengthen the lan­guage in our char­ter and move to a stronger man­ager form of gov­ern­ment.”

The mo­tion passed 4-1, with Com­mis­sioner J.C. Hen­der­son vot­ing against the re­dis­tri­bu­tion of power.

The county’s char­ter con­tains “en­abling leg­is­la­tion” plac­ing the county’s roads un­der the purview of the chair­man, Com­mis­sioner Nancy Schulz said. She asked county at­tor­ney W. Thomas Craig if mov­ing the fleet and en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment to the man­ager would im­pact that.

Craig said the two are sep­a­rate in the county’s bud­get, so mov­ing them to Gar­rett’s con­trol could be legally done with­out violating the county’s char­ter.

But Craig ad­vised cau­tion: “It’s a com­pli­cated mat­ter.”

No mat­ter, the com­mis­sion­ers voted im­me­di­ately after that, strip­ping the de­part­ments from El­lis’ con­trol.

The com­mis­sion then voted to elim­i­nate the as­sis­tant county man­ager’s po­si­tion that opened up when Gar­rett was pro­moted. That decision was unan­i­mous.

El­lis said be­ing “stripped of some power tonight” is “fine, that’s the way the board feels. A few weeks ago, I came to con­clu­sion it was re­ally my ques­tion­ing the 2050 Plan that had some peo­ple up­set at me. I asked (plan­ners) to please make this plan some­thing that’s palat­able to the cit­i­zens. Ev­ery day I got the same replies — they weren’t able to do it.

“I made some po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies in my first year and a half … I made a lot of mis­takes. I’ll try to do bet­ter. I know my shoul­der will take to the plow to­mor­row.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.