Financial Management Committee
BY DAVID FISHER
On Thursday, September 22, the Weakley County Financial Management Committee discussed the possibility of hiring an individual to operate a Commercial Driver License (CDL) testing center and conduct fingerprinting operations, rather than pay outside entities, as a cost saving measure.
Director of Weakley County Schools Randy Frazier stated the county’s bussing supervisor, who previously conducted CDL testing as part of his duties is no longer working for Weakley County, and even when he was, he couldn’t spend the time necessary to get everybody tested.
Frazier noted that in order to receive a CDL, drivers are required to complete a training course.
Frazier suggested hiring someone to do the testing in-house, rather than paying an outside testing center to perform the tests.
“Without CDL certification, county employees cannot drive county-owned vehicles, such as school busses,” said Frazier. “We could serve Weakley County first, as well as other counties that would be willing to pay us to test their employees. The training is also necessary for church bus drivers, farmers hauling grain with large trucks, etc.”
Frazier pointed out that this could be a part-time position with the employee conducting testing three days per week, and he added that the county could be testing 15-20 people per month. He stated outside testing centers charge approximately $200 per test.
“I think it would be budget neutral,” Frazier said.
Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum stated he has been approached by department heads concerning having a Weakley County employee to conduct fingerprinting. The nearest location that currently fingerprints employees is in Jackson.
Frazier stated, under a new state law, teachers are required to be fingerprinted when hired and have a background check every five years.
This could be either on a part-time or full-time position, based on demand.
“There is some revenue available from the state,” Bynum said.
The mayor suggested hiring a single employee to do both CDL testing and fingerprinting.
However, he noted while CDL testing may be available only to county employees or those from other governmental entities or business as the county sees fit, a fingerprinting site must be open to the general public.
According to Frazier, there is ample space inside the new office building at the county shop to house an office for an employee conducting CDL testing and fingerprinting.
He stated, in order for such an arrangement to be workable, applicants would have to make appointments.
The issue of having to administer the fees for these services was discussed. However, it was pointed out that fingerprinting fees are paid online with a credit card, so no cash is involved for the county to keep up with and manage. Chairman Dennis Doster stated the CDL testing could be done the same way.
Commissioner Roger Donaldson made a motion to form a committee consisting of Mayor Bynum, Director Frazier and Weakley County Road Supervisor Jeff Cosby to study the issue and come up with a recommendation, then report back to the Financial Management Committee for its consideration. The motion was unanimously approved.
Weakley County Fuel System
Frazier stated the county’s fuel system is old and in need of being upgraded. He noted the electronics keeping up with fuel usage at Martin Middle School is currently inoperable. Since the card reader does not work, the fuel pump must be operated manually, which bypasses the electronic safeguards. This means school personnel must oversee pump operations, instead of the card reader performing this function.
According to Frazier, school employees who serve as fuel pump operators, “get called out on the Fourth of July, weekends, or the middle of the night. If there is a problem with the pump, they have to deal with it themselves, and they don’t get any extra money for that. It’s not part of their job description.”
Frazier suggested providing a $10,000 stipend to be divided among those who perform this service. “It’s running them ragged,” he said. “We found out during the tornado how important they are. So, I think it’s time to be looking at upgrading that system.”
Frazier stated the fuel station generates money and encouraged all county departments to use the station more.
Committee members suggested requesting local municipalities, ambulance services and volunteer fire departments to use it as well. Some of these departments use Fuel Man, instead of purchasing their fuel from the county’s fuel pumping system. This avoids having to keep up with two accounts.
Director of Finance John Liggett reported that, in 2021, the county’s fuel pumping station earned $12,500 and approximately $13,000 in 2022.
Frazier reiterated his position on the matter by calling for upgrading that fuel system and paying a stipend to school personnel for manually overseeing the pumping of fuel for non-school related users.
Commissioner Donaldson requested that a committee, consisting of Bynum, Frazier and Weakley County Road Supervisor Jeff Cosby, obtain quotes for upgrading the fuel system, in addition to looking into operating a CDL testing center and conducting fingerprinting operations. The committee approved a motion to that effect.
Commissioner Westbrook stated, since the expenditure of county funds is involved, the matter would have to be forwarded to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee for its consideration, before any action could be taken.
Weakley County Library Director Candy McAdams said library employees have educational requirements they must complete every year, but they have never received a bonus for educational incentives, as other courthouse office employees have. The bonus amounts to $1,000.
According to McAdams, library employees are required to take 25 hours of regional training and a minimum of 20 hours of state-sponsored training every year.
“I only have one new employee and she hasn’t completed her hours,” McAdams said. “A lot of this is state-sponsored webinars, such as the American Library Association webinar.” McAdams noted that certain annual training is mandatory, in order for this employee to keep her certification as assistant librarian. “There are also so many hours I have to complete in order to be a library administrator. So, I want to get these educational incentives, as employees at the courthouse do.”
Commissioner Westbrook said, “It’s good that our employees are knowledgeable, and they do a good job.”
Mayor Bynum advised the committee to recognize library employees as being eligible to receive the educational incentive, so the Finance, Ways and Means Committee can amend the budget to pay library employees incentive funding.
A motion by Frazier to recognize the educational incentive for library employees as something that can be funded the same as courthouse employees are, and refer it to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, passed unanimously.
Sheriff’s Department Salaries
Weakley County Sheriff Terry McDade stated some Sheriff’s Department employees have retired and others are moving from one position to another.
“The only change is the jail administrator’s pay,” McDade said. ”I have a new jail administrator. Candice Winstead, who was the jail administrator, is now my chief deputy, and she will also be overseeing the jail. So, I lessened the jail administrator’s salary and moved the difference in pay over to her salary. I’m not asking for any more money. I’m just explaining the positions and salaries.”
Liggett stated those receiving pay increases include Francis Dowden, Tracy Geer and Sherry Wright.
“It’s a raise over and above what was approved in the budget,” Mayor Bynum said. “It’s a reallocation of funds in the existing budget, after a letter of agreement has been signed.”
The mayor stated although Sheriff McDade signed a letter of agreement, he has full authority to appropriate that money any way he wants to. However, Bynum explained the finance director is not authorized to make these changes without approval from the Weakley County Commission.
The changes in salary were agreed to by the committee, and the matter will be forwarded to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
The Financial Management Committee approved the 2023 Holiday Schedule as presented.
In other board action, the committee appointed its officers, which will serve one-year terms.
Dennis Doster was appointed chairman and James Westbrook was named vice-chairman.