By Gary Nelson
The Cumberland County Commission approved a $31,440 budget amendment for a new full-time Community Service Officer position under General Sessions Judge Larry Warner's office during September's monthly meeting.
Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner, explained the purpose of the position is to oversee the operations and perform the necessary paperwork for community service workers who are assigned to perform community service for the county in lieu of paying fees and fines they owe to the county court system.
"We are shooting ourselves in the foot if we don't do this ... this is a way we can get this money back on these fines not being paid," Harvel said.
Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner, said this was a new position that was not discussed during the budget process. He further asked why make a full-time position when the Veterans Service Officer was told to hire only an additional part-time worker after he requested making one full time.
Harvel explained the position benefited several departments in the county including sanitation, recycling and animal control.
"The judge asked it be the same person who is already doing this because he likes the way it is working and she is already trained," Harvel said.
Harvel said currently the county is using four to five people per day around the county's recycling center to perform jobs there, but with the position filled the county will be able to go up considerably on its community service hours.
In the county's budget committee meeting, Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner, said she would recommend approving the position under Warner's budget on a one-year trial basis and for the program to be re-evaluated in April of 2014 during next year's budget deliberations. It was approved there and recommended to the county commission.
Harvel explained to the budget committee the total for the officer would cost the county $39,999 including salary, benefits and computer. The salary would be $26,500, which is based on the employee's years of service and experience, and a correction officer's salary, which places them at a grade four, step 10 on the county-wide pay scale.
The amendment and position was unanimously approved after a motion was made by Johnny Presley, 3rd District commissioner. The motion was supported by Jan McNeil, 5th District.
In other areas, the county approved bond change riders for Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr., Finance Director Nathan Brock and Trustee Kimberly Wyatt.
The bond riders for Carey are $50,000 and $100,000. The bond rider for Brock is $100,000. The bond riders for Wyatt are $1.811 million and $1.997 million.
The bond change riders were unanimously approved after a motion was made by Hyder. Hyder's motion was supported by Caroline Knight, 2nd District commissioner.